Toronto, ON – Ahead of Ontario releasing details of its cap-and-trade program this month, Environmental Defence today published a new report, The $2 Billion Question, which illustrates the significant impact that cap-and-trade revenues could have if invested in initiatives that further cut carbon pollution.
Ontario has promised to dedicate cap-and-trade revenues, estimated to be $2 billion a year by 2020, to policies and programs that further reduce emissions.
The $2 Billion Question shows that with carbon pricing revenue Ontario could:

  • Pay for rooftop solar systems on 80,000 Ontario homes a year
  • Build 25,000 public electrical vehicle fast charging stations across the province a year
  • Incentivize energy retrofits on nearly one-third of all Ontario households a year; or
  • Pay for new, unfunded transit projects.

“If cap-and-trade revenues are not invested into new programs that reduce emissions, Ontario will not meet its climate targets. And if the proceeds end up in general revenues or are invested in projects that are already funded, the program’s credibility is at risk,” says Environmental Defence’s Executive Director Tim Gray.

Ontario is taking an important step by setting up a cap-and-trade program that puts a price on carbon pollution. But cap-and-trade on its own will only achieve a portion of the carbon reductions needed for the province to meet its 2020 climate targets. Additional reductions will need to come from new complementary actions that will not only cut carbon pollution but will also bring multiple co-benefits.

“Reinvesting carbon pricing revenues in emission-reducing projects will double the impact of cap-and-trade,” Gray says. “Based on experiences of other jurisdictions, these investments will also bring economic benefits, including new jobs, lower electricity bills, and lower health costs.”

To ensure carbon pricing proceeds have the greatest impact, it’s critical that they are allocated transparently and based on what will help meet Ontario’s climate targets. “Ontarians support cap-and-trade, but to sustain that support revenues must be reinvested in projects that benefit our environment, our economy, and Ontarians’ quality of life,” Gray says.

(Examples in the report are intended to illustrate the significant impact of cap-and-trade revenue, not be prescriptive for actual spending.)

Download the full report here.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 247 (work); 416-356-2587 (cell); abraude@environmentaldefence.ca