March 26, 2015

Saving $34 billion while pricing carbon

With scientists warning that we have already triggered a climate change avalanche that is only building up speed, the Ontario Government’s commitment to develop a climate plan with teeth has come not a moment too soon.

The biggest emissions reduction lever in the government’s proposed approach is putting a price on carbon. Not surprisingly, we are already hearing business groups and right wing think tanks calling pricing pollution a job and economy killer.

But there is actually a simple way for the government to completely offset any increased costs created by pricing carbon: maximize our energy efficiency and don’t waste billions of dollars on re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.By allowing our electric and natural gas utilities to pursue all cost-effective conservation measures and by importing low-cost water power from Quebec instead of re-building Darlington, we can save Ontario businesses and consumers $34 billion on energy costs over the next 20 years . For more information, please read our new report: Achieving our climate goals while lowering our energy bills.

Of course, these measures will also help us to lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Natural gas use is the second largest source of GHG emissions in Ontario, so anything we can do to ensure our homes and businesses use less gas while maintaining comfort and improving productivity will be good for both our climate and our economy. And not having to fire up gas plants for 15-20 years to provide replacement power during the costly re-building of our aging reactors will also deliver emission reductions when we need them most – today.

Please tell the government that you support its plan to introduce carbon pricing as a key element in building a high efficiency, low carbon economy. And point out the benefits of maximizing our energy conservation efforts and importing low-cost water power from Quebec. You can send an official response to the government’s Climate Change Discussion paper here.

Thank you for contributing to the climate conversation. Please pass this onto a friend.

Angela Bischoff