Entries in PPeterborough Chamber of Commerce (1)

Wednesday
Jun012016

Going green takes strategy, cooperation and balance 

We are in the midst of learning about the Government of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. What we know so far can be found in the Climate Change Strategy, this includes a number of overarching ideas such as:

 

  • Meeting the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Cultivating a prosperous low-carbon economy
  • Releasing a detailed five-year action plan with specific commitments to meet the 2020 emissions reduction target, and establish the framework necessary to meet targets for 2030 and 2050. Actions will be implemented after further consultation, where appropriate, and will focus on all areas of the economy, including transportation, buildings, industry, energy, waste, agriculture, forestry, and government. 
  • Introducing a Cap and Trade program to limit greenhouse gas pollution
  • Investing in clean technology 
  • Fostering innovation that supports a low-carbon economy
  • Building green infrastructure

 

Thinking green and climate change isn’t just happening at the provincial level.  Through Sustainable Peterborough’s Climate Change Action Plan program the city, county, townships and First Nations Communities are preparing their own plans to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.  This week Peterborough City Council discussed their strategic priorities which include four areas of focus, including sustainability.  

Peterborough is in the enviable position of embarking on the Trent Research and Innovation Park project at the right time with the government looking to invest in clean tech companies and innovations.  

While the business community recognizes the need to address climate change, there are concerns about the impact on the economy.  In a letter dated May 12, 2016, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) asked the Minister of 

Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray for a one year delay in the Cap and Trade program to 2018 and for clarity on four main issues:   

 

  1. What will be the economic impact of the cap and trade system?
    The Ontario government has since released an economic analysis from EnviroEconomics that states the Cap and Trade impact on the provincial GDP in 2020 would be equivalent to a drop in growth of 0.03%.
  2. How will Cap and Trade revenue be invested and administered?
    $1.9 billion in revenues is projected to come to the province through the program and a good portion of that should be designated to helping businesses transition.
  3. How, and when, will offsets be available?
  4. What will the Cap and Trade system look like after 2020? 

 

Measures around climate change are not happening in isolation from other measures that will increase the cost of doing business for businesses.  So, when we learn the details of the Climate Change Action Plan from the government, recognizing the need to help businesses transition is the key to success. 

Cap and Trade regulation comes into effect July 1, 2016 with reporting not required until January 1, 2017.