Cli­mate col­umn skewed

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - OPINION -

Lor­rie Gold­stein’s col­umn Cap and trade gives govern­ment a slush fund (Sept. 6)be­trays his skewed view of On­tario’s Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan. Like the skep­tics be­fore him, his sweep­ing as­sump­tions are wrong and need to be cor­rected.

On­tario res­i­dents I talk with don’t dis­pute that cli­mate change is real and that it’s hap­pen­ing. They want a pro­vin­cial govern­ment that sup­ports their de­sire to re­duce the amount of pol­lu­tion we are re­leas­ing into the air.

With the fed­eral govern­ment man­dat­ing a car­bon price by 2018, we’re tak­ing a lead with our plan to guar­an­tee re­duc­tions at the most eco­nom­i­cal price pos­si­ble.

Ev­ery dol­lar col­lected from our cap on pol­lu­tion and car­bon mar­ket must be rein­vested into projects that fight cli­mate change.

The On­tario govern­ment’s plan will in­vest up to $1.9 bil­lion a year to cut pol­lu­tion, cre­ate good, clean lo­cal jobs and re­duce our de­pen­dency on im­ported fos­sil fu­els.

Whether it’s for home im­prove­ments to lower en­ergy bills or new fur­naces in pub­lic schools to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and the com­fort of our kids, On­tar­i­ans are see­ing th­ese in­vest­ments in ac­tion.

Other ini­tia­tives — like so­cial hous­ing up­grades, in­creased cy­cling paths, and smart ther­mostats — will also help lower bills and emis­sions.

By law, we are re­quired to re­port back on th­ese in­vest­ments ev­ery year. Cit­i­zens can track our progress.

Our plan is dif­fer­ent from the ex­pen­sive car­bon tax some pre­fer. But we also be­lieve it’s bet­ter.

As On­tario’s in­de­pen­dent En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mis­sioner said in her an­nual re­port, “put­ting a price on car­bon by it­self would not be enough to achieve On­tario’s re­duc­tion tar­gets . . . On­tario needs com­ple­men­tary emis­sion re­duc­tion mea­sures.”

It’s th­ese ad­di­tional in­vest­ments that sep­a­rate our plan from the rest.

We’ve con­sulted with On­tar­i­ans and we know that fight­ing cli­mate change re­spon­si­bly is some­thing they want.

I would en­cour­age you to read our Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan and make up your own mind about our plan to cap pol­lu­tion and in­vest in low-car­bon choices for res­i­dents and busi­nesses. Chris Bal­lard Min­is­ter of the En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change

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