Liberals cannot hide behind Ford’s climate incompetence

QUEEN’S PARK — The Liberals’ sunny climate change report released today disguises some major problems, even as the climate change clock is ticking. Sure, Doug Ford would be a disaster for the climate and Ontario’s opportunity to create low-carbon 21st century jobs, but that doesn’t mean Ontarians should give Kathleen Wynne a free ride.

“No one in Queen’s Park is holding this government accountable on a weak climate plan that starts and ends with an ineffective cap-and-trade system. The Conservatives have reverted to fear-mongering about carbon pricing, while the New Democrats don’t even think climate change is worth talking about,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner. “Only the Green Party seems to recognize that there is no Planet B.”

The Liberals have trotted out a basket of programs funded by cap-and-trade revenues. Yes, electric vehicle rebates and smart thermostats are important, but they won’t be enough to meet the province’s own targets. And if you look deeper, you’ll find endless government policies that contradict and undermine our greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“Liberals have to stop giving out free pollution permits to the 150 largest polluters if we have any hope of making carbon pricing work to reduce pollution,” said Schreiner. “The Liberals have no plans to phase out natural gas for home heating and continue to make infrastructure decisions that lock us into the burning of fossil fuels for decades to come. We must leap into the future now.”

Canadians are already paying the costs of extreme weather caused by climate change – $4.9 billion in insurable losses in 2016 alone. But for all their talk, the Liberals always seem to side with their friends in industry. The Green Party’s climate plan would end the loopholes for large emitters, ban fracking, and activate a new green workforce. Rather than selling off public assets and pouring billions into expensive and dangerous nuclear power, we would bring our energy system into the 21st century with smart ideas that protect the environment, save money, and create jobs.

“We need strong voices to take the Liberals to task when they choose polluters over people. The Green Party has a real climate action plan that does not tinker on the margins or have the fingerprints of industry all over it,” said Schreiner.