The Bull Case For Ford

It predicts that the single biggest contributor to carbon reduction will be existing programs designed to conserve natural gas.

Whether the Ford government can avoid carbon taxes completely is an open question. Levying financial penalties against firms that fail to meet emission standards could be viewed as a form of carbon tax.

But so far it’s not clear that the Ontario government would do even that.

Indeed, the overall message from Ford’s government is that Ontario has already done plenty in the fight against climate change by eliminating its coal-fired electricity generation stations and is under little obligation to do more.

Tellingly, the section on climate change takes up only 19 pages of the 53-page environmental plan released Thursday. The remainder deals with matters such as reducing litter.

However the Ford government is not alone in treating climate change casually. For all of its talk, the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not on track to meet its self-imposed Paris carbon-reduction targets.

Nor, according to the United Nations, are most industrial countries. Scientists predict the climate crisis will soon be irreversible. The answer from much of the world is a loud yawn.

In North America, consumers continue to choose gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs over fuel-efficient small cars. In France, government attempts to raise gasoline prices have led to violent protests.

So don’t be too hard on Ford. His climate change plan is largely empty. But in real terms no one else is doing much either. Maybe that’s what people want.

Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist covering politics. Follow him on Twitter: @tomwalkom

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