Climate Action Network welcomes creation of Ontario Climate Change Secretariat

(Ottawa) Climate Action Network Canada-Réseau action climat Canada, a coalition of more than 50 organizations from across the country, commends Premier McGuinty’s decision to establish a Climate Change Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, headed by an Associate Deputy Minister to the Premier.

“Experience has shown that only a strong central body reporting directly to the Premier can effectively implement the cross-cutting actions throughout government needed to produce significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said David Coon, Chair of Climate Action Network Canada.

“This is further evidence that Ontario is serious about reducing its emissions, and that the provinces are stepping up to the plate to fill the vacuum left by federal government inaction,” said Mark Lutes from the David Suzuki Foundation. “It is a necessary first step for Ontario to meet its own climate targets.”

In 2007 Ontario established targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2014, 15% below 1990 by 2020 and 80% below 1990 by 2050, and prepared a preliminary plan for achieving those reductions, called Go Green Ontario.

“The Go Green plan was a useful exercise, but it lacks clear policies or accountability,” said Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute.  “Climate issues are cross-sectoral, and all levels of the Ontario government, including those with policies that oppose effective climate action, need to be accountable to meeting the province’s climate targets.”

“The most urgent task for the new Climate Secretariat is to determine precisely how Ontario will regulate and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada. “This could be achieved via a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, or a combination of the two as is being done in British Columbia.”