From CBC News

Ontario’s climate change plan, which will provide billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives to businesses and homeowners, was greeted with cautious optimism Wednesday by environmentalists and businesses.

The province will spend up to $8.3 billion on a range of programs to encourage people and companies to switch to more energy-efficient heating systems, buy electric or hybrid cars, convert big trucks to natural gas, add more bio-fuel to gasoline, and help the agriculture and industrial sectors adopt low-carbon technologies.

Most of the money is expected to come from a cap-and-trade program for industrial polluters that the Liberal government expects will raise $1.9 billion a year. All of the cap-and-trade money will go into a dedicated fund for lowering Ontario’s carbon footprint.

Two groups representing automakers said continued rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles, free overnight charging for four years, and a “cash-for-clunkers” program to get older cars off the roads will help create consumer demand for EVs.

“The rebates, combined with looking at renewable fuels, is sort of a broad-based approach to reducing emissions overall from the transportation sector,” said David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the Liberal climate change plan will make the province ‘cleaner and greener,’ but the opposition PCs say it spends money the government hasn’t collected yet. (CBC )

“Many of the initiatives announced today will help consumers understand that electric vehicles are part of the future, of their future,” said Mark Nantis of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association.

However, the manufacturers want more details on the cap-and-trade plan, which will take effect in January when Ontario joins an existing carbon market with Quebec and California.

“In our industry, many of the investment decisions are upon us now, so there’s many details that we have to work out in collaboration with the government,” added Nantis.

Patrick DeRochie of Environmental Defence called the Liberals’ plan “a very positive development in climate action.”

Greenpeace said Ontario is on the right track by trying to phase out fossil fuels and encourage construction of “net zero” carbon homes, and by recognizing that climate change is an opportunity as well as a threat.

“Lots of bad things will happen if we don’t break our addiction to fossil fuels, but there are also a lot of good things — green jobs, cleaner air — that come with action on climate change,” said Greenpeace Canada spokesman Keith Stewart.

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