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Ontario's Climate Plan "a hit"

Monday, June 18th 2007 5:49:24pm

Ontario's Climate Plan "a hit"

Everything hinges on what happens next!

Ontario's communities and community groups will be key players in Ontario's climate plan, says Conservation Council of Ontario

(Toronto, June 18, 2007)  It's the bottom of the ninth for climate change in Ontario, and the home side is down a few runs.  Things don't look good.

Today at bat was Premier McGuinty with Ontario's Climate Plan.  How did he do?

Chris Winter, Conservation Council of Ontario Executive Director, says the plan was definitely a hit:  "I'd call it a lead-off triple. It has rallied the players and given us hope that we can all deliver a few runs."

Specifically, the Premier has committed Ontario to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2014, and 15% below 1990 levels by 2020.  The 2014 target will be met by:

* Coal plant closures (50%);
* Transit investments and fuel and emission standards (15%);
* Municipal and residential conservation programs (15%); and
* New technology research and innovation (20%).

The Province has already announced a $20 million Municipal Eco Challenge Fund and a $17.5 billion transit initiative.  And more announcements are expected over the next week.

"Everything hinges on what happens next," says Winter.  "We have the targets, now we need the tools."

The Council wants to see funding that engages individuals, businesses, and community groups across Ontario, encouraging them to be active players in the climate change game.  In particular, the Council is looking for:

1.      Support for community conservation plans across Ontario;
2.      New funding for community-based outreach projects; and
3.      Fiscal incentives for the public to invest in energy conservation, renewable power and transportation alternatives.

"We need everyone in Ontario to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Winter.  "The Premier's plan is a good start, but it isn't enough--the whole team needs to step up to the plate."

The Council has released its own five-year Conservation Challenge, which is available on its website, www.weconserve.ca. The first challenge on the site is for half of all homes, businesses, communities, and municipalities in Ontario to have their own individual plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in place by 2009.

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CONTACT:        

Chris Winter, Conservation Council of Ontario Executive Director, 416-533-1635 ext 1, cell: 647-393-5000

The Conservation Council of Ontario is a provincial association of organizations and conservation leaders working to facilitate the transition to a conserver society and a conserver economy in Ontario. Visit www.weconserve.ca for more information.