If you believe that humankind is impacting our climate, and you want to do something about it, then please read the People's Climate Plan for Ontario and take action. Your voice needs to be heard. This plan was developed by ClimateFast and DrawdownTO based on submissions during the climate plan consultation in November. We invite you to get involved in building a people's climate action plan for Ontario!
We are still taking signatures on the Peoples Climate Plan!
PEOPLE’S CLIMATE PLAN for ONTARIO written by ClimateFast and DrawdownTO
Endorsed by: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) Just Earth,
Green Neighbours 21, Greenspiration, and Pax Christi
We, the residents of Ontario, in the face of the looming emergency posed by climate change, demand strong and responsible action fully consistent with the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. We demand action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. We demand the adoption of policies and regulations that will create the jobs of the future, while returning money to ordinary Ontarians so we can thrive in a low-carbon economy.
The UN has pointed out that Canada’s climate targets must increase, yet Ontario’s climate plan reduces its former targets to match Canada’s insufficient ones. With the cancellation of the cap-and-trade program, Ontario’s government has revoked funds for greenhouse gas-reducing initiatives like building retrofits. Other climate initiatives, like electric vehicle rebates, have also been cut. The new plan provides no clear pathway for recovering this funding or even meeting its reduced emissions targets.1
The climate crisis threatens us all. Rising temperatures are already causing extreme weather events, floods, heatwaves, extended droughts, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. If we overshoot 1.5 °C, we risk irreparable damage to our natural world, food and water insecurity, growing numbers of climate refugees, and a global public health crisis.2
The only way to minimize these threats to our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren is to draw down emissions quickly. The science is clear: we have very few years left to make the necessary changes. According to the 2018 U.N. IPCC report, emissions must decrease 45% by 2030, eleven years from now, to have any hope of success.3
Thankfully, moving to green infrastructure now is not just an imperative; it is also a great opportunity. The green transition can create thousands of jobs in emerging, innovative green industries, make our towns and cities more resilient, and leave Canada’s natural beauty intact for the enjoyment of future generations.4 Proactive policies in countries like Norway and the UK, and in regions like California and South Australia, demonstrate the economic potential of this new green economy.5
Unfortunately, the Ford government’s plan moves us backwards. It weakens our climate goals at a time when they must be more ambitious, eliminates mechanisms for the government to be held accountable, and fails to specify actions that will help us all prosper from a quick transition to renewable energy in our buildings and our transportation choices.6
As residents of Ontario, we call on the government to take the voice of the people into account and:
Commit to and invest in 100% renewable energy by 2030, and stop spending taxpayers’ money on expensive, dirty energy sources. Take advantage of low-cost electricity options, including the adoption of energy conservation strategies and the purchase of Quebec water power.7
Do not misuse public money. Account for the money that was raised in cap-and-trade auctions, which was earmarked for things like public building retrofits. Do not spend $30 million in tax dollars taking the federal government to court to fight a carbon fee that will be returned directly to Ontario’s schools, hospitals and households (an average family will receive $300 in 2019).8
Create jobs and save Ontarians money by accelerating the adoption of renewables, significantly increasing energy efficiency programs, and restoring incentives for building retrofits and the adoption of solar, heat pump and geothermal energy. Increase energy efficiency requirements in the building code by 2020, leading to net-zero emissions in new-builds by 2030.
Ensure that green transportation choices are accessible and affordable for Ontarians, including reliable low-carbon public transport, electric vehicles, supporting grid systems, and safe, active options like walking and cycling.10
Ensure Ontario’s long-term prosperity by taking full advantage of green tech opportunities and our skilled workforce. Build infrastructure to help skilled workers in construction, manufacturing and transportation secure long-term employment in clean tech, rather than in polluting, fossil-fuel dependent industries that are unreliable job providers.11
Account for the social cost of carbon and choose an effective way to fund green initiatives. Reconsider using our tax dollars to pay polluters in a system that already failed when adopted in Australia.12 Any system chosen should show reduced emissions in line with ambitious climate targets.
Conserve and protect our cherished wilderness and green spaces including Ontario’s Greenbelt. Protect at least 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020; they are our most effective carbon sink.13
Create a plan that is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Relevant and Timebound - including short and long-term targets, concrete details, clear timelines, and a system to transparently and frequently measure progress. Include ongoing meaningful public consultation, e.g., a working group comprised of academics, scientists, front-line workers and city representatives.
