Ontario's Green Party to propose bill that would hold province accountable on climate pollution
Bill would commit government to cutting Ontario's climate pollution in half by 2030
Ontario's Green Party plans to introduce a private member's bill this week that would compel the provincial government to take urgent action on climate pollution.
The bill, titled the Carbon Budget Accountability Act, would enact a "Zero Carbon Law" that sets what the Green Party calls a "Fair Share Carbon Budget" and it would commit the government to cutting Ontario's climate pollution in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2045.
Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, said climate change is the biggest threat facing the province and the proposed legislation would require Premier Doug Ford and Environment Minister David Piccini to ensure the province's total net emissions of greenhouse gases do not exceed the carbon budget.
"Our children need us to do better," Schreiner told reporters at Queen's Park on Monday. "And we must act now. The science and evidence is clear. We need to rapidly and drastically reduce climate pollution to avoid climate disaster."
Schreiner said the bill is designed to hold the government accountable by making it present a carbon budget each year.
"We need urgent climate action. And that means legislating bold climate policy."
Schreiner said the climate situation is getting more severe each day. Heat waves are becoming more deadly, wildfires more intense, floods more frequent, extreme storms more costly.
"Every day of inaction is a missed opportunity to invest the jobs and opportunities that exist in the green economy," he said.
Ontario not reducing climate pollution, party says
Dianne Saxe, deputy leader of the Green Party of Ontario and former environmental commissioner of the province, said most of the developed world is reducing its climate pollution, but Ontario is polluting about as much it did in 2014 and more than it did in 2017.
The province is headed toward "climate chaos," she added.
"This is craziness," she said. "It's harming nature, it's harming our health, and it's harming our future."
Saxe said a "Fair Share Carbon Budget" would have to be based on science and the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Half measures will not work at this point, she said.
"We can't get there in dribs and drabs anymore," she said.
If other political parties are serious about fighting climate pollution, they will support the bill, Saxe said.
Schreiner added: "The bottom line is, we have to be honest with Ontarians about what it's going to take for Ontario to do its fair share as outlined by the IPCC."
The bill, which is expected to be debated on Thursday, comes days before the United Nations COP-26 climate talks begin in Scotland.