The government of Ontario has once again failed to meet its pledges on climate change. If other provinces don’t follow the lead of the greenest government in the country, Ontario could be in peril.
After all, the province is the most populous, and has the most to lose from a changing climate. As the world continues to embrace renewable energy sources, Ontario can and should lead the way. If Ontario is only reaping the benefits from the rest of the country, it will be on its own when climate change hits home.
It’s clear that Ford’s government sees no need to address climate change. They have reduced the fund that supported the Greenbelt and are cutting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, the premier will need help from other provinces if he’s to prevent the worst of climate change.
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“Canadians are a resilient people,” Environment Minister Rod Phillips told Canada’s Globe and Mail when asked about the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. “We will continue to work in collaboration across the country to ensure that clean energy is built for a strong economy.”
Ontario’s Ford government has its work cut out for it if it’s to meet Canada’s commitment to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and 35% by 2050. With oil-fired power plants set to close in 2020, I believe the province is unlikely to meet its self-proclaimed goals.
This isn’t the first time the Ford government has let down Canadians. Earlier this year, Ontario shuttered two major mines that were the source of the largest single contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the province. The closure will add about 33 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year to Canada’s total, and 4.6 million tonnes in Ontario alone. There is also a petition circulating to recall Scott Moe, the Saskatchewan premier, who has failed to do enough to fight climate change.
The province’s previous Liberal government had already committed to address climate change. One year before the change of government, former Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne committed to phase out fossil fuel production in the province. She did that with the full support of his Liberal party. With the province’s historic crowning of climate change as a priority, the mayor of Ontario’s biggest city, John Tory, has called for Ontario to follow suit and transition to 100% renewable energy. Instead, Ford has shown no leadership in his home province on climate change.
Ford was elected on the promise to make the province greener. How he has pursued that promise is not clear to many. While the premier has often attacked his opponent by attacking jobs in Ontario, the environment is not one of his campaign promises. Now he looks to the rest of Canada to help him in his new role. If that happens, Ford will have failed his country and future generations.