Recently, the Ontario government has taken significant action toward reducing the province’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Initiatives that have been taken promote energy conservation; clean and renewable energy sources; reductions in fossil fuel burning; and the use of cleaner fuels.

At the same time, the government continues to address ozone restoration-another environmental issue requiring a global effort-and works locally to continuously improve the quality of the air that we breathe.

Here’s what experts think about the actions taken to date:

“We support the government’s initiative to improve the efficiency of all lighting. By encouraging the use of high efficiency lighting, at home and at work, all of us will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Elyse Allan, President and CEO, GE Canada

“Friends of the Earth congratulates the McGuinty government on their important decision to ban inefficient lighting. A regulation for the ban plus their commitment to immediately cease provincial government’s purchases of out-dated bulbs is a recipe for success – good for energy conservation and good for fighting climate change.”

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada

“Ontario used to have the dirtiest gasoline in Canada. Ethanol-blended gasoline is an important step towards cleaner, greener fuel. By adding an incentive for cellulosic ethanol, they’re paving the way for added benefits for the environment.”

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada

“We’re delighted that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment is showing leadership in supporting clean, renewable energy by switching its Head Office to Bullfrog Power. We’re firm believers that all sectors of society – commercial, industrial, government, academic, and not-for-profit – together with individual citizens have a role to play in combating climate change, and ensuring that renewable energy continues to play an important part of Ontario’s energy supply mix.”

Tom Heintzman, President, Bullfrog Power

“Friends of the Earth is pleased to see this important amendment to finish the phase out of CFCs and large inefficient chillers across Ontario. We are also happy to see the government leading by example and taking significant steps towards reducing its own carbon footprint – by switching to more energy efficient, renewable methods of cooling and powering Queens Park.”

Bea Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth

“The Ontario government is doing what we are asking of all Ontarians-use energy more wisely. Everybody wins. We save energy and money.”

Peter Love, Ontario’s Chief Energy Conservation Officer

“This a positive step forward for Ontario and our industry. I am pleased to see that the Ministry of the Environment is encouraging extended producer responsibility through seller take-back of refrigerants containing CFCs. These regulations and resulting stewardship programs will ensure that surplus CFC refrigerants will be safely collected, transported and disposed.”

Warren Heeley, President and CEO, Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI)

“Ontario’s announcement is terrific news. We know that the science is clear and political leaders everywhere have a responsibility to act decisively to combat global warming. But we also know that no state, province or country can do it alone. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global effort, and this interest from Ontario, along with California’s agreements with the United Kingdom, Western and Northeastern states and others will continue to inspire other states, provinces and countries to join the fight against global warming.”

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

“The harmful public health, environmental and economic impacts of global warming do not recognize or respect international boundaries. Ontario and New York may be separated by a border, but we are united in a common cause to seek solutions to this most pressing challenge. We would enthusiastically welcome Ontario as a partner in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as we move forward in our fight against global climate change.”

New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer

“By cooperating with RGGI and the Western Regional Climate Change Initiative, Ontario can add to the momentum for political and industry action on climate change. A commitment to absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets is fundamental to making progress on this serious global issue.”

Ken Ogilvie, Executive Director, Pollution Probe

“Canada needs a cap-and-trade program based on absolute emission reductions in order to reduce emissions from its industrial sector. In the absence of national system, it is great to see Ontario considering joining cap-and trade systems in the U.S.”

Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation

“Canadians can take a big step toward reducing greenhouse gases and improving local air quality by recycling their old, gas-guzzling mowers and trimmers in favour of cleaner alternatives. In turn, this improvement will affect our environment, our health and our overall quality of living.”

Stephanie Thorson, Executive Director, Clean Air Foundation

“We are very supportive of the ministry’s actions to improve local air quality in Ontario. This regulation will better protect public health and the environment. It will also help us better understand air pollution sources in local communities and encourage community involvement in developing solutions for site specific air issues.”

Dr. Ted Boadway, Executive Director of Health Policy, Ontario Medical Association

“Dofasco welcomes the Ministry’s new air standards regulation and appreciate the consultative approach used in its development. The risk-based process for air pollution requirements and new air dispersion models are critical components of the regulation that will enable industry to grow while improving their environmental performance.”

Jim Stirling, General Manager Environment and Energy, Dofasco Inc.

“As a participant in the Risk management Pilot we appreciate the need for a regulatory framework to protect air quality while providing flexibility for established enterprises to comply. Dofasco supports updating air pollution requirements in Ontario to incorporate the latest air dispersion models and the use of a risk-based process for existing non-conforming companies to improve.”

Ed Cocchiarella, Manager, Environmental Management System, Dofasco Inc.

“We are very pleased that the Ministry is taking steps to improve local air quality in Ontario by improving the regulatory framework that applies to point sources of smog precursors and air toxics in our communities. We believe that this new regulatory framework will provide greater protection of public health and the environment, clearer information about air pollution sources in local communities, and more opportunities for community involvement in the risk management process.”

Dr. Garry Aslanyan, President, Ontario Public Health Association

“It has been decades since the last air regulation was developed and we agree that it is time for a new, consolidated approach to air issues.”

Nancy Coulas, Director, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

“We are pleased that the proposal is for new standards based on health and environmental impacts rather than technological and economic ones, incorporated into regulations.”

Dr. Fran Scott, Chair, Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health

“I wish to express my overall support for the regulation, which provides for the adoption of air standards based on the protection of health and the environment.”

David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto

“Pollution Probe believes that the new regulation will go a long way towards protecting human health and the environment in Ontario communities from the local impacts associated with air emissions from point sources. In general, we support the updated air standards, the use of new air dispersion models, and the adoption of a risk-based health effects process for alternative standards.”