Ontario sets bold interim target to curb its GHG emissions 37% by 2030

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15 May 2015

LONDON: The Canadian province of Ontario, an active member of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, has officially announced it will cut its greenhouse emissions (GHG) by 37% below 1990 levels by 2030, a move which climate minister Glen Murray says reaffirms Ontario’s commitment to a “better, low-carbon economy for future generations”.

The province has already met its 2014 target of cutting GHG emissions by 6%, and has put in its legislation the goal of 15% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 – based on 1990 levels.

“As an active member of our States & Regions Alliance, the Province of Ontario is consistently demonstrating global climate leadership,” says Libby FergusonStates & Regions DirectorThe Climate Group. “This latest announcement of an interim 2030 emissions reduction target shows that this government is serious about playing its part to maintain global temperature rises within a safe limit.”

The new interim goal “reaffirms our commitment to fighting climate change and working towards a better, low-carbon economy for future generations,” says Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. “Our action, and those actions of other states and regions demonstrate that sub-national governments can and must drive action on climate change across the globe. And our announcement today builds on Ontario's commitments as one of the first signatories to the Compact of States and Regions."

The Compact of States and Regions – which is supported by the UN and is a partnership between The Climate Group, CDP, R20 and nrg4SD – provides the first ever single, global account of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets made by state and regional governments. The first deadline for submissions today.

So far, Wales, Catalonia, Sao Paulo State, Scotland, Rhone-AlpesSouth Australia and Oregon have submitted their data.

Clear pathway

The new interim goal clearly points the way toward a better environment and a strong low carbon economy. Recently, a new report from the World Bank stated delaying climate actions by as little as 2030 would increase costs of decarbonization by 50%, and to avoid it, countries should “plan ahead with an eye on the end goal”. The first step is to set many other sub-targets, which Ontario has done.

Ontario’s announcement is even more significant if compared to the Canadian federal government pledges of reducing its total GHG emissions 17% by 2020 relative to 2005 emission levels. However, if considering the 1990 levels – the common international baseline also chosen by Ontario – Canada will actually increase its emissions by 3%.

According to Canada’s Sixth National Report on Climate Change compiled by the government last year, in 2030 Canada’s emissions are also projected to be 815 Megatons CO2 equivalent, or 11% above 2005 levels, with current measures in place.

Ontario’s commitment to tackle climate change is also demonstrated by its many bold initiatives. Last April, the province launched a ‘cap-and-trade’ system to curb its GHG emissions, aiming to link the system to Quebec and California – another two valuable members of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance – so entering the largest regional carbon market in North America. The collaborative spirit of the province is further attested by the Climate Summit of the Americas, which Ontario will host from July 7-9.

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