TORONTO – Ontario’s premier is joining a growing number of politicians condemning Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement.
Kathleen Wynne says the U.S. president’s rejection of the 190-country agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is appalling and shows he is abandoning his responsibility to fight the biggest threat currently confronting the world.
Wynne’s criticism on Friday comes after the federal environment minister called Trump’s decision disappointing and suggested the president was costing the U.S. a key opportunity to profit from the inevitable growth of clean-tech initiatives around the globe.
Wynne says co-operation between sub-national governments has become even more important after Trump’s announcement, and she pledged to continue to work with other leaders, particularly U.S. governors, to combat climate change.
Ontario’s Liberal government launched a cap-and-trade program this year, which puts caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit and allows polluters to buy allowances at auction or from other companies that come in under their limits.
Ontario is expected to join the Quebec-California carbon market next year.
“It’s really appalling to me that the president of the United States would abdicate his responsibility in the face of the greatest threat confronting humanity,” Wynne said Friday, at an event in Barrie, Ont. “The reality is the whole world needs to be involved in fighting climate change.”
Ontario’s four-year climate change action plan is funded by cap-and-trade revenues of between $5.9 billion and $8.3 billion, which will go to green initiatives such as social housing retrofits, an electric vehicle incentive program and public transit.
Since Jan. 1, cap and trade has added 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline and about $80 a year to natural gas home heating costs, in addition to indirect costs that will be passed onto consumers.
The Liberals have been criticized in recent months for high electricity rates in the province, something the Progressive Conservatives seized upon during a byelection campaign in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., that resulted in a Tory win Thursday night.
Wynne said Friday that she knew the race was going to be a tough one for her party and wished the winner — Progressive Conservative Ross Romano — well.
The Liberals had held the seat from 2003 until December, when former Liberal cabinet minister David Orazietti stepped down.
Romano won with about 40 per cent of the vote, followed by NDP candidate Joe Krmpotich with 33 per cent and Amaroso trailed behind, with 23 per cent.