Ontario is taking a leading role in Canada and internationally in the fight against climate change. With the phase-out of coal-fired power generation, Ontario is the first province or state in North America to stop burning coal to produce electricity, and through the deployment of renewable energy, Ontario succeeded in meeting its initial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target of 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2014.
Now joining Quebec and California in implementing a cap and trade program and introducing innovative programs such as TargetGHG, Ontario is well positioned to meet its ambitious future GHG reduction targets.
The Climate Change Action Plan outlines a multilateral approach to climate change mitigation in Ontario to reduce emissions across sectors now and in the future. As part of this Action Plan, Ontario has set GHG reduction targets of 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. To meet these targets, Ontario has launched a range of bold initiatives to facilitate the rapid and smooth transition to a low-carbon economy in Ontario.
In 2015, Ontario established the Ontario Green Investment Fund, committing $325 million for projects that will fight climate change, grow the economy and create jobs. Funded through Ontario’s Green Investment Fund, the Solutions 2030 Challenge is just one component of Ontario’s Action Plan to drive emissions reduction in Ontario, but it plays an important role. By focusing bright minds and the development of promising innovation on challenges that must be overcome to achieve future emissions targets, Solutions 2030 will help ensure that industry and technology are ready to meet future targets.
Ontario has a long industrial history, with sectors ranging from mining and automobile manufacturing to the production of steel, cement and petrochemicals. It is important that these industries remain globally competitive to preserve and generate jobs while maintaining the base of the supply chain for Ontario’s manufacturing sector. Industrial facilities participating in Ontario’s cap and trade program reported emissions of 45 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2eq) in 2014 equivalent to approximately 27 per cent of the total provincial emissions that year.
These industries face significant challenges in decarbonizing, as the generation of GHG is often a by-product of their core production processes. Incremental efficiency improvements in these industries are essential to reduce GHG today. However, future reductions will require transformative technologies to ensure competitiveness in a low-carbon economy. The Solutions 2030 Challenge is searching for these transformational solutions for Ontario industry. Now is the time for industries with lengthy decision-making processes and legacy infrastructure to identify and begin working toward the solutions that will help shape quality of life for the next decade.