Ontario not on track to achieve 2030 emissions reductions targets: auditor

Ontario not on track to achieve 2030 emissions reductions targets: auditor

TORONTO — Ontario is unlikely to meet its 2030 emissions target under its current climate change plan — and Premier Doug Ford’s government knows it, the province’s auditor general said Wednesday in her annual report.

Bonnie Lysyk found a number of issues with the government’s ”Made in Ontario” climate plan, which she said underestimated the starting point for emissions by including several green programs that were actually cancelled by the Progressive Conservatives after they came to power last year.

Some reductions in the plan were double-counted or overstated, while others weren’t backed up by policies to achieve those targets, she said.

“Our audit concluded that the emission-reduction estimates in the plan are not based on sound evidence or sufficient detail,” the report said. “In its current early state, the plan is not likely to achieve its proposed emission-reduction target.”

Environment Minister Jeff Yurek maintained Wednesday that emissions-reductions targets will be met.

“We have a plan, the auditor general didn’t say it was terrible,” he said. “She said it needs to be tightened up. We totally agree with that. It was an ambitious plan we ran right out of the gates with.”

The plan is an evolving one, Yurek said, and going forward the government will do better to ensure its modelling is correct.

“It’s always been a draft plan,” he said. “If it was misrepresented on the website as the environment plan I think that’s a matter of semantics.”

The province would have to reduce emissions by 17.6 megatonnes by 2030 to align with Canada’s target under the Paris Agreement of reducing emissions by 30 per cent by that year from 2005 levels.

But, the auditor found, the government’s plan will only reduce emissions by between 6.3 and 13 megatonnes.

The government’s own analysis shows that the current initiatives in the climate change plan will only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10.9 megatonnes, the report said.

Ontario’s plan estimates emissions reductions based on three scenarios: business as usual with no new climate policies, the current climate change plan, and if additional or enhanced policies are pursued.

It is the additional policy scenario that eyes a 17.6-megatonne reduction, Lysyk said, with the current plan pegged at 10.9 megatonnes. But the plan released to the public merged the expected reductions from those two scenarios, with the document declaring the 2030 target “achievable,” Lysyk wrote.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she has no confidence this government is serious about fighting climate change.

“I think that there’s no doubt that this government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Ontario and it’s shameful,” she said. “We have a serious climate emergency in front of us. We need a government that’s serious about setting stringent targets…. This government has shown that’s not what they’re interested in.”

The government’s starting point of 160.9 megatonnes of emissions in 2030 if no further action is taken was too low, the auditor found, because it took into account programs that were cancelled by the Tories, such as renewable energy contracts, electricity conservation programs, and the cap-and-trade system implemented by the previous Liberal government.

The ministry estimated in its plan that 2.6 megatonnes in reductions would come from an increased uptake of low-carbon vehicles, assuming 1.3 million electric vehicles will be on the road in 2030.

That number would be a 3,000 per cent increase from the current number of electric vehicles on Ontario’s roads, and would come despite the government cancelling rebates for buying those cars and installing charging stations.

“The ministry was unable to provide details of any planned provincial initiatives that could increase the uptake of electric vehicles to 1.3 million and achieve the greenhouse gas reductions forecasted for this area,” Lysyk wrote in the report.

The auditor general also noted that some decisions by other ministries are inconsistent with the province’s climate change goals, such as the provincial transit agency Metrolinx removing electric vehicle charging stations; dropping electric vehicle charging requirements for workplaces and new homes; expanding natural gas infrastructure; and adopting a growth plan that allow development to expand, which would require people to drive more.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner called the government’s environment plan “made to fail.”

“The Ford government is not only wasting our tax dollars sabotaging the federal government’s climate plan, the premier’s policies are actually sabotaging his own so-called climate plan,” he said.

“They have the audacity to rely on electric vehicles to meet a big chunk of their emission targets while cutting all the programs that support electric vehicles.”

Sarah Buchanan with the advocacy group Environmental Defence said there is no credible evidence that the government’s plan will reduce emissions enough by the 2030 target.

“The current Ontario government isn’t just a dragging their heels when it comes to fighting climate change, they are blocking real action,” she said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2019.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman holds up freedom of information requests that turned up no records. The Opposition requested back-to-school re-entry plan correspondence between Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and school boards, teachers and the media. Photo via Facebook live
NDP renews calls for Alberta gov’t to scrap K-6 draft curriculum

The NDP is once again calling on the Alberta Government to get… Continue reading

Earlier this week Alberta Health Services warned that Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department would be temporarily without physician coverage from May 12, at 6 p.m., to May 13, at 7 a.m. (Photo contributed by the Town of Rocky Mountain House)
Doctors needed in Rocky Mountain House

Emergency department temporarily closed due to doctor shortage

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

A week after a large anti-restriction protest at The Whistle Stop Cafe… Continue reading

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor (81) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as TJ Brodie (78) defends during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, May 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Atletico Ottawa defender Vashon Neufville controls the ball during Atletico Ottawa’s first team practice of their inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League in Ottawa, Wednesday June 3, 2020. The Canadian Premier League plans to kick off its third season mid-June to early July in one location without fans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Wattie
Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) deflects a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, celebrates a goal with teammates during third period NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens, in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 5, 2021. Brown will lead a young Canadian squad into the world hockey championship in Riga, Latvia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2018, file photo, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jayna Hefford shakes hands with people associated with the hall before a hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils in Toronto. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association is forging ahead in its bid to establish an economically sustainable professional league in North America with or — for now — without the NHL’s full financial backing. In response to Sportsnet.ca reporting the NHL was not in a position to operate a women’s league for the foreseeable future, PWHPA executive Jayna Hefford wrote in an email to The Associated Press late Thursday that her group has begun developing what she called “a parallel path for a future that doesn’t rely on NHL support.” (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

Supporters dance during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror, Alta., on Saturday, May 8, 2021. RCMP say they have ticketed four people after the rally that was attended by hundreds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Most Read