Environmental Advocacy

Current advocacy campaigns:

Have your say: Ontario’s new Environment Plan open for public comment until January 29, 2019.

Having cancelled the provincial cap-and-trade system, the provincial government released its new Environment Plan on November 29, 2018.  Instead of putting a price on carbon emissions, the plan proposes to create a Carbon Trust and reverse auction by which $400 million of public funds would be used to leverage private investment in clean technologies and attract lowest-cost greenhouse gas reduction projects.  Critics contend that a similar system adopted in Australia has resulted in increased, rather than lowered, emissions. (Read more here and here)

The plan reduces Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions targets by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, the same target adopted by Canada as a whole under the 2015 Paris climate accord.. Environment Minister Rod Phillips claims this represents Ontario doing its share toward Canada’s climate change goals.  However, it represents 30 megatonnes more emissions than the former provincial government’s goal of a 37% decrease from 1990 levels by 2030.  Under the new plan, Canada will find it much harder to meet its commitments to the Paris accord.  (read more)

The plan also claims to protect Ontario’s land, water and air, including the Greenbelt. However, the week after the Environment Plan was released, the government introduced Bill 66, which gives municipalities the power to pass “open for business” bylaws that would exempt them from key provisions in the Greenbelt Act, the Clean Water Act, the Great Lakes Protection Act, Lake Simcoe Protection Act, and other pieces of environmental legislation.  It is hard to see how allowing such exemptions can be reconciled with the Environment Plan’s stated commitment to preserving the Greenbelt and Ontario’s lakes, rivers, and groundwater. (read more)

From now till January 29, 2019, you can submit your comment on Ontario’s new Environment Plan here.

Why a price on carbon is a key part of addressing climate change

Cap-and-trade is not anti-conservative. In a 2014 opinion piece, Preston Manning proposed that “for any economic activity, especially the production of energy, we should identify its negative environmental impacts, devise measures to avoid, mitigate or adapt to those impacts, and include the costs of those measures in the price of the product. It’s the idea behind using carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Cap-and-trade is exactly such a market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gases, while financing our shift to renewable sources of energy, which has the potential for growing our economy.

The matter is urgent. Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report stating that we need “unprecedented political commitment” between now and the year 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or our world will not be able to avoid the most drastic impacts of climate change.  And these will be economic and humanitarian impacts, as well as biological ones.  A 2017 report from the Bank of Canada projected that climate change would cost the Canadian economy more than $20 billion annually by the 2050’s, unless we reduce our carbon footprints. Already, climate change is costing Canada’s economy billions in terms of response to disasters such as wildfires and flooding, insurance payouts, damage to infrastructure, and lost agricultural productivity.

Cancelling one of the best tools we have to mitigate this foreseeable loss is the very definition of financial and governmental irresponsibility.   Ontarians have a right to expect our government to take care of our economy and our resources, not to jeopardize them.

Statements by Anglican and other Church leaders on the environment