Opinion

Letters to the editor

The province's environment minister addresses climate action.

Ontario taking steps on climate action

Ontario’s efforts towards climate action will guarantee the highest amount of emission reductions at the lowest possible cost.

Our decision to move forward with a cap and trade system has been reviewed by third-party economic experts who found that a carbon tax would cost households and business four times more without guaranteeing reductions.

The average household cost of cap and trade is estimated to be $156 — substantially lower than what a recent editorial suggests. This figure is substantiated by modelling done by EnviroEconomics.

Throughout the development and implementation of our cap and trade roll-out, we have very clearly communicated that proceeds acquired from the program will not be limited to Ontario households. Industry, such as heavy emitting manufacturers, as well as costs from transport will be part of the program. Misleading math that implies that our cap and trade program only covers households is disingenuous, at best.

Factual inaccuracies will also falsely suggest that our revenue estimations are revenue targets. In our cap and trade system, market prices are based on how effectively we are able to drive emission reductions. Our market based approach will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving innovation and spurring economic growth. Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan is putting a cap on the amount of emissions businesses can release into the atmosphere while providing industry the flexibility they need to transition to a low-carbon economy.

We want to ensure Ontarians that transparency is at the forefront in our climate action efforts. To do so, we have made it compulsory by law to disclose how proceeds from Ontario’s cap and trade program will be invested into projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These investments will include jobs by fostering and adopting clean technologies and retrofitting buildings and homes.

It is also important to note that gas prices have actually down since the implementation of cap and trade. Shifts in costs have always been dependant on consumption amount, usage of efficient or inefficient sources of energy and — with respect to vehicles — the type of car one drives. We know that households with electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle have lower incremental costs of fuel. Our government is taking steps to help Ontarians improve the energy efficiency of their homes and cars, subsequently reducing both their energy bills and carbon footprint.

Within the federal carbon pricing framework announced in October 2016, Ontario is moving forward with our Climate Change Action Plan. Our Action Plan provides more choice for households and businesses to make the transition to lower carbon technologies through voluntary programs.

Every dollar collected through our plan will be reinvested, allowing us to support up to an estimated $1.9 billion into green projects that fight climate change. 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.

Glen Murray

Ontario’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change