Ontario has met its interim GHG reduction target for 2014 but it will find it difficult to reach its 2020 goal, the Canadian province’s acting environment commissioner said on Tuesday, as a North American climate summit kicks off in Toronto.
In a report published ahead of this week’s Climate Summit of the Americas, Ellen Schwartzel said Ontario will miss its 2020 target to cut emissions by 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 unless it adopts some more ambitious policies.
“Unless the government takes more aggressive action, particularly in the transportation and building sectors, it will not be able to meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 megatonnes by 2020,” Schwartzel said.
“This would be roughly equivalent to the reductions it achieved with the closure of the province’s coal-fired electricity plants.”
Ontario’s transportation sector is the province’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions following the decision to close the coal plants.
“We need a more ambitious suite of actions, focused especially on reducing emissions from cars and trucks. And each time a new high-rise tower goes up, we should be reminded that buildings account for the next biggest increase in megatonnes of CO2,” Schwartzel said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne earlier this year announced that the province would design its own cap-and-trade scheme and link it to those of California and Quebec under the WCI.
Schwartzel acknowledged that while a provincial carbon market will help push Ontario towards its 2020 goal, it will likely focus on large industrial emitters, and thus won’t be enough to fill the near-term gap.
Ontario will unveil the details of its emissions trading scheme, as well as other elements of its new climate change strategy, towards the end of the year.
Wynne will welcome California governor Jerry Brown, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and former US Vice President Al Gore to her summit this week, but Canadian environment minister Leona Aglukkaq is reportedly not attending.
Download the complete commissioner’s report here.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org