Serious Concerns Remain Over Liberals’ Cap-and-Trade Scheme
QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government has left questions surrounding several critical aspects of its cap-and-trade scheme unanswered for far too long, and with the first compliance period approaching, they owe it to Ontarians to lay all the cards on the table, says PC Environment and Cap-and-Trade Critic Lisa Thompson.
In the Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2016 released today, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner (ECO) highlighted many of the concerns that the PC Party has continuously voiced since cap-and-trade was announced more than a year ago. Among these were concerns about the excessive dependence on allowances from California, and the significant transfer of Ontario funds south of the border that this will bring.
“The ECO today pointed out that Ontario is likely to be a net buyer of allowances from California, and is unsure when or if that would change,” said Thompson. “Further, given the current legal atmosphere in California and the legislative uncertainty about whether their program will continue to be delivered post-2020, we are concerned that any credits purchased south of the border will nullify the efforts Ontario industries will have made to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs).”
The ECO also identified that the continued lack of transparency on how emissions reductions will be accounted for could lead to double counting, and she raised serious concerns that the government has the capacity to siphon off auction proceeds for purposes beyond new GHG reductions as well.
“We’ve heard it from the Financial Accountability Officer when Bill 172 was being debated and we’re hearing it again today from the ECO; more transparency needs to be in place regarding the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account. Independent Officers of the Legislature should have the ability to perform their job and evaluate the competency of the government when handling public funds, especially given the current government’s abysmal track record,” concluded Thompson.
The Environmental Commissioner’s Greenhouse Gas Progress Report can be found at the following link: http://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/climate-change/2016/2016-Annual-GHG-Report-EN.pdf