Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Québec Premier Philippe Couillard have released the following joint statement concerning Ontario and Québec’s collaboration on cap and trade:
“Climate change is endangering the air we breathe, the water we drink and the health of our children and grandchildren. It is already costing the people of Ontario and Québec — it has devastated communities, damaged homes, businesses and crops, and increased insurance rates.
“In November of 2014, Ontario and Québec signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which both provinces agreed to collaborate on their efforts to fight climate change and to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Today, we are deepening our collaboration on combating climate change by signing a letter formalizing our intent to work toward linking our cap and trade systems, once Ontario has developed a mechanism compatible and coherent with the Québec and California carbon market.
“In establishing a cap and trade system, Ontario intends to join North America’s largest carbon market already being operated by Québec and California. This will help improve market stability, minimize implementation costs and provide a consistent approach to greenhouse gas emitters in both provinces. At the next joint Cabinet meeting, our governments intend to amend our MOU on climate change to reflect the fact that Ontario is working with Québec in moving forward with cap and trade.”
To fight climate change — one of the greatest challenges mankind has faced — Ontario is putting a limit on the main sources of greenhouse gas pollution through a cap and trade system to protect air and water quality and the health of its children and grandchildren.
The statement notes that climate change is already hurting the environment, causing extreme weather like floods and droughts, and hurting the ability to grow food in some regions. Over the near term, it will increase the cost of food and insurance, harm wildlife and nature, and eventually make the world inhospitable for our children and grandchildren.
In this context, Ontario is joining other jurisdictions, including Québec and California, by imposing a hard ceiling on the pollution allowed in each sector of the economy. Known as cap and trade, this system effectively reduces the amount of greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere by setting a limit on emissions, rewarding innovative companies, providing certainty for industries and creating more opportunities for investment in Ontario.
Ontario intends to join the cap and trade system under the Western Climate Initiative. Under the cap and trade system, businesses will have their own greenhouse gas quota and will then be able to sell it if they don’t need it because of their own efficiency.
The government will reinvest the money raised through cap and trade in a transparent way back into projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help businesses remain competitive. Projects may include helping families consume less energy through more energy-efficient appliances or housing, building more public transit to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and helping factories and businesses reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Through cap and trade, Ontario is building on the progress it has already made, such as closing coal plants and continuing to invest in public transit.
Good environmental policy is good economic policy. Reducing the use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, will create jobs now and form a central pillar of prosperity in the coming years.
Fighting climate change while keeping industries competitive and strong is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“Climate change is a problem that is both critically important and urgent. It is causing extreme weather events, which can increase insurance costs, hurt wildlife, damage our environment and affect farming. Climate change needs to be fought around the globe, and it needs to be fought here in Canada and Ontario. The action we are taking today will help secure a healthier environment, a more competitive economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren.” — Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
“We face two critical challenges with climate change. We must reduce greenhouse gas pollution fast enough to avoid a crisis, and in so doing, seize the opportunities of a low-carbon economy. Today we are taking strong action to help us meet both of those challenges.” — Glen R. Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change