(Toronto) Even in the face of recession, the Ontario government today delivered money for environmental initiatives, reflecting a growing recognition that our future economy is a green one – where jobs are created in renewable energy and in manufacturing products for a world that must change because of global warming.
“If we want to keep pace with the new energy economy that President Obama seems intent on creating in the U.S., we will need the types of investments we are seeing today from Premier McGuinty,” said Matt Price, Project Manager with Environmental Defence.
Green economy measures in today’s budget include:
$250 million over five years for an Emerging Technologies Fund
$390 million to match federal resources under the national Green Infrastructure Fund
$50 million over five years to research and develop a “smart” electricity grid
New charges on the purchase of fossil fuels through a harmonized sales tax
Maintaining the budget for the Ministry of Environment
There are nonetheless some areas of concern today’s budget, including:
Spending on transit drops from $1.7 to $1.5 billion over the next two years, while highway construction increases from $1.7 to $2 billion over the same time period
Failure to project any revenues from selling pollution permits in a cap and trade system that had been promised for 2010
“A green economy will only emerge when there is consistency in the shift away from measures that encourage the burning of fossil fuels,” said Price. “Ontario must be careful not to lose its opportunity for leadership, jeopardized by things like highway expansion and delaying the regulation of large polluters.”
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact Mike Layton at 416-323-9521 xt 257
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