Ontario government’s plan to slash emissions falls short on public trust, says researcher

The New Democratic Party of Ontario says the Ford government has missed its mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, having failed to set a new target for 2020. The NDP says its new plan would achieve 72 percent reduction in GHG emissions — significantly better than the premier’s plan to reach 53 percent reduction by 2025. It also emphasized that Ontario’s target in 2020 was achievable given that the government cut the standard for greenhouse gas emissions, while the same standard would have been required for success in 2025. The Ontario government did set out a greenhouse gas reduction target, but the document with which it would develop the 2020 target did not provide an assurance to consumers that they would see clear results, despite a guarantee to consumers on the recently passed legislation governing government programs.

Analysis of the Ford administration’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment has largely been greeted with skepticism from the public. A poll by Forum Research found that 56 percent of Ontarians believe that the Ford government has misled them about their clean-air plan. Polls by Angus Reid Associates found that 59 percent of Ontarians have distrust for the Ford government on the environment. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions is easy enough, one might say, given the potential reductions in transportation and other infrastructure. But setting targets or devising a well-defined plan seems to have fallen to a few committees, and the broad objectives that many had hoped Ford’s Progressive Conservatives would have laid out are not there. Whether the war on climate change has been won or not is not the point. These policies were supposed to improve our daily lives, especially those of the poor and marginalized. The Ford government is falling short.

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