Ontario passes landmark climate change legislation

Ontario on Wednesday passed landmark climate change legislation that lays a foundation for the province to join the biggest carbon market in North America and ensures that the province is accountable for responsibly and transparently investing proceeds from the cap and trade program into actions that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, create jobs and help people and businesses shift to a low-carbon economy.

Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said: “Passing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act marks the start of the next chapter in Ontario’s transformation to an innovative and prosperous low-carbon economy — one that will benefit households, businesses, industry and communities across the province. This legislation is about enshrining in law our resolve and action to protect and strengthen our environment for generations to come.”

Under the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act, money raised from Ontario’s cap and trade program will be deposited into a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account. The account will invest every dollar in green projects and initiatives that reduce emissions.

Following extensive consultation with industry and other groups, the legislation was strengthened by now requiring enhanced accountability and public reporting on the province’s upcoming Climate Change Action Plan and investment of cap and trade proceeds.

Ontario will post its final cap and trade regulation upon royal assent of the legislation. The regulation covers detailed rules and obligations for businesses participating in the program. The final design was also informed by extensive consultation with businesses, industry, the public, environmental organizations and Indigenous communities.

Climate change is not a distant threat – it is already costing the people of Ontario. It has damaged our environment, caused extreme weather like floods and droughts, and hurt our ability to grow food in some regions. Over the near term, climate change will increase the cost of food and insurance rates, harm wildlife and nature, and eventually make the world inhospitable for our children and grandchildren. – CINEWS

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