Toronto: Fourteen leading environmental organizations laid out their expectations for Ontario’s climate change strategy, which the provincial government is expected to be over the coming week.
 
“As Canada’s number two generator of greenhouse gas emissions after Alberta Ontario needs to put forward an effective strategy for meeting its share of Canada’s Kyoto commitment,” said Dr. Mark Winfield of the Pembina Institute.
 
“Ontario at least needs to match the Kyoto-consistent greenhouse gas emission reduction targets already set by Quebec and Manitoba,” added Dr. Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada.
 
The groups identified five key areas in which the provincial plan needs to provide for substantive and immediate action:
 
Targets and Timelines

Set caps for total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012 (i.e., Kyoto compliant), 25 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

Transportation and Urban Sprawl

Complete implementation of anti-sprawl planning rules, including the protection of threatened lands under the Places to Grow process.
Invest in transit, but ensure that investments make sense in terms of increasing ridership and reducing GHG emissions.
Stop sprawl-inducing highway expansions in Greater Golden Horseshoe (e.g., 404 North, 407 East, Mid-Peninsula Highway).
Review future infrastructure investments for climate change impacts.
Adopt California tailpipe standards for greenhouse gases.

Energy and Electricity

Make carbon polluters pay; adopt a carbon tax and/or implement a GHG emissions cap-and-trade system for large emitters.
Accelerate and expand targets and investments for conservation, low-impact renewable power and high-efficiency cogeneration.
Complete coal phase-out by 2009; ban non-emergency coal-power exports from Ontario immediately.
Make non-renewable power suppliers compete on a level playing field. No more “sweetheart” deals for nuclear. Phase out existing nuclear plants as soon as possible.

Boreal Forests

Postpone further development decisions in Ontario’s Northern Boreal Forest until a comprehensive land use planning framework is implemented. The planning framework should ensure the continued ecological services and functions of the Boreal Forest, including maximizing carbon storage and retention, and providing sustainable economic opportunities for First Nations communities
Protect carbon-rich intact Boreal Forest and peat lands of the allocated area of the undertaking. Protecting ecosystems rich in carbon will also protect caribou habitat.

Adaptation

Help communities and ecosystems cope with some inevitable climate change impacts (e.g., stress on water resources, particularly in the Great Lakes St.Lawrence Basin, increased numbers of smog/heat episodes and extreme weather).

Conservation

Help Ontarians adopt climate change solutions, such as home energy retrofits, electricity conservation, renewable power, transportation alternatives and local sustainable food.
Help retailers, businesses, institutions and municipalities become conservation leaders.
Foster a community-oriented conservation movement.

 
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For background information on these recommendations, see the Pembina Institute’s May 18, 2007, letter to Premier McGuinty at http://energy.pembina.org/pub/1463 < http://energy.pembina.org/pub/1463 >
 
For more information contact:

Mark Winfield, Pembina Institute
Tel: 416-644-1016
Keith Stewart, WWF-Canada
Tel. 416-489-4567 ext 7257
Ramani Nadarajah, Canadian Environmental Law Association
Tel: 416-960-2284 ext. 217
 
Chris Winter, Conservation Council of Ontario
Tel: 416-533-1635 ext. 1

Rick Smith, Environmental Defence
Tel: 416-670-9521
 
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics
Tel: 416-938-6032
 
Derek Stack, Great Lakes United
Tel: 613-797-9532
 
Bruce Cox, Greenpeace
Tel: (416) 419-7341
 
Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Tel: 416-926-1907 ext. 240

Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature
Tel: 416-444-8419 ext. 237 / Cell: 416-768-9795
 
Dan McDermott, Sierra Club of Canada, Ontario Chapter
Tel: 416-960-6075
 
Hugh Wilkins, Sierra Legal
416-368-7533 ext. 34
 
Franz Hartmann, Toronto Environmental Alliance
Tel: 416-596-0660
 
Janet Sumner, Wildlands League
Tel: 416-971-9453 ext. 39