Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Bill 172: Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act

RNAO welcomes the introduction of legislation to move forward carbon pricing in Ontario. There is a broad consensus among economists that pricing carbon is an essential component of a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is also a broad consensus among climate scientists that climate change is happening, that it is primarily due to human emissions of GHGs, and that humans must substantially reduce their GHG emissions if they wish to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Bill 172 would enshrine in legislation Ontario's commitment to substantial reductions in GHG emissions below 1990 levels: 15 per cent by 2020; 37 per cent by 2037; and 80 per cent by 2050. It would also empower cabinet to make those targets more aggressive. And it would generate substantial amounts of revenue that could be used to fund complementary carbon reduction activities, such as enhanced transit and active transportation, and greater efficiency in heating and cooling buildings.

RNAO encourages this government to move forward with this bill, subject to a set of changes that would strengthen the impact of the legislation:

  1. set the cap at a level that would deliver the target GHG reductions on time or early
  2. omit in legislation to setting interim targets that will guide cap-setting policy
  3. base the 2017 cap on 2015 emissions, so that emissions don't rise between those two years
  4. limit the use of offsets and ensure they are real, additional, verifiable, validated, enforceable and permanent
  5. only link to other cap-and-trade markets when that maintains Ontario standards, and don't count out-of-province permit purchases towards Ontario targets
  6. do not distribute free allowances, and if this happens in the first compliance period, ensure a clear and reasonable phase-out timeline and ensure that any free allowances are targeted, transparent and temporary
  7. to level the playing field for Ontario firms, pursue all options for border carbon adjustments
  8. to maximize the effectiveness of the fund and to sustain political support for the GHG reduction effort, manage the revenue in a very transparent fashion with strong public oversight
  9. ensure that indigenous communities are treated as full partners in implementation of the cap-and-trade program
  10. do not fund nuclear power projects with revenues from the cap-and-trade program

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students in all settings and roles across Ontario. We are the strong and credible voice leading the nursing profession to influence and promote healthy public policy. RNAO's dual mandate is to speak out on nursing and health issues, and that includes environmental determinants of health. We are pleased to offer our submission on Bill 172 to the Standing Committee on General Government and appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback.

Carbon pricing is the most important step in the government's program to meet Ontario's GHG reduction targets. RNAO welcomes this very significant measure, which is being implemented in a timely fashion. It will send the appropriate signal to carbon users, and it will help to fund the complementary activities necessary to meet or exceed the targets. It will also help to assist those most adversely affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy. We emphasize the urgency of great ambition, as the trend in emissions is alarming and the health consequences of failure are unimaginably dire. Ontario has the ability and obligation to lead. Accordingly, we implore the government to go beyond its current commitments, and adopt RNAO's recommendations.

Get the full submission with references below

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