Auditor General Confirms That Cap-and-Trade Just Another Cash Grab That Will Not Reduce Emissions in Ontario
QUEEN’S PARK – The Auditor General (AG) today has confirmed what the Ontario PC Party has been saying all along: that the Liberal cap-and-trade scheme will do nothing to effectively reduce GHG emissions, while raking in billions of dollars off the backs of hard-working Ontarians, said PC Environment and Cap-and-Trade Critic Lisa Thompson.
“The Liberals have been failing for years to get their ducks in order on the environment file. The fact that the AG conducted three money-for-value audits and found the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to be performing sub-optimally in each of them is proof that the Liberals are more interested in raising money to pay for their waste and mismanagement, rather than finding economical solutions to protecting our environment and our economy,” said Thompson.
In her report, the AG identified that $1 billion had been earmarked for previously announced projects, confirming concerns from the Ontario PC Party and the Financial Accountability Officer that the Liberals will seek to balance the budget with cap-and-trade funds, rather than dedicate them to new projects designed to reduce emissions.
“The Liberals are playing shell games to cover years of their waste and mismanagement and it’s time they come clean with Ontarians,” said Thompson. “They need to immediately commit to ensuring the money raised off this scheme goes towards reducing emissions and costs for Ontario businesses and families.”
The AG’s report identified that cap-and-trade will only achieve 3.8 megatonnes (Mt) of emissions reductions, or just 20 per cent of the necessary 18.7 Mt they need to meet their 2020 targets. As a result, the government will attempt to count emissions reductions in California and Quebec to account for the additional 80 per cent of reductions they will need.
She also raised concerns that beyond the $8 billion the Liberals plan to raise, Ontario businesses will be expected to purchase $466 million worth of allowances from Quebec and California emitters between 2017 and 2020, which will do nothing to contribute to reductions in Ontario. This additional expenditure is expected to rise to $2.2 billion by 2030.
In a separate audit, the report also identified serious concerns with compliance and monitoring practices by the Ministry of Environment on environmental approvals, finding that 80 per cent of emitters have never been inspected for compliance, and that the ministry is unsure of how many of more than 200,000 emitters are still operating, relying on complaints from the public to identify health and environment risks.
The Auditor General’s Annual Report can be found at the following link: http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arbyyear/ar2016.html#volume1