On­tario must move to a low-car­bon econ­omy

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

Sci­en­tists agree — 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded.

Whether it was higher costs due to a warmer sum­mer or more se­vere flood­ing be­cause of a faster spring melt, fam­i­lies and busi­nesses both ur­ban and ru­ral felt the im­pact of cli­mate change right here in On­tario.

These same con­se­quences are also be­ing felt on a global scale. Rec­og­niz­ing this, gov­ern­ments, busi­nesses and cit­i­zens from around the world are tak­ing ac­tion to fight cli­mate change by com­mit­ting to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the amount of green­house gas pol­lu­tion we emit.

As a green leader, On­tario is com­mit­ted to do­ing its part.

Last fall, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment an­nounced its plan to fight cli­mate change that will soon see the en­tire coun­try cov­ered by a car­bon price. Within that frame­work, On­tario is mov­ing for­ward with our cli­mate change ac­tion plan, which in­cludes putting a cap on the amount of emis­sions busi­nesses can re­lease into the at­mos­phere.

We’re tak­ing this ap­proach be­cause it guar­an­tees GHG re­duc­tions at the cheap­est price pos­si­ble for fam­i­lies and busi­nesses, un­like a car­bon tax scheme which would cost four times more with­out guar­an­tee­ing any re­duc­tions.

On­tario is also rein­vest­ing ev­ery dol­lar col­lected, al­low­ing us to sup­port up to $8.3 bil­lion in green projects that fight cli­mate change like tran­sit, elec­tric ve­hi­cle in­cen­tives and hous­ing retrofits.

These in­vest­ments will help fam­i­lies and busi­nesses re­duce costs and make the switch to non-pol­lut­ing choices eas­ier and less ex­pen­sive. This is a fair, re­spon­si­ble ap­proach that has the sup­port of third-party ex­perts, busi­nesses and other gov­ern­ments.

We know the longer we wait to act on cli­mate change, the more it will cost us.

Canadian busi­ness lead­ers agree, re­cently pen­ning an open let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau call­ing the global shift to a low-car­bon econ­omy a “ma­jor eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity and a vi­tal en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity for Canada.”

Be­ing a leader puts On­tario in the best po­si­tion for long-term eco­nomic growth, al­low­ing us to ben­e­fit from the op­por­tu­ni­ties and new jobs that will come with this tran­si­tion. Our cli­mate change ac­tion plan will help us do that.

With na­tional car­bon pric­ing be­ing the new re­al­ity, we’ve worked hard to lead from the mid­dle ground, bal­anc­ing the need for ac­tion with what’s best for On­tario fam­i­lies and busi­nesses. To­gether with our ac­tion plan, we can make sure our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren are poised for suc­cess in the new low-car­bon econ­omy.

Glen Mur­ray is On­tario’s Min­is­ter of the En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change

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