Is Ontario really doing its fair share on climate change?

ANALYSIS: The Tories often point out how well Ontario stacks up against other provinces when it comes to reducing emissions — but look beyond the national average, and the comparisons are less flattering

a smoke stack
Under the Liberals, Ontario was supposed to have 37 per cent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions in 2030 than it did in 1990; under the Tories, the 2030 target has been reduced to 30 per cent below 2005 levels. (Stephen C. Host/CP)

Last month, Ontario’s environment minister, Rod Phillips, stepped up to a podium at a convenience store in north Toronto and delivered an attack on the federal carbon tax.

His argument was one that the Tories have used many times before: the province is doing its “fair share” — more than its fair share, in fact — to fight climate change.

“While Ontario has reduced its carbon emissions by 22 per cent since 2005,” he said, “the rest of Canada has increased emissions by 6 per cent.”

The implication is that the province has done so much already that it can afford to step back from the climate-change targets set by the previous government. Under Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, Ontario was supposed to have 37 per cent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions in 2030 than it did in 1990. Under the Progressive Conservatives, the 2030 target has been reduced to 30 per cent below 2005 levels.

But why insist that Ontarians need to do more than that when they’ve already done so much compared to the rest of the country? It seems like a fair and straightforward question.

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