Adding up Ontario’s climate change plan numbers: Parker Gallant
The cost of Ontario’s giant climate change plan is promised to be only $13 a month–but overspending is a Wynne government hallmark, says Parker Gallant
Despite the news about the Pan Am Games being over budget by $342 million, the media was swept up with the formal release of the 86-page climate change action plan ushered in by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray.
The initial leak of this document caused a stir based on the autocratic way it was seen to impose changes to the way Ontarians live, work and play. As a result, some of the initial proposals proved to be absent in the final presentation. This begs the question: was the leak of the document intentional?*
We were told the cost to households would be only $13.00 a month and the benefits would be a reduction of carbon emissions that would benefit our children and grandchildren. In an effort to assuage criticism, the rollbacks on the leaked document became a daily occurrence. This was reflected in a speech Tuesday night at the C. D. Howe directors’ dinner when Premier Wynne defended her government’s approach to climate change, insisting “cap and trade is the best way forward. It puts a price on pollution. Some costs will rise modestly. Other costs, like electricity, will not because Ontario’s electricity sector now emits almost no pollution.”
When the big event occurred on Wednesday morning at the Toronto Brickworks, the weather failed to cooperate and the Premier arrived in a gas-guzzling SUV. She also ended the press conference early because “everyone is freezing”! Perhaps “Mother Nature” was demonstrating her frustration?
Looking at the “Climate Change Action Plan” one finds a dazzling array of subsidies including: $14,000 towards the purchase of an electricity vehicle (EV), $1,000 for a charging station, a rebate to replace older cars, free electricity to charge your EV, money to replace your wood stove, pre-sale home energy audits, retrofits for apartments and social housing, money to install geothermal and heat pump systems for homes, rebates for people who build or own net-zero emission homes, money to offset the cost of climate change initiatives on residential and industrial electricity bills, money to help businesses switch to low-carbon technologies, money to increase walking and cycling, etc. etc.
Curiosity got the best of me so I added up the costs of the planned incentives/subsidies (per the release); they came to over $8 billion, which is at the high end of the estimates announced by Minister Murray. Knowing the ability of the Ontario Liberal government to exceed their major spending plans, we should all be concerned with the potential cost overruns (61% for the Pan Am Games, according to the Auditor General).
There is a caricature of utopia (seen through the eyes of the Ontario Liberal government) in 2050, depicting wind turbines, solar panels, green industry, sustainable agriculture, etc., surrounding Queens Park. In 2050, apparently, a river will run behind Queens Park — perhaps the glaciers melted?
Anyone reading this plan would think Finance Minister Sousa suddenly found the estimated $5.9 to $8.3 billion to provide these subsidies in his back pocket, and Premier Wynne and Minister Murray are simply handing it back to the taxpayers of the Province. Not true!
The annual cost to pay for these gifts will come from households who will, according to Minister Murray, pay $13.00 per month or $156.00 annually for all these benefits. Now, if Minister Murray does the math, the 4.9 million households in the province will have to cough up $760 million (via an additional tax on gasoline and natural gas heating) leaving a very large shortfall. One assumes the additional money will come from the suggested “cap and trade” revenue the government says will generate $1.8 to $1.9 billion paid by Ontario’s remaining carbon spewing industries.
Incidentally, that is what California planned too, but they have just experienced a severe failure in an auction of carbon credits — it generated only 10% of the funds anticipated.
Why should Ontario expect to do better?
© Parker Gallant
June 10, 2016
NB: The “Document Properties” indicate the PDF was created 6/8/2016 9.06:02AM and modified on 6/8/2016 9.06:47AM. Simply amazing!
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.