To fight climate change -- one of the greatest challenges mankind has faced -- Ontario is putting a limit on the main sources of greenhouse gas pollution through a cap and trade system to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the health of our children and grandchildren.
Climate change is already hurting our environment, causing extreme weather like floods and droughts, and hurting our ability to grow food in some regions. Over the near term, it will increase the cost of food and insurance, harm wildlife and nature, and eventually make the world inhospitable for our children and grandchildren.
In this context, Ontario is joining other jurisdictions, including Québec and California, by imposing a hard ceiling on the pollution allowed in each sector of the economy. Known as cap and trade, this system effectively reduces the amount of greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere by setting a limit on emissions, rewarding innovative companies, providing certainty for industries and creating more opportunities for investment in Ontario.
Ontario intends to join the cap and trade system under the Western Climate Initiative. Under the cap and trade system, businesses will have their own greenhouse gas quota and will then be able to sell it if they don't need it because of their own efficiency.
The government will reinvest the money raised through cap and trade in a transparent way back into projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help businesses remain competitive. Projects may include helping families consume less energy through more energy-efficient appliances or housing, building more public transit to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and helping factories and businesses reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Through cap and trade, Ontario is building on the progress it has already made, such as closing coal plants and continuing to invest in public transit.
Good environmental policy is good economic policy. Reducing our use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, will create jobs now and form a central pillar of our prosperity in the coming years.
Fighting climate change while keeping industries competitive and strong is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.