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Ontario Liberals promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions

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Chief Steven Del Duca acknowledged that the federal carbon tax would “go a long way” to achieving his goals.

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The Ontario Liberals on Tuesday promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tightening industry standards, banning new natural gas plants, offering rebates on electric vehicles and offering subsidies for green renovations.

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Their goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Leader Steven Del Duca acknowledged that the federal carbon tax would “go a long way” to achieving those goals — the Liberal plan shows more than half of those reductions come from federal initiatives — but said it was important that the province is also taking action.

“However great the challenge of the climate crisis, or the urgency, and it is enormous, we need all levels of government to actively engage and partner to make it happen,” he said. .

“What we’ve had over the past four years is a federal government that’s at the table and taking meaningful action and almost every municipality in Ontario is doing the same or trying to do the same.” Only one level of government is missing.

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Del Duca touted the provincial Liberal record of the party’s past 15 years in government, including closing coal-fired power plants, creating the Protected Greenbelt and introducing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But Del Duca said he would not reintroduce the cap and trade system because of the federal carbon tax that is now in place.

The NDP has also promised to halve emissions levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, but a New Democrat government would establish a new cap and trade system.

“We really have a solid plan and that’s something I’m very, very proud of,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Look, Steven Del Duca’s Liberals know they entered the Greenbelt about 17 times when they were in office, so I think he better reflect on his own past performance.”

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Former Liberal Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne said she approved 17 minor waivers out of more than 600 requests for adjustments.

The Liberals’ new environmental plan also includes a proposal, announced Monday, to cut public transit fares to $1 per trip across the province.

Del Duca promises unspecified enhanced requirements to industrial issuers, and to reinvest and match all proceeds in grants, tax credits and loan guarantees through a Green Jobs Fund to support clean technologies made in Ontario.

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The Liberals say they would inject $9 billion over four years into a clean economy plan, creating 25,000 new green jobs and the Green Jobs Fund.

The plan would also expand the Greenbelt and designate 30% of Ontario’s land as protected – up from 10% previously – and provide 100,000 grants of up to $3,000 each year to individuals and businesses for green renovations such as new windows, heat pumps and flooding. protection.

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In addition, the plan aims to move “as quickly as possible to a completely clean energy supply”, ban new natural gas power plants and eliminate connection fees for rooftop solar panels.

Liberals promise to introduce a new $250 million a year fund to help communities become climate-resilient, diverting and recycling 60% of waste from landfills by 2030 and 85% by 2050, and update the building code to require new buildings and renovations must meet energy efficiency and climate resilience standards by 2025.

The Liberals also promised to plant 800,000 trees over eight years, offer rebates of up to $8,000 for electric vehicles down to retail prices of $65,000 and $1,500 for equipment charging stations, and require all new passenger vehicles sold in Ontario to be zero-emissions by 2035. .

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