Ontario is currently developing a climate strategy. The centrepiece of that strategy, the cap-and-trade program, has received a great deal of attention, and for good reason. It’s critical that the program is well designed.  But cap-and-trade alone won’t be enough for Ontario to meet its carbon emission reduction targets.

In California, just 16 per cent of carbon pollution reductions will come from its cap-and-trade program. Complementary actions, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, low-carbon fuel standards, electric vehicles, public transit, and smart growth and land-use planning are needed to achieve the state’s climate targets. To meet its 2020 and 2030 provincial targets, Ontario will need to do the same.

How do you develop workable, practical recommendations for complementary actions in Ontario’s climate strategy? How do you make sure they will cut carbon pollution, improve health and social outcomes, and create jobs and business opportunities? Most importantly, how do you ensure they will gain support from a diverse cross-section of Ontarians?

You convene a gathering like the Ontario Climate Change Lab: Solutions for Ontario’s Climate Challenge.

This summer, in the lead-up to the Climate Summit of the Americas, the Clean Economy Alliance brought together businesses, industry associations, labour unions, agricultural groups, health charities, environmental organizations, First Nations, academics and policymakers to discuss and provide input into Ontario’s climate change strategy. Held at Evergreen Brickworks, the Ontario Climate Change Lab was a daylong workshop that developed recommendations for complementary policies that could move Ontario toward a low-carbon, clean economy.

Today the Alliance released a report summarizing the discussion and recommendations from the Ontario Climate Change Lab. Check out the report’s executive summary, which lists the top recommendations

The Ontario Climate Change Lab featured facilitated panel discussions with subject-matter experts in each of the economic sectors responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario: electricity generation, transportation and land use, and emissions from buildings and industry. The workshops also looked at a number of cross-cutting themes that need to be addressed in order for the climate strategy to be successful: fostering clean tech and innovation, the role of cities and municipalities, building capacity for climate action, and the health impacts of climate change.

Each panelist delivered short presentations that offered three recommendations for Ontario’s climate strategy. Following a moderated discussion and audience participation, workshop participants voted for the one recommendation they thought most important for inclusion in the strategy. The Clean Economy Alliance’s report released today includes the recommendations as well as illustrations from graphic facilitators who recorded the workshops visually.

This fall the Ontario government will release a draft of its climate strategy. The Ontario Climate Change Lab  report is intended to inform government decision-makers. But it’s also a useful tool for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of some of the key strategies that can be employed in Ontario to reduce carbon pollution and create a cleaner economy.

The Clean Economy Alliance urges the Ontario government to pay close attention to the report’s recommendations. The diversity of the stakeholders and the open and participatory process yielded high quality results that will help Ontario in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases while building an inclusive, competitive, and clean economy.

Ontarians support climate action. And they have good ideas about how the province can reduce its emissions in a way that cleans our air, creates jobs and business opportunities, and grows the economy. The Ontario Climate Change Lab developed solutions to Ontario’s climate challenge that can be supported by industries, farmers, health advocates, First Nations, unions, and environmentalists alike.

Ontario can’t let this opportunity go to waste. Let’s make sure we make a climate strategy that works for everyone.

Make your voice heard! Tell Ontario to support climate action and a clean economy.

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