Ontario Climate Plan: A $7 billion climate plan will bring sweeping changes to Ontario, tipping the scales away from fossil fuel and towards clean, renewable sources of energy. The plan, unveiled today by an exclusive in The Globe And Mail, would fundamentally change how Ontarians consume and create energy on a day-to-day basis.
“We are on the cusp of a once-in-a-lifetime transformation. It’s a transformation of how we look at our planet and the impact we have on it. It’s a transformation that will forever change how we live, work, play and move.” – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (written and signed preamble to Climate Plan)
The goals of the climate plan include completely phasing out traditional oil and gas heating systems to the point where, by 2030, no new buildings would be built with fossil fuel heating systems. A second key target would see electric cars account for 12% of all new car sales by 2025. Home heating systems and transport are two of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in Canada, and have already been targeted in the climate plans of other Canadian cities and provinces. However, the Ontario climate plan, with about 80 policies grouped into 32 different ‘actions’ (each with its own budget and estimated emission cuts) would go far beyond anything Canada has seen before.
Ontario Climate Plan: The Details
The plan, which is some 57 pages long, includes too many points to list here. Some key highlights include the following;
- $3.8 billion for grants, subsidies and rebates to help transition homeowners and businesses from oil and gas heating to renewable energy heating systems.
- The creation of a new Green Bank, which would administer and oversee the financing of these grant, as well as the financing of other projects.
- $1.2 billion to help factories and industrial businesses upgrade their hardware to greener, more energy efficient models.
- $375 million for clean tech research and development.
- $275 million for an electric vehicle incentive program, aiming to put 1.7 million electric cars on Canadian roads by 2024. This is coupled with new carbon-fuel standards which would require gasoline and diesel powered vehicles to cut life-cycle carbon emissions by 5%.
- $200 million for cycling infrastructure.
While the plan is impressive for it’s comprehensiveness, The Globe and Mail and other analysts have already focused on the transition from fossil fuel heating systems as the beating heart of the plan. Natural gas currently accounts for over 75% of heating systems in Ontario, meaning that most Ontarians will feel the effects of the plan in their own homes. Technological advancements in renewable energy heating systems have made the replacement of oil and gas cost-effective, and the move should dramatically reduce the carbon emissions of every Ontario home. The climate plan is set for a final review by government ministers before official publication in June.