Now is the time to counter the threats of climate change with our best and boldest efforts. This is Ontario’s chance to create a greener, fairer and more prosperous society.
Posted online: www.climatefast.ca/peoples-climate-plan
1) Ontario has relaxed previous targets by about 30 megatons CO2 and matched Canada’s existing targets, despite the fact that these need to be made much more ambitious if we are to keep global warming below 1.5 °C. Indeed, if the entire world were to adopt Canada’s current policy, it would warm an estimated 5 °C.
2) We currently face stronger droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and the loss of food and water security in many parts of the world due to consequences like the loss of coral reefs and glaciers. Humanity is expected to face multiple overlapping climate-induced crises by 2100 unless aggressive action is taken to mitigate warming. The 2018 Lancet special report details numerous public health dangers from climate change and fossil fuel use. For Canada, these include nearly ten thousand premature deaths per year due to particulate air pollution. The consequences of warming 2 °C are significantly more severe than at 1.5 °C.
3) The International Panel on Climate Change's 1.5 °C Report counsels that we must reduce emissions by 45% or more below 2010 levels by 2030 to have any chance of achieving the 1.5 °C goal. And, the UN chief warns that we must change course before 2020 to avoid the chance of runaway global warming.
4) According to the Environmental Commissioner’s 2018 report (EC report) in 2017, Ontario was a leader in the cleantech industry, with 5,000 companies employing 130,000 people. At the same time, the Costs of Climate Change are rising with insurance claims due to natural disasters in Canada of about $1 billion annually.
5) Norway has transitioned rapidly to electric vehicles through government incentives and taxes; the UK has managed to reduce its overall energy use while growing its economy; South Australia is reaping the benefits of major investments in renewable energy; and California has achieved its 2020 emissions targets four years early while hosting the world’s most dynamic economy. Worldwide, 26 countries have emissions pricing policies in place, with an additional 20 planned.
7) According to the 2018 Environment Commisioner’s Report, Ontario subsidizes the fossil fuel industry with about $625 million a year and spends $11 billion importing fossil fuels. If we shift current fossil fuel subsidies to renewables we could supply 178,000 home energy audits and retrofits or 30,000 solar energy powered homes. According to the Clean Air Alliance, water power from Quebec is now available for as little as 2.2₵ a kilowatt.
8) In its climate plan report card, Environmental Defence asks where $500 million from cap & trade went. Cancelled investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon initiatives also cost Ontarians money and jobs. In contrast, in the federal carbon pricing system, an Ontario family of 4 stands to receive $307 in 2019.
9) 2018 Environment Commissioner’s report, Pg. 87: ”Increased energy efficiency in Ontario could mean a net increase of 52,800 jobs/year and $12.5 billion/year (GDP).” Mission2020 Mission 2020 suggests that policies and regulations be in place by 2020, to move all buildings and infrastructure to net-zero on a science-dictated timeline. Ontario’s former climate plan, http://climateactionnow.ca/sites/climateactionnow.ca/files/files/Climate%20Change%20Action%20Plan.pdf, proposed an update to the building code “with long-term energy efficiency targets for new net zero carbon emission small buildings that will come into effect by 2030 at the latest, and consult on initial changes that will be effective by 2020.”
10) Many governments have now issued bans on new gas and diesel vehicles to take force in the period 2020-2030, including Austria, India and Germany. The cancelled Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, tied to Ontario’s cap-and-trade program, slated $104 million for cycling infrastructure, $136 million for electric and hydrogen vehicle rebates (this market was growing at an annual rate of 100% or more) and $23 million for electric vehicle charging stations [2018 EC report].
11) Vehicle manufacturers, among them General Motors and Ford, are planning on making many more electric vehicles. Ontario’s auto plants need to transition to remain competitive. See GM Electric Vehicles, Ford Electric Cars; and the Worker’s Climate Plan for specifics.
12) Australia’s national emissions reduction fund has failed to cut emissions; the Ontario plan’s $400 million taxpayer funded carbon trust plan is essentially the same policy. At the same time, carbon pricing is working in BC and California and enjoys a widespread popular support.
13) Land use is critically important to the carbon budget, with reforestation the most effective use. Ontario committed to protect 17% of its land under the AICHI Biodiversity Targets, but is falling well short of this goal. Bill 66 opens Ontario’s Greenbelt for development, threatens our drinking water, and removes rules meant to prevent the release of toxic chemicals -- the exact opposite of the climate and environmental action we need to see now.