Ontario’s Provincial Government released their new climate change plan – Preserving and Protecting Our Environment For Future Generations: A Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan. This plan fails to commit to real climate action and claws back significantly on the commitments made by the previous government.
“While the government calls this a Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan, we see it more as a “Not-Our-Problem” climate plan,” said Dusha Sritharan, climate campaigner with the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “Rather than accepting our collective responsibility to reduce our emissions, this plan fails to commit to any substantial actions to tackle climate change.”
“Scaling back our commitments on climate action will have a direct impact on municipalities across the province, including the City of Toronto, that have relied on provincial funding to implement their own climate action plans,” said Sritharan.
It’s unclear how this plan will meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. In fact, the new plan is projected to emit 30 megatonnes more in emissions by 2030 than the previous climate action plan. Furthermore, the government’s recent move to eliminate the watchdog role of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario leaves no independent officer in place to review their progress.
“While actions such as reducing litter and water pollution are important, they do not help us deal with the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Sritharan.
“Ultimately, we feel this plan is a distraction from the real work needed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.”
The plan also fails to address important opportunities for creating local jobs while tackling climate change. Buildings account for about 21 per cent of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas emissions – but the plan does not identify this as an area of focus. Building retrofits of social housing, hospitals, schools and other institutional buildings would help create thousands of jobs, benefit public health, increase affordability, and improve everyday comfort for Ontarians while achieving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. However, the plan fails to outline a concrete strategy or investments to help achieve this.