Climate Change: Candidates respond to the issue

The candidates were asked about Climate Change at the All Candidates Meeting held on Sept. 28th, 2011. The following is the question presented and below are the candidates responses. (Note: A submission from Rob Milligan, PC, has not been received yet)

The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that developed countries like Canada need to reduce GHG emissions 25- 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Ontario’s has set a target of only a 15% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. Furthermore, according to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner there is some doubt that even this inadequate target can be met with current Provincial policies and programs . If your party formed the next Provincial government, will it set Provincial GHG reduction targets to match IPCC targets , and put in place measures to meet these targets?

LOU RINALDI, Ontario Liberal Party (MPP)

Ontario Liberals introduced North America’s most comprehensive Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program in 2009. Thousands of contracts for renewable energy projects have been offered under the FIT program, that will create clean energy to power our homes and businesses.

The program is also making our clean energy economy a global success. Already 20,000 jobs have been created in Ontario — and over $20 billion in private investment has been committed to our province.

We are determined to work with Ontarians and our partners in the industry to ensure the continued success and sustainability of the FIT program in Ontario.

Despite this success, both the PCs and the NDP refuse to endorse the burgeoning clean energy economy and the FIT program. The PC platform signalled their formal intent to end the FIT program and cancel our
government’s agreement with Samsung. This is a direct threat to thousands of Ontario jobs, thousands of megawatts (MW) of planned clean, renewable energy, and billions in private sector investment in our economy when it needs it the most.

The NDP plan is no less disappointing — they have pledged to end FIT projects. This would have a devastating effect on Ontario’s clean energy sector, driving billions of dollars out of our economy and killing thousands of jobs.

Andrea Horwath has clearly stated the NDP will not partner with private sector clean energy companies: “…electricity generation must be publicly owned…contracts with private power producers are not the way we will do business.” (NDP Platform, pg. 17) “Private power deals — we disagree with that. We think it was the
wrong-headed way to go.” (Andrea Horwath, Media Availability, August 18, 2011)

Only Ontario Liberals support renewable energy development.

Clean Fuels:

To encourage the development of biodiesel, Ontario Liberals have required an annual average of 5 per cent ethanol in gasoline since 2007. We are committed to maintaining this requirement.

The Ontario Ethanol Growth Fund will help ensure that, to the furthest extent possible, Ontario’s ethanol requirements are met with local production. We also currently exempt biodiesel (specifically fatty acid
methyl esters) from the provincial 14.3 cents-per-litre on-road diesel
fuel tax.

Bio-Gas Systems:

Ontario Liberals have led the way when it comes to creating new forms of energy that reduce greenhouse emissions, improve waste diversion, produce clean, renewable energy and support farmers and food processors.

Since 2008, Ontario Liberals have invested more than $11 million to support feasibility studies for more than 40 bio-digester projects, and the creation of more than 20 bio-digesters across the province.

Ontario Liberals are committed to reducing greenhouse gases from energy use in homes and businesses. That is why we are undertaking the phase-out of all our coal-fired generating units by 2014 — the single-largest
reduction of greenhouse gases in Ontario.

We have shut down eight units so far and will be closing another two by the end of the year. Coal use for the first half of 2011 is down 94 per cent compared to the same time period in 2003. Replacing coal-fired
electricity generation with cleaner generation will reduce our annual carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 megatonnes. This will be the single-largest climate change initiative in North America to be achieved
by the end of 2014.

Another very important way to reduce greenhouse gases in home and business energy use is through conservation. This is why Ontario Liberals have initiated and are committed to various conservation programs delivered by the Ontario Power Authority in cooperation with Ontario’s Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) — programs that both the PCs and NDP have promised to recklessly abandon.

Our new province-wide saveONenergy conservation programs are designed to encourage customers to invest in electricity conservation measures, which in turn will help them manage their electricity bills. These programs will also help LDCs meet their four-year individual conservation targets while contributing to the province’s long-term targets of 7,100 MW in peak-demand savings and 28TWh in electricity savings by 2030.

Transitioning families, businesses and government to lower and adopt a more efficient energy use is a key focus of Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Our comprehensive suite of conservation programs can be found at
http://www.saveonenergy.ca

Ontario Liberals recognize the importance of keeping our environment healthy and green. We believe in a smart, integrated approach to transportation that keeps our air clean, gets our families where they need
to go and keeps our economy moving. Our approach includes initiatives that conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize energy consumption while promoting green construction practices.

Ontario Liberals are the only party that is on the right track when it comes to transit. We have invested $10.8 billion in public transit since 2003, making it easier for more people to use.

Ontario Liberals created Metrolinx, an integrated regional transit authority to improve public transit across the GTHA. Metrolinx is leading the implementation of our $50-billion plan to get people out of cars and onto transit.

Key results include:

  • We have supported public transit in areas like Toronto, York Region, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa, including GO Train service to Kitchener Waterloo by the end of 2011.
  • We have opened seven new GO Train stations.
  • We are building and paying for the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT).
  • We are partnering to extend the Spadina subway to York University and York Region.
  • We are building and paying for an Air Rail Link that runs directly from Union Station to Pearson: it will remove 1.2 million cars from our roads in the first year of operation.
  • We have committed $300 million to the Waterloo Rapid Transit project.
  • We have created a long-term highway-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane network plan that will add more than 450 kilometres of HOV lanes across the Greater Golden Horseshoe over the next 25 years.

Ontario Liberals are also reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector by investing heavily in the electric vehicle industry. Our target is to have one in 20 cars electrically powered by 2020: we currently provide an incentive of between $5,000 and $8,500 toward the purchase of electric vehicles. We also recently announced an $80-million investment to kick-start the widespread availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And Toyota recently announced that it will build the electric version of its RAV4 right here at its Woodstock plant. Similarly, Magna will be developing the next generation of clean vehicle technologies right here in Ontario.

Ontario Liberals are committed to encouraging more people to use bicycles and other forms of non-motorized transportation. We believe active transportation is a key part of creating a sustainable transportation network that can support our transportation needs today and protect our environment for years to come. We know there are community, tourism, health, social, economic and safety benefits — and we believe in making our communities and our province more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

The NDP and PCs do not share our approach. When the PCs were in government, they set Ontario back a generation in building transit by cancelling the Eglinton subway project and downloading GO Transit costs
onto municipalities, leaving them to foot the bill. The NDP have continuously opposed the construction of the Air Rail Link and voted against public transit expansion for Toronto, York Region, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.

Ontario Liberals are on the right track in reducing congestion, investing in transit and ensuring a more vibrant and healthy future.

Ontario Liberals are also reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector by investing heavily in the electric vehicle industry. Our target is to have one in 20 cars electrically powered by 2020: we currently provide an incentive of between $5,000 and $8,500 toward the purchase of electric vehicles. We also recently announced an $80-million investment to kick-start the widespread availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And Toyota recently announced that it will build the electric version of its RAV4 right here at its Woodstock plant. Similarly, Magna will be developing the next generation of clean vehicle technologies right here in Ontario.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting energy conservation: We are working with families and businesses to make Ontario a more energy-efficient province. Our plan will save 7,100 MW of power by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America.

We are working with businesses and families by offering a variety of conservation options through their local utility and the Ontario Power Authority. These range from larger undertakings to reduce energy consumption to smaller things that people can do at home to conserve energy.

By investing in renewable energy and phasing out coal-fired generation, the Ontario Liberal plan is reducing the carbon footprint that our electricity system creates.

JUDY SMITH TORRIE, Green Party of Ontario

Yes, the Green Party of Ontario is committed to making climate change stablization a central goal in all our policy decisions regarding energy, economic development, taxation, agriculture, healthcare, education and environmental management. It is so central to our approach to be almost invisible because it guides all our actions from the way we champion more local agricultural production and 40% quotas for food in schools and hospitals, to ‘complete street‘ requirements for new and existing roads. We will improve public transit, reward the purchase of energy efficient vehicles and penalize gas-guzzlers. We will introduce a carbon tax and retrofit homes and businesses and set up a ‘conservation’ market to get Ontarians to reduce their energy demand by half, which would put us in line with N.Y. State. The Green Party of Ontario will meet the same target reduction as the federal Green Party, which is 30% below 1990 levels by 2020.

KIRA MEES, Ontario NDP

Ontario is not on track to meet our greenhouse gas targets for 2014 or 2020. Those who pollute must take responsibility for their emissions. Working in conjunction with other jurisdictions, we will join the Western Climate Initiative so Ontario firms can trade into a continental cap and trade plan. Revenues generated by cap and trade will be re-invested in reducing carbon emissions. We will work with other jurisdictions on a coordinated climate change strategy, continuing to push the federal government to move forward with a national plan. Within our first year in government we will develop a plan for Ontario to meet climate targets of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. This goes farther than the current targets.

About Sustainable Cobourg

Sustainable Cobourg is a citizens group in Cobourg, Ontario who advocate for more sustainable ways of living by organizing local environmental projects, educating and increasing the public's understanding of the environment and its importance.
This entry was posted in All News, Climate Change, News 2011, Sustainable Planning, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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