In 2007, Ontario introduced Go Green: Ontario's Action Plan on Climate Change (pdf)
According to the 2007 Plan:
- Together, we will reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2014 – a reduction of 61 megatonnes relative to business-as-usual.
- By 2020 Ontario will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 per cent below 1990 levels – a reduction of 99 megatonnes relative to business-as-usual.
- By 2050 we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels.
These reduction targets won’t be easy to achieve, but they are achievable – and they’re worth it. These targets put Ontario among the leaders in addressing climate change. No place in Canada is committed to producing more real reductions than Ontario.
In 2016, Ontario issued a revised Climate Change Action Plan (pdf)
According to the 2016 Plan:
Ontario’s reduction targets are ambitious yet achievable, in line with actions taken by other provinces and states and in line with global objectives. Ontario is doing its part with reductions from 1990 emissions levels of 15 per cent in 2020, 37 per cent in 2030 and 80 per cent in 2050. Based on greenhouse gas reporting data, Ontario has met its 2014 target of six per cent below 1990 levels. The province achieved this goal by taking bold steps, including closing all of Ontario's coal-fired electricity generating stations. This remains one of the single largest greenhouse gas reduction actions implemented to date in North America.
Can you spot the difference?
The only difference between these two plans is the interim target for 2030. Otherwise they are the same.
What we suggest
Ontario's target reductions need to be revised to accommodate the global carbon budget which the IPCC documented in their 2014 report. According to the report, if we want to have a 66% chance of keeping global temperatures from rising much over 1.5 degrees C, Ontario's fair share (based on our population) of the global carbon budget is approximately 1,896 megatons of CO2 (as of 2011). If Ontario's annual emissions remain constant at approximately 170 megatons of CO2 that will give us just over six years until we use up our budget. Clearly we can't do that, so we need to reduce our emissions each year. Therefore we recommend the following:
the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan should be revised to meet this more ambitious schedule of emission reductions (below 1990 levels):
- 23 per cent by 2020
- 62 per cent by 2025
- 100 per cent by 2030
The differences in the carbon budgets
Assuming to our estimates, Ontario's remaining carbon budget is 730 Mt CO2, whereas the 2017 plan budget leaves 3,140 Mt CO2. This is over four times the amount of emissions than is required for a likely chance of keeping the increase in global temperatures to less than 1.6 degrees C. According to the IPCC budgets, this will give us a likely chance of keeping the increase to 2 degrees C.