The Ontario Climate Action Plan was unofficially disclosed a month ago. Since then there has been an email battle among environmentalists between those who focus on point the shortcomings of the Plan and those who defend the Government’s choices.
Both camps make reasonable points. Environmentalists criticizing the Plan point out that Ontario’s share of the reduction targets accepted by Canada at COP 21 will require greater and faster cuts to GHG emissions.
Those who support the Plan do so because Ontario is tackling many areas where Government action is required. Since the Federal-Provincial Conference in March, Quebec is the only other Province taking such significant but necessary steps.
Yet these steps will not be popular with many voters, a circumstance that gives opposition parties plenty of fodder for criticism. For example: one popular target was the phasing out of natural gas. Critics in the opposition Conservative party noted that the result would be a large increase in the cost of home heating and generation of electricity, already high.
If this theme in whatever form it may take dominates the 2018 Provincial election, the Liberal Government will be defeated. Whatever its Plan has achieved will probably be undone.
Many environmentalists believe this result is the most unfavourable outcome and must be avoided. They remember the frustrations of dealing with a Federal Government who over a decade showed no serious intent to reduce GHG emissions.
Ontario’s efforts, although the best comprehensive steps put forward since COP 21, are well short of what is necessary. The present action Plan must be succeeded with more ambitious measures.
Go to the most recent commentary in Climate Analytics to find out why! You will probably be surprised at how deep cuts to emissions must be to enable Canada to comply with its acceptance of the COP target of 1.5 ° C.
In short, the Ontario electorate must be educated on what is necessary.