As the federal and provincial governments gear up for a tense legal and political battle over climate change, Ottawa announced that it has selected an Ontario company as the first recipient of funds under its climate plan.
The new partnership is with Enwave, the largest district energy provider in North America, which is operating a deep lake water cooling system in Toronto, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said on Thursday in the country's biggest city and home to Ontario's seats of power.
The system takes cold water from the depths of Lake Ontario to cool large buildings — including hospitals as well as government, educational, and high-rise buildings — in downtown Toronto, reducing energy costs by 80 per cent.
Enwave is the first recipient under the federal government's new energy efficiency program. They are receiving $10 million from a section of the Low Carbon Economy Fund. According to McKenna's November announcement, the fund's scope has been broadened from helping provincial governments in their environmental efforts to directly supporting businesses and industries in Ontario.
McKenna said this new partnership with Enwave will help “do things in a better, cheaper, cleaner way.”
"We need to tackle climate change with smart solutions while making life affordable and creating jobs," McKenna said.
We're investing $10 million in the expansion of #Enwave's deep lake-water cooling system, which draws cold water from Lake Ontario to cool hospitals and other downtown Toronto buildings — reducing the amount of energy needed for air conditioning by up to 80%! 🌊☀️ pic.twitter.com/aQfqGnYN61— Catherine McKenna 🇨🇦 (@cathmckenna) January 10, 2019
In announcing this partnership, McKenna also stood behind the federal government’s carbon tax, which Premier Doug Ford has staunchly refused to comply with and initiated a constitutional legal challenge against. The Ford government, she told reporters, "doesn't seem to understand the magnitude of the problem and the solutions that work. They want to do less at a time when we need to be doing more."
“I know there’s been a lot of discussion about putting a price on pollution and making sure we do it in a way that life is affordable, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” the minister added.
McKenna noted that there have been examples of previous Canadian governments that have successfully implemented a price on pollution — most notable of which was Prime Minister Brian Mulroney government’s accord to end acid rain.
The federal environment minister appeared on CBC's Metro Morning on Thursday morning where she spoke of the dangers of polarization on the climate plan.
"I don't want to fight people. I want to fight climate change," she told Metro Morning. "Governments will change, but what can't change is our commitment to climate change."
McKenna and Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips met most recently in December, a week after Phillips unveiled a $400 million taxpayer-funded 'carbon trust' climate plan, which would reward companies for choosing greener solutions.
At the time the two ministers agreed they need to move to zero-plastic waste, McKenna said. "But, they've drawn a line and said we're going to have a big fight on the price on pollution."