November 24, 2015
Allison Jones THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO, Ontario—Ontario’s long-term strategy to fight climate change will be released today, on the heels of a federal-provincial meeting and Alberta’s newly unveiled plan.
Environment Minister Glen Murray said Monday the strategy will outline how the province plans to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions over 1990 levels by 2050.
“The strategy will talk about where our emissions come from, broad descriptions of how we’re going to get there, what the focus is, what the component parts are,” Murray said.
“It will describe some of the challenges and some of the solutions.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne has already announced that her government will introduce a cap-and-trade system to put a price on carbon emissions and reduce greenhouse gases.
Early in the new year, Ontario will release its next five-year climate change “action plan,” which will detail how the province plans to get to its 2020 target of a 15 percent emissions reduction over 1990 levels, Murray said.
Then consultations on the cap-and-trade rules and regulations should be finished by the spring and the first auction is expected in the first quarter of 2017, Murray said.
Ontario plans to link its cap-and-trade plan with similar programs in Quebec and California.
There are estimates the plan could generate up to $2 billion a year in revenue for the Ontario government, which Wynne has pledged would be reinvested in projects to help the province get to a lower carbon economy.
Industrial and institutional sources that produce at least 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year would be able to purchase carbon allowances that they can hold or trade with others if they come in under their own cap in any year.
There are a lot of rules still to be worked out, such as which sectors or companies should be covered by cap and trade, which ones should get free carbon allowances to help them adjust to the system, and who should make those decisions.
The price of gasoline rose slightly in Quebec and California after they adopted cap and trade, but it’s not clear if Ontario will offer rebates or other offsets to help individuals cope with the additional costs of the new plan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the country’s premiers met Monday on climate change, which followed the unveiling Sunday of Alberta’s plan to impose a carbon tax, phase out coal-fired power plants and cap emissions from the oil sands.