Watch: Al Gore applauds Premier Wynne's leadership on climate change
Ryerson University hosted a climate change conference with Premier Kathleen Wynne and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Premier Kathleen Wynne stressed the need for continued work to cool the planet at a climate change conference at Ryerson University Thursday, playing up the cap-and trade system and renewables as boons for the environment and economy.
“Three years ago, I thought we had pushed past a tipping point, but I was wrong — our tipping point is now,” Wynne said. “Ontario has to decide if we’re going to keep leading and cutting pollution, or if we’re going to go backwards on climate change.”
Wynne referenced a central plank of her plan: Ontario’s carbon market, which is linked linked with Quebec and California, and seeks to curtail pollution through capping emissions. If a company was to exceed this cap, it would have to, by law, purchase credits, an arrangement said to mitigate emissions while bolstering the economy.
She said the policy is less than carbon taxation for businesses and families, adding that dollars are cycled back to residents.
Further, she continued, it “guarantees that we will hit our targets for pollution reduction,” though she did not elaborate on this point.
Neither speaker took questions from the audience or the press.
“Last week, we learned our first joint auction sold out, more than $400 million will go toward making our province greener, building things like public transit, affordable housing and bike lanes,” she said.
Gore said that “from the heart,” he is proud of what Wynne has accomplished on the climate change file, calling her “bold” move to implement in the carbon market a “model for action around the world.”
He drew on California’s climate change policies, saying that it has consistently trumped the rest of the U.S., in terms of economic health.
“Solar jobs now represent the single fastest growing job category in the United States, growing 17 times faster than other jobs are grown,” adding that wind turbine technicians place second, in this respect.
“The will to change is itself a renewable resource,” he said.
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