Nate Erskine-Smith releases Climate and Clean Economy Plan

“Under my leadership, Ontario will have North America’s most ambitious climate plan.”

TORONTO (12 June 2023) – From wildfires and dangerous air quality, to extreme heat, droughts and floods, Ontarians are feeling the very real impacts of climate change now. The costs are enormous — to our economy, to our health, and to a sustainable future for our kids.

To protect lives and livelihoods, we need to reduce emissions now while we build a clean economy and create good jobs for Ontario’s workers. The global race is on to attract investment in the clean economy — Ontario needs to not only compete, but to win.

Today, Nate Erskine-Smith, candidate for Ontario Liberal Party leader, unveiled the most ambitious climate plan in North America. Erskine-Smith’s Climate and Clean Economy Plan will attract global investment, create good jobs for workers, and reduce emissions across Ontario’s economy.

This Climate and Clean Economy Plan will:

  • Reduce Ontario’s emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2040, including by building a net zero electricity grid by 2030;

  • Establish Ontario as a responsible global leader in critical minerals, clean manufacturing and clean technologies, and deliver economic reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous communities;

  • Rapidly accelerate the deployment of zero emission vehicles, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and green retrofits for homes, small businesses, and public buildings;

  • Build Ontario’s resilience to climate change, including by investing in adaptation and green infrastructure, establishing a world-class forest management and wildfire team, and creating the position of Ontario’s Chief Heat Officer to implement emergency and long-term heat risk reduction and cooling projects;

  • Protect 30% of Ontario’s nature by 2030, including by protecting and expanding the Greenbelt, creating new networks of natural areas to provide access to nature and clean, swimmable waterways for millions of Ontarians, and delivering greater protection of the Great Lakes and clean freshwater; and

  • Enact accountability legislation that sets strong interim targets, and establishes an independent body to hold the government accountable for its progress.

“The people of Ontario want serious action now on climate change. Under my leadership, we will have North America’s most ambitious climate plan to attract global investment, create good jobs for workers, lower energy bills, protect more greenspace, and build a cleaner and safer future for our kids,” Erskine-Smith said.

“We need ambitious climate leadership in Ontario now. While Ontarians are living with wildfires, floods and extreme heat exacerbated by climate change, Premier Ford made it free to pollute, cancelled renewable energy projects while locking in more fossil fuels, and handed over parts of the Greenbelt to his developer friends. It’s time for a change. I’ve known Nate Erskine-Smith for almost a decade and he has consistently shown strong leadership on climate – his ambitious climate plan is about building a cleaner, healthier Ontario that is a leader in the clean economy future.”

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, as well as Chair of the UN Expert Group on Net Zero

“Look around us at all the frightening fires, floods, and extreme heat. We are in a climate emergency, and need to act now. Nate Erskine-Smith is a strong environmentalist with a solid climate action plan. I am thrilled to get behind a green leader who will help Ontarians through this crisis!”

Mary-Margaret McMahon, MPP for Beaches-East York, and Critic for the Environment, Conservation, and Parks

“Ontarians’ health, homes and communities are under constant threat from extreme heat, floods and fires. Our homegrown businesses and workforce are falling further behind while we watch our closest trading partners run the race to a clean economy. In this context, the leaders of every political party in Canada’s most populous province should be planning for Ontario to have the most ambitious climate plan on the continent. Yet, very few provincial politicians are stepping up to the plate. I have watched Nate Erskine-Smith work across sectors and political lines to push for bold climate action, and become an internal champion in his own party to build ambition on this generation-defining issue. I trust Nate to provide the strong vision for climate leadership that the Ontario Liberal Party needs, and that we who live in this province deserve.”

Catherine Abreu, former executive director of the Climate Action Network, Executive Director of Destination Zero and member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

A backgrounder outlining Erskine-Smith’s Climate and Clean Economy Plan in detail is linked. The comprehensive set of policy proposals were developed in consultation with many experts, through work led by Catherine Abreu, Jared Forman, and Evan Wiseman.