Our last blog, A Ray of Hope, suggested that the Federal Government might become active on renewable energy after two years of indifference. What is the basis for this optimism?
First, the Ontario Liberals, who have been very active in promoting renewable energy, now have a comfortable four-year mandate. The Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn Murray, understands the importance and challenges of renewable energy better than any Federal Minister.
Secondly, Quebec, a Province where a great majority of people have constantly supported mitigation of climate change, now has a Liberal Government that intends to move forward on this neglected area.
Thirdly, the provincial premiers are likely to propose mitigation measures and invite Federal participation. The Federal Government has the power to regulate trade (a cap and trade system) and impose a tax (a carbon tax). Not that the Federal Government will participate in this review, but at least they will not oppose any joint initiatives at the Provincial level.
Fourthly, there is a positive public attitude towards the renewable energy industry. Innovation is necessary to mitigate climate change, and that means new business opportunities.
Fifthly, the extreme weather events of this decade have finally hit home: most members of the public recognize that the climate is changing. The Premiers all agreed on the importance of a strong Federal Disaster Assistance Program. They called on the Federal Government to reach an agreement to strengthen the future National Disaster Mitigation Program.
Ontario supports a Quebec initiative to host a summit meeting of the Premiers in 2015 devoted entirely to climate change and Carbon Market. As Ontario is the key province to the outcome of the next Federal election, the Conservative Party cannot ignore climate change in its election platform. What the Party will actually do is a matter for speculation.