The Ontario government intends to cancel more than 750 renewable energy contracts in a bid to save the province's taxpayers a few extra dollars on their hydro bills.

Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford made the sweeping announcement on Friday, labelling the clean energy projects "unnecessary and wasteful" in an afternoon press statement.

A spokesperson for Rickford and his department could not be immediately reached to discuss the details of the cancellation, including what types of projects will be shuttered, how the government determined they are "unnecessary and wasteful," and how many jobs will be lost in the process.

In the statement, Rickford said the cuts, if approved in the Ontario legislature, would result in ratepayer savings of $790 million.

"We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses," said Rickford. "In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise."

The cuts will include 758 renewable energy contracts across the province, whose projects have not yet reached critical development milestones, the news statement explained. Cancelling them now, in the early stages, will maximize their benefit for hydro ratepayers.

The provincial Progressive Conservative government, led by Premier Doug Ford, will soon introduce a legislative amendment aimed at protecting Ontario consumers from any costs incurred as a result of the contract cancellations. Rickford confirmed that even with those costs accounted for, the $790-million savings figure is accurate.

"For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices, so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes," he said. "Those days are over."

Ford campaigned on an April promise to cut Ontario hydro bills by 12 per cent if he won the June election, using a variety of measures that would scrape $173 off the top of the annual average hydro bill.

"We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates," said Energy and Mines Minister @GregRickford. #onpoli

Friday's announcement follows other cuts to Ontario's climate-friendly agenda, including a plan to withdraw from a cap and trade program with Quebec and California, and to resist the federal government's carbon tax scheme.

The Trudeau government has said the moves indicate Ontario is withdrawing from a national climate change strategy, forcing Ottawa to review nearly $420 million in transfer payments meant for projects that reduce pollution. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said he would take steps to impose a price on carbon pollution in Ontario, while returning revenues directly to the province's population —with or without Ford’s support.

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It just confirmed the fact that despite what Doug Ford thinks or say about climate change, his actions only shows that he is a total "climate denier".

Beware of False Green Prophet$

Canada needs honest viable energy and environmental policies based on science and economics, not on political rhetoric, nonscience or nonsense.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s proposed carbon tax is a clear example of this because of the delay in keeping his December 9, 2016, promise to create a matching national clean fuel standard “based on life cycle analysis” billed as “the single biggest element of Canada's national emissions reduction plan”.

There are at least seven major types of pollution caused in the life cycle of the production and utilization of energy: abiotic depletion; acidification; eutrophication; global warming; human toxicity; ozone layer depletion; and terrestrial ecotoxicity.

The Trudeau Liberal government’s proposed carbon tax applies to fossil fuels like coal, oil and bitumen, but exempts other forms of energy including natural gas used for power generation, which is worse over the 20 to 50 year time frame, and likely will so-called renewable fuels such as bio-fuels including those made from food crops, and biomass such as wood.

The results of the recent Ontario Election reflect upon the failure of the Government of Canada to disclose the real cost of the carbon tax, how it will be used appropriately and in the public interest, the true life cycle production and utilization of all forms of energy, or the facts regarding the real economic benefits of their energy and environmental policies.

The practice of letting politicians and civil servants make and implement policies that create winners false green prophet$ for their chosen technologies and multibillion-dollar losers out of the rest of us has been proven wrong in every instance, as was confirmed by Ontario’s last two Auditors General.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) both now officially warn that growing crops to make “green” biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices, and rather than combating the effects of global warming, they could make them worse.

With one child under 10 dying from hunger and related diseases every five seconds now according to the UN, using food for fuel is actually a crime against humanity.

This applies to other so-called renewable energy sources like wood biomass, shown as not being "carbon neutral" at all, because the immediate harm from releasing the carbon in it and the fifty years or more needed to grow the trees to replace it actually makes it worse.

Taxpayer subsidies, mandatory use laws and exemptions from carbon and life cycle taxes further increase the negative impacts of these pseudoscience based policies.

That’s why the user-pay life cycle clean fuel policy should have been fully formulated and implemented before any other steps were taken.

We need to find ways as a country to economically and sustainably develop and utilize our vast fossil fuel and renewable energy resources to our advantage, instead of exporting them for the benefit of others at huge discounts while unnecessarily increasing life cycle environmental impacts.

According to Bill Gates, whose multibillion-dollar Breakthrough Energy Coalition now targets carbon-free ammonia energy, we should end all energy subsidies and spend our resources developing new and better technologies for all fossil and renewable energy production and use.

Gates’ most read and recommended author, University of Winnipeg’s Dr. Vaclav Smil’s June 3, 2018, IEEE Spectrum article, “A Critical Look at Claims for Green Technologies”, is subtitled “Green technologies are not yet proved, affordable, or deployable—but even if they were, it would still take them generations to solve our environmental problems.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley should join Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Ontario Premier Doug Ford in their proposed legal challenge to Trudeau’s unjustified carbon tax grab scheme using plans to implement realistic life cycle energy and environmental tax policies.

We need a level playing field for energy, and everything else for that matter, so consumers and industry can vote with their wallets in a true user-pay economy that doesn’t pass off the real costs to anyone else.

By: Greg Vezina, Chairman, Hydrofuel Inc. and leader of Ontario’s None Of The Above Direct Democracy Party.

Big problems have multiple aspects and far-reaching consequences. Climate change is one of the biggest problems humanity has ever faced. Some thoughts on Mr. Vezina's post:
1) Just because there is no silver bullet that solves everything is not a valid argument to abandon the whole field of inquiry.
2) A delay in finalizing "the single biggest piece" does not refute a strategy. A reasonable and efficient person will take more care with the aspects of a project that have the biggest impact.
3) Ontario's election results are not a refutation of the cap and trade strategy. Rather they are a reminder that when people are hurting financially many people would vote for a hamster if they thought it would save them money.
4) Many green technologies ARE proven, affordable and have already been deployed elsewhere in the world. Look outside North America.
5) One of the two root solutions to climate change is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. All modes of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come down to this. So ways to improve the production and use of fossil fuels have no potential to solve the root problem and should be abandoned. (The other root solution is to reverse the desertification inherent in most agriculture practiced today.)
6) The current dominant economic model is a major driver of GHG emissions with its requirement of perpetual exponential economic growth demanding ever more extraction of resources, consumption, and consequent waste. I get the sense that there are many false green prophets today but the current economic model helps them with all of its externalities and putting corporate profit above human needs. Consequently while we might have been able to "vote with our wallets" if we had faced the issue when it was raised 30 years ago, with dozens of people in central Canada dying in heat waves it is far too late now for such an approach to generate the magnitude of change required of our society to effectively respond to the size of the climate change challenge.

Mr. Vezina makes a valid point about considering the entire life cycle of energy production and use (although he doesn't explain how the federal framework fails to consider it adequately) but that expanded view should be used to design policy, not to throw all policy out the window in favour of market solutions.

One wonders whether the fossil fuel industry was somehow behind the political takedown of Patrick Brown, because every other Con candidate was running on a platform of inaction on climate science. Probably no accident that the most oil-and-gas friendly candidate triumphed over others, approaching an election that was sure to see the Liberals vanquished.

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