Liberals’ inaction on reducing GHG pollution will cost billions

Green Party leader Mike Schreiner made the following statement in response to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s annual review of the government’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 
(Queen’s Park): “I’m deeply concerned at the lack of leadership and action from the status quo parties at Queen’s Park on meeting current greenhouse gas reduction targets.
 
Ontario is not on track to meet its GHG target of 150 Mt by 2020, according to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner.
 
The Liberals last major climate change policy–Ontario’s coal phase out–was announced in 2003 and achieved earlier this year. However, the Liberals have taken Ontario backwards in all other areas, especially in transportation.
 
This inaction on climate change is costing Ontario billions. Extreme weather events alone cost the insurance industry over $3.2 billion in 2013. Estimates are that climate change will cost the Canadian economy over $5 billion by 2020.
 
These numbers are concerning, especially in the wake of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stressed that climate change is real, humans are causing it and that “limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
 
Ontario can create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon pollution. BC’s carbon tax has fostered economic growth while reducing carbon pollution.
 
The Green Party of Ontario is committed to working with the government to reduce the cost of climate change. The GPO’s plan targets the three largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution–transportation, industry and buildings:
 

  • Put a price on carbon pollution
  • Dedicated revenue to fully fund transit that creates incentives to reduce car use (parking levies, gas tax, and congestion charges) and create incentives for electrification
  • Invest in people’s homes with energy retrofits (paid for by canceling the refurbishment of expensive nuclear plants and purchasing low cost water power)

We can’t afford to ignore the fact that climate change threatens Ontario’s economy and environment. Now is the time for action.”
 
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