Reductions in emissions and economic growth can be achieved by leveraging proven solutions, practical steps, concludes new Green Ribbon Panel report
The Green Ribbon Panel released its final report today (Sept. 6) highlighting the need for strong, innovative policies in the urgent fight to combat climate change while advancing growth opportunities for an economy challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel was launched in February and consists of leaders from a range of sectors and organizations who came together to advance proven solutions and practical steps to reduce emissions and grow the economy.
The new report, Investing in Made-in-Ontario Solutions: Policy Enabled Competitive Advantages Tuned for Growth, provides a roadmap for provincial and federal leaders to achieve the goals of environmental stewardship and economic growth.
“Fighting climate change and growing our economy are absolutely possible if we use proven solutions and innovation to our full advantage,” said James Scongack, Chair of the Green Ribbon Panel. “Today’s report highlights the critical need for all levels of government and business to work together in achieving our collective goals.
“We believe the practical recommendations we have developed from a diverse set of leaders presents a real opportunity for greater national unity and immediate next steps towards reducing emissions, while growing the economy in a challenging pandemic environment.”
The report outlines a series of actionable recommendations that can be advanced towards meeting Canada’s GHG-reduction goals through smart integration and leveraging of a clean electricity system, the role of innovation, alignment and targeted policy focused on results and outcomes in achieving these goals. Using the phasing out of coal in Ontario as a foundation, the report illustrates how leveraging a made-in-Ontario, low-emission electricity system is not only possible, but also provides a path to creating 150,000 new jobs and boosting the local economy.
“The recommendations are not a silver bullet to tackling the entire issue of emissions,” Scongack said. “The truth is, there isn’t a silver bullet. Unity and focus on results and what works will be key to our success. What we need is a series of practical steps to begin in earnest that establish a foundation to be built upon which cumulatively lead to the transformation we need.”
The report’s 10 recommendations are summarized as follows:
1. Leverage Ontario’s unique clean energy technologies and existing assets to reduce GHG emissions and lower energy costs.
2. Focus policy objectives on clear, short-term, tangible actions that prioritize targeted, proven, executable solutions, and that embrace the diversity of regions across Canada.
3. Develop a pan-Canadian hydrogen solution that includes integration with Canada’s oil and gas sector, further deployment of hydrogen as a transportation fuel, and leverages Canada’s clean electricity assets.
4. Pursue electrification of the economy supplemented by the application of hydrogen technologies to incrementally and reliably achieve the necessary GHG-emission reductions.
5. Develop a Green Collar Jobs Strategy to build upon Ontario’s major strength in its skilled, diverse labour force to underpin and develop, innovate and execute critical activities and projects.
6. Establish Ontario’s brand as a clean jurisdiction known for sustainable products.
7. Leverage Ontario’s status within the Great Lakes region to maximize the benefits of sustainability policies.
8. Engage the federal financial institutions, such as the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, to enhance the economic contributions of Ontario’s domestic advantages.
9. Create a federal Next Generation Energy Innovation Fund to place focus on the development of demonstration projects for Canada’s future clean energy game-changers.
10. Consider how future public revenue from carbon pricing policy schemes should be revenue neutral to government and targeted at enhancing the competitiveness of trade-exposed sectors.
Read the full report here.
The Green Ribbon Panel Participants included:
• James Scongack, Bruce Power – Chair
• Christopher Hilkene, Pollution Probe
• Steve McCauley, Pollution Probe
• Rocco Rossi, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
• Ashley Challinor, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
• Vanessa Foran, Asthma Canada
• Dennis Darby, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
• Mark Fisher, Council of the Great Lakes Region
• Cara Clairman, Plug’n Drive
• Bruce Wallace, Nuclear Innovation Institute
• Robert Stasko, Hydrogen Business Council
• Jeff Parnell, Power Workers’ Union
• John Sprackett, Power Workers’ Union
• Scott Travers, The Society of United Professionals
• Mitch Twolan, Warden, Bruce County
About the Green Ribbon Panel
The Green Ribbon Panel is an independent organization consisting of representatives in leadership roles in Canada’s environmental and economic sectors, convened to advocate for practical solutions to combat climate change.