The Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act
The proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act would, if passed:
- Formally direct all cap and trade auction proceeds to a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account that would fund green projects to reduce emissions
- Ensure transparency by requiring an annual public report on funds flowing in and out of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, including a description of funded initiatives and their alignment with climate change action plans
- Provide a strong legal foundation for a cap and trade program that would achieve greenhouse gas reductions across the economy
- Enshrine in law Ontario's greenhouse gas reduction targets of 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050
- Provide a framework for reviewing and increasing targets, as well as establishing additional interim targets
- Allow for transitional allowances to large industrial emitters which would be phased out over a period of time
- Require the government to prepare and implement a climate change action plan for achieving these targets, with progress reports and a review of the plan at least every five years
The proposed act also sets out content to be included in the action plan, including:
- Timetables for implementing each action
- Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions reductions each action will achieve
- An assessment of the cost per tonne of reductions
- The amount of funding to be drawn from proceeds generated by the cap and trade program
- Types of initiatives that may be funded from the proceeds of the cap and trade program, with direct or indirect reduction of greenhouse gases being a minimum requirement. Eligible initiatives include those relating to energy use, land use and buildings, infrastructure, transportation, industry, agriculture and forestry, waste management, education and training, and research and innovation.
The proposed act also includes strong compliance and enforcement measures for the province's cap and trade program, and would facilitate linking Ontario's program with other jurisdiction's programs, including Quebec and California.