Ontario Announces Ambitious Action Plan on Climate Change

17 August 2007

The Government of Ontario recently unveiled Go Green: Ontario's Action Plan on Climate Change. This innovative five-point scheme employs a blend of targets and cross-sector initiatives that promises to expedite the region's transition to the low-carbon economy.

The plan focuses on the following:

Green Targets

On June 18, 2007, Ontario announced a set of ambitious but realistic greenhouse targets demonstrating Ontario's commitment to fighting climate change:

  • A reduction of GHGs to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2014, or 61 Mt
  • A reduction of GHGs to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, or 99 Mt
  • A reduction of GHGs to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050

MoveOntario 2020

A $17.5 billion plan that includes 52 rapid transit projects across the country's largest urban area. It calls for 902 kilometres of new or improved rapid transit. Other provincial transportation initiatives include:

> Instituting an eco-license plate program to recognize and provide incentives to drivers who invest in low-emission vehicles

> Requiring producers to reduce carbon content from transportation fuels by 10 per cent by 2020, the equivalent of removing 700,000 cars from the roads

> Investing $15 million over four years for a pilot to help businesses switch to more environmentally-friendly technologies, such as hybrid power. The project will help spur investment and help make medium-duty hybrid trucks more affordable for Ontario businesses.

Creating Jobs by Going Green

The Next Generation Jobs Fund, a new five-year $650-million program to help companies invest in the development and commercial sale of clean cars, clean fuels and clean technologies in Ontario.

Green Power

Initiatives to reduce emissions from electricity generation and energy use, including:

  • A regulation ensuring that coal is not used to generate electricity at the province's four remaining generating stations after December 31, 2014. The replacement initiative, once fully implemented, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 Mt.
  • The first clean energy standard offer program in North America, Ontario's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program, through which the Ontario Power Authority will purchase electricity at a fixed price produced from small-scale solar, wind, biomass or small hydroelectric projects. Over the next ten years this will help add up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy to Ontario's electricity supply.
  • Banning the sale of inefficient light bulbs by 2012
  • Investing $150 million in a home retrofit program to help homeowners fight climate change, conserve energy, and adopt green technologies. Our Home Energy Retrofit Program will provide up to $5000 to help homeowners invest in qualified heating furnaces and solar domestic water systems to improve energy efficiency. Ontario is providing sales tax exemptions for many ENERGY STAR® products and has set a target of 100,000 installed solar systems across Ontario.

Grow Green

Building on Ontario's Places to Grow Act - a strategic, innovative and coordinated approach to sustainable growth and development, and the Greenbelt Plan, which protects about 1.8 million acres of environmentally sensitive and agricultural land from urban development and sprawl, the province is investing in:

  • $20 million in grants over the next three years to help municipalities reduce GHG emissions through a Municipal Eco Challenge Fund
  • $200 million in loans for municipal projects that reduce GHG emissions through the Ontario Strategic Infrastructure Financing Authority (OSIFA) Loan Program
  • A $79 million initiative to plant 50 million new trees by 2020 to combat climate change, part of a United Nations campaign to plant a billion trees worldwide.

Additional to these five points, the province will also:

  • Pursue broad access to cap and trade programs through exploring emissions trading programs such as the Western Climate Initiative and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and establishing a working group to develop protocols for carbon offsets.
  • Educate the public through a new website, www.gogreenontario.ca, to help give a glimpse into how Ontario's future climate could be, based on climate scenarios. Soon the website will contain a new, interactive carbon footprint calculator, tailored to Ontarians.
  • Through Ontario's Community Go Green Fund provide $6.6 million over four years for not-for-profit groups at the local level to educate on global warming and to run programs in Ontario communities that reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Create a provincial Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation to provide strategies to address the impacts of climate change in our communities and our ecosystems.
  • Report back to Ontarians every year in the legislature and an independent review by the Environment Commissioner on progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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