Climate not-to-do list

In the wake of an auditor general’s report stating the provincial government’s climate plan isn’t based on “sound evidence,” lacks detail and is unlikely to meet its own emissions reduction targets, Ontario’s Minister of Environment Jeff Yurek’s first reaction was to hit the spin cycle.

Initially calling the report a “draft” that would “evolve” in effort to meet targets, the minister later basically conceded the Conservative government “has remained silent on the climate change initiative” and pledged they would be “listening to anyone who has an idea going forward.”

So in the spirit of cooperation that has been the hallmark of Premier Doug Ford’s time in office, here’s a few off the top of my head:

– don’t scrap a cap and trade deal that brought in $1.9 million a year while mitigating the impact of climate change;

– don’t spend $230 million scrapping active renewable energy projects, especially since you promised they would be cancelled without cost to taxpayers and you included the anticipated environmental benefits from those projects in your climate plan;

– don’t count on a massive switch to electric vehicles by 2030 while removing every incentive for consumers to switch or the private sector to provide charging infrastructure;

– don’t spend $30 million on court battles fighting the federal carbon tax, which only came into effect in Ontario because you scrapped cap and trade; and

– don’t spend money forcing private gas station operators to install “stickers” bearing misleading information on carbon tax costs (and no information on consumer rebates or benefits), especially if you can’t make them stick!

Of course, it’s too late to stop any of these counterproductive initiatives, as we’re already well down the road on all of them. Also, Yurek made clear any ideas the government would consider must be “conservative-based,” which means, in all likelihood, more lip service, less action.