The time has come to show vigorous public support for climate action in Ontario. On February 12, 2015, the Ontario government launched a climate policy discussion paper and a 45-day public consultation to stimulate discussion on addressing climate change and unlocking trillions of dollars of value in a new low-carbon economy.
Ontario’s climate change action plan will include a suite of policies and supports. However, it is especially significant that putting a price on carbon is highlighted as a key tool, following in the footsteps of British Columbia, Quebec, California and Europe. In fact, Ontario is simply making good on a previous commitment made in July 2008 when Premier Dalton McGuinty agreed to sign on to the Western Climate Initiative to advance a cap-and-trade system for the Province.
The carbon pricing idea alone is sure to result in a lively round of debate. We will hear a lot of different viewpoints on the merits of the different pricing approaches, with inherent policy complexities that can take one’s breath away. Given that so much is already known about the pros and cons of fees versus cap-and-trade approaches based on experience in Canada and around the world, the short consultation period will be a blessing.
Frankly an effective and predictable price on carbon is long overdue. We just need to get on with it.
No doubt the opposition will be fierce. So the key task during this 45-day consultation – and during the public debate that is sure to follow – is to build a tidal wave of support across multiple sectors, calling for good policy to capture the many benefits a low-carbon economy will offer to Ontarians.
With a great sense of timing, Environmental Defence along with TAF, Metcalf Foundation, the Cement Association of Canada and MaRS, brought together a multi-stakeholder group on the day the consultation was launched. We agreed that our key task is to amplify the call for a robust climate policy for Ontario and build understanding that such a policy is essential to public health, our economic competitiveness, and our quality of life.
We invite you to join with a diverse and growing chorus across Ontario asking for a robust and effective climate policy. You could start by reviewing the discussion paper and urging your friends and colleagues from all sectors to participate in this consultation opportunity. To make your views known you can:
- Post them to the environmental registry until March 29, 2015
- Attend a public meeting in your area – see dates and locations here
- Join the conversation on twitter at #ONclimate
Stay tuned to TAF’s 80X50 blog for more insights on the nuts and bolts of good climate policy, analysis of proposed measures, and insights on how Ontario policy can position cities as strong allies in advancing low-carbon opportunities.