Ontario’s proposed cap-and-trade program has the potential to reduce emissions while accelerating low-carbon investment, innovation and job creation in the province, says a report released by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.
The report, entitled Engineering a Cleaner Economy: Examining Ontario’s Carbon Pricing Program and the Role of Innovation, contains a number of recommendations that the OSPE argues are necessary for the program to be effective and for it to have a net positive impact on Ontario’s economy and innovation.
According to Sandro Perruzza, the CEO of OSPE, professional engineers are “well positioned to provide input” for the cap-and-trade program as they make decisions “based on the numbers,” reducing the tendency for bias.
As engineers will be deeply involved in the design and maintenance of carbon-reducing technologies and of low-carbon innovations, they should be part of the consultation process, said Perruzza.
The report’s other recommendations to the government include:
- Decarbonization to the extent proposed by the Ontario government (reduce emissions by 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% by 2030, and 80% by 2050) will require a huge amount of technological innovation and a coordinated, enduring approach to technology policies and research and innovation.
- Cap-and-trade must be implemented in a way that does not cause economic hardship for energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries (EITEs).
- Ontario must follow the lead of other jurisdictions and take proactive measures to mitigate the financial impacts felt by individual households.
- Revenue from the program must be re-invested in sustainable infrastructure and research and development of green technologies. Early estimates suggest that Ontario could generate between $1.5 billion and $2 billion annually from cap-and-trade auction revenues by 2020.
- Research and development grants and policies should recognize and support individuals and small companies for pilot projects and new inventions in addition to support for well-established firms.
The importance of transparency is emphasized throughout the report as essential to the program’s success and the transition to low-carbon industries and processes.
The long-term return-on-investment periods for investing in energy/carbon reduction technologies and practices means businesses must be certain of regulations and confident that they will not change, explained Perruzza.
Click here to read the full report.