Multi-stakeholder alliance releases sector-by-sector solutions to tackle climate change and build a clean economy in Ontario

Toronto, ON – Today the Clean Economy Alliance released a series of recommendations to inform Ontario’s climate change strategy and move Ontario toward a low-carbon, clean economy.

The recommendations were developed at the Ontario Climate Change Lab: Solutions for Ontario’s Climate Challenge. Held in the lead-up to the Climate Summit of the Americas, this daylong workshop brought together over 150 businesses, industry associations, labour unions, agricultural groups, health charities, environmental organizations, First Nations, academics and policymakers to discuss and provide input into Ontario’s climate change strategy.

The Ontario Climate Change Lab focused on the complementary actions needed to meet Ontario’s climate targets while improving public health, creating new jobs and business opportunities, and building a sustainable, inclusive clean economy.

“The centrepiece of Ontario’s climate change strategy, the cap-and-trade program, has received a great deal of attention. But it can’t do it all. In the fight against climate change, carbon pricing is necessary but insufficient. The Ontario Climate Change Lab and related report answer the question about what else should be in the strategy,” said Keith Brooks, Clean Economy Program Director, Environmental Defence.

The Climate Change Lab drew on the expertise of Ontarians and, through facilitated panel discussions, produced a series of actionable recommendations for the provincial government to include in its climate change strategy. The panels included: Decarbonisation of Ontario’s electricity sector; Reducing emissions from buildings; Transportation and Land Use; Business and Industry; The Role of Cities; Building Capacity for Climate Action; Clean Tech & Innovation; Health Impacts of Climate Change.

Each session concluded with participants voting for the one recommendation they thought most important for inclusion in the strategy. Recommendations that received the most votes from participants are included in this report, intended for government decision-makers as they draft Ontario’s climate change strategy.

“Ontarians support climate action. And they have good ideas about how the province can reduce its emissions in a way that cleans our air, creates jobs and business opportunities, and grows the economy. The Ontario Climate Change Lab developed solutions to Ontario’s climate challenge that can be supported by industries, farmers, health advocates, First Nations, unions, and environmentalists alike,” says Geoff Cape, CEO of Evergreen.

“A well designed cap-and-trade system that supports industry competitiveness is an essential part of the solution to a prosperous, low carbon future in Ontario. If Ontario is going to rise to its climate challenge, we need all hands on deck from every economic and social sector. The Ontario Climate Change Lab produced real, actionable solutions to reduce carbon pollution while developing buy-in from economic and social stakeholders. Only by all sectors working together will Ontario meet its climate change challenge,” says Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada.

“Ontario’s climate change strategy is an opportunity to create a lot of jobs and build things we want and need, like more public transit, more renewable energy, and more energy efficient industry,” says Ken Neumann, Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers. “The Ontario Climate Change Lab really reinforces our belief that what’s good for the environment is also good for industries, workers, and families.”

The Clean Economy Alliance and its members look forward to continuing to work with the provincial government to ensure Ontario develops a robust, effective climate change strategy.

Download the report here.
Download the executive summary.

About the CLEAN ECONOMY ALLIANCE (http://cleaneconomyalliance.ca/): The Clean Economy Alliance is a group of over 80 organizations representing a broad cross-section of Ontarians that have united to urge Ontario to show leadership in addressing the crucial issue of climate change. The alliance includes prominent Ontario businesses, industry associations, labour unions, agricultural organizations, health charities, and environmental groups.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 647-468-3641 (cell), tehlich@environmentaldefence.ca