Ontario introduced new legislation today to ensure that proceeds from the province’s cap and trade system are transparently reinvested into green projects and actions that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
The legislation also includes a more controversial proposal (apparently motivated by a concern about the potential impact of cap and trade on Ontario’s competitivity) to authorize transitional allowances (e.g. free credits) to large industrial emitters. Those allowances will be phased out over a period of time.
Under the proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act, all proceeds from Ontario’s cap and trade program will be deposited into a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, which will only fund projects and initiatives aimed at reducing emissions.
To ensure accountability to the public, the Act will also:
- Require an annual report on funds flowing in and out of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, as well as a description of supported initiatives
- Enshrine the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets in law and require government to develop a climate change action plan detailing how the province plans to meet those targets at least every five years
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