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Engineers’ recommendations for Ontario’s cap-and-trade program

The Ontario government recently announced its intention to create a cap-and-trade program and link its auctions with Quebec and California in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).


The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) has released a report on the subject, stating that it “believes that a cap-and-trade system, if well-designed and transparent, has the potential to not only drive meaningful climate action, but also accelerate low-carbon investment and innovation that can help transform Ontario’s economy and create new employment opportunities, especially for engineers.”

OSPE’s Recommendations

  • OSPE’s report, entitled Engineering a Cleaner Economy: Examining Ontario’s Carbon Pricing Program and the Role of Innovation, provides the following recommendations to government:
  • 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
  • Engineers must be involved in the design and maintenance of this technology
  • 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

For more information, visit www.ospe.on.ca.