We’re in the midst of an escalating climate crisis, but the Ontario government is acting like the crisis isn’t happening.
Take for example Ontario’s plans to expand gas infrastructure into rural and northern communities and build more gas plants. Instead of ramping up fossil gas (aka natural gas) consumption, we need to bring it down. A new report explains how the provincial government can do just that, while also creating jobs and growing the economy.
Ontario needs to rapidly reduce emissions and phasing out fossil gas is a smart way to do it. Nearly a third of our current carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions come from burning fossil gas for electricity, home heating and other uses!
A Plan for Green Buildings, Jobs and Prosperity for Ontario: Reducing Carbon Emissions from Fossil Gas, a new report from Environmental Defence Canada and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, lays out detailed recommendations for reducing fossil gas usage by 30 per cent by 2030 and an alternate scenario which brings down gas usage 40 per cent. While the full report is worth a look, we’ve included a few highlights below.
- Lower energy bills! Recommended financing options will allow homeowners to pay for their upgrades gradually while realizing efficiency gains immediately.
- Economic growth! The new financing options will stimulate the economy.
- Jobs! Instead of sending our money to fossil gas producing regions, we can spend it in Ontario and create tens of thousands of good jobs in the renovation and energy sectors. The energy efficiency policies alone will create more than 18,500 jobs!
- Reduced emissions! We can’t get to net-zero emissions without tackling fossil gas.
- Finance home energy efficiency upgrades with low-interest government loans in the same way we currently finance power plants and other energy infrastructure.
- Include high-efficiency zero-carbon heating equipment like air-source heat pumps in grant and loan programs.
- Provide interest-free loans which homeowners can repay on their energy or property tax bills — not unlike our current leasing programs for water heaters. This will make efficiency upgrades attractive even if a homeowner is considering moving.
- Rather than spending $234 million to subsidize the expansion of natural gas infrastructure into rural and northern communities, use this money to install zero-carbon heating. The gas subsidy alone amounts to $26,000 per home! Instead, electrify for about half the cost!
- Reserve hydrogen and gas from renewable sources (e.g. food waste) for hard to decarbonize sectors like aviation and heavy industry.
Rather than pouring money into outdated technologies like fossil gas which increase emissions and air pollution, Ontario should create jobs, grow our economy and reduce emissions by investing in new technologies and home energy efficiency.
BONUS – COOL TECH ALERT!
The companies selling fossil gas want you to believe that our electrical grid needs gas-plants because they can be fired up quickly to meet spiking demand. But wind and solar can handle spikes in demand if they are connected to storage and we’re about to add tens of thousands of ‘mobile electricity storage systems’ (aka car batteries) to our grid as people switch from ICE vehicles to EVs. Those mobile batteries are typically sitting idle in an office parking lot at peak demand hours. If workplaces install two-way charging stations now, they can meet their peak power needs with their employees’ cars! Better yet, people can charge their batteries at night when time-of-use prices are low and provide power when prices are high. So this plan will actually make it cheaper to operate an EV and power Ontario’s businesses! Find out more here: EV Batteries and Ontario’s Electricity System