Congratulations to Ellen Schwartzel, the Acting Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on her first report, issued yesterday. “Feeling the Heat: Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2015”, is the latest in the Commissioner’s annual reports on climate change.
The report concludes that the Ontario government will miss its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions if it doesn’t do much more to reduce emissions, especially from the transportation and building sectors.
Figure 1. Ontario greenhouse gas emission trends and targets (1990-2013):
Feeling the Heat singles out the transportation sector as the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario.
“The government can rightly point to its success in closing the coal-fired plants” says Schwartzel, “but we need a more ambitious suite of actions to get us to our 2020 target, focused especially on reducing emissions from cars and trucks. And each time a new high-rise tower goes up, we should be reminded that buildings account for the next biggest increase in megatonnes of CO2.” Schwartzel acknowledged the government recently announced a number of positive initiatives, especially a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions. But she says the cap-and-trade program will likely focus on large industrial emitters, and this will not be enough to fill the near-term gap.