What if action is taken, and energy prices don’t increase?

There will be value in reducing energy use for four reasons. The first is economic. If energy consumption can be reduced while maintaining productivity, Ontario will need to import less energy and the economy will improve as a result.

The second is also economic. To the extent that Ontario leads in the development and use of energy saving innovations and processes, it will have a market advantage when reducing energy use becomes a continental objective, and even a global objective.

The third reason is environmental. Other things being equal, the amount of air pollution, whether from vehicles or buildings, is closely related to the amount of energy used. Thus energy conservation will improve air quality.

It's not only urban air quality that will improve. A monitoring station that records among the highest smog levels in the Central Ontario Zone is Stouffville, 45 kilometres north east of downtown Toronto. Smog is mainly ground-level ozone, formed by the action of sunlight on emissions from combustion processