Ontario Commits to Climate Action in New Budget and Legislation

The following is a guest post from Environmental Defence and was written by Patrick DeRochie, Campaign Coordinator of the Clean Economy program. It discusses the new climate plan introduced by Ontario– Bill 172, Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016. This Act enshrines Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions targets (15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% by 2030, and 80% by 2050) in its legislation, meaning that these targets cannot be relaxed without amending the Act. This post also explores Ontario’s new cap-and-trade program as part of its 2016 budget, including how the system will affect Ontarians and how its revenue will be optimally used. 

Ontario’s new budget locks in climate action

Ontario has taken its most significant step yet in tackling climate change and building a low-carbon economy. Meeting emission reduction targets along with a cap-and-trade program to price carbon pollution will be the law in Ontario.

On Wednesday, Ontario introduced the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act, which commits the province to achieving its climate targets and using cap-and-trade revenues for climate action. And on Thursday, as part of the 2016 budget, Ontario released the regulation that sets out the detail of the province’s cap-and-trade program.

Bill 172, the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act enshrines in legislation Ontario’s emissions reduction targets. Those targets—15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030, and 80 per cent by 2050—cannot be relaxed without amending the Act. They can, however, be made more stringent.

The Act also lays out the rules for implementing a cap-and-trade program. In particular, it specifies that revenue raised from cap-and-trade must be used to fund complementary policies that further cut carbon pollution.

Ontario has already reduced emissions more than any other province in Canada and succeeded in hitting its 2014 climate target. Bill 172 commits Ontario to reaching future targets too.

But that’s not the only good news for the climate to come out of Ontario this week… Read more on Environmental Defence’s website.

This post was originally published on February 27th, 2016.

 

Header Image Source: “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne” by Flickr user Alex Guibord, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

 

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