Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper: Sustainability CoLab’s joint submission
By Jon-Erik Lappano, Network & Operations Manager
When Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) first released its 2015 Climate Change Discussion Paper in February, we wanted our submission to reflect the work already underway to build Ontario’s low-carbon economy.
With CoLab’s Network as a focal point, our submission spoke to the progress made to set tangible and ambitious targets for carbon emission reductions and to boost a cleaner, more sustainable economy. With the unanimous endorsement of all seven Network Members, we were able to submit a collective response spanning the whole province – including Sudbury, Niagara, Waterloo, York, Durham, Kingston, and Ottawa regions.
When it comes down to it, we have no doubt it’s possible to change business as usual to achieve a community’s sustainability goals. Through our Network we have businesses demonstrating readiness for the transition to a low-carbon economy in communities across Ontario. The nearly 100 businesses and organizations in our Network’s networks that have either set carbon-reduction targets, or stated their intention to do so, are a signal that the low carbon economy is not only worthy of pursuit but also squarely within reach. As such, a provincial carbon pricing policy is needed to accelerate the progress towards such goals.
Colab’s submission to the MOECC advocated four main points:
- Looking at the progress underway in communities across Ontario to build the low-carbon economy
- Demonstrating a readiness for ambitious policy on climate change and pricing carbon
- Issuing a statement that carbon pricing policy enacted by the province will accelerate progress underway
- Recommending that Ontario should demonstrate their commitment to the low carbon economy by pricing carbon and:
- Increasing funding to boost the capacity of community based networks, programs and initiatives facilitating target based sustainability programs for businesses and helping ensure targets are met
- Developing communications and outreach to educate businesses and organizations about programs and networks that offer guidance and support to help reduce carbon emissions, all while increasing cost savings and maintaining a healthy bottom line.
On Monday, April 13, the province announced a cap-and-trade system that will price carbon and incentivise businesses to take action on reducing their emissions. While this is one step in the right direction, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on supporting and advocating Networks like CoLab’s that support businesses in setting meaningful carbon reduction targets and achieving them. By doing so, we not only set the stage for the low-carbon economy, but can choreograph steps towards a more sustainable future.
To continue the dialogue and hear from Canada’s leading voices on the low carbon economy, be sure to register for CoLab Connects 2015, an evening to celebrate the progress of CoLab’s Network and spark conversation on how to accelerate a cleaner economy in Ontario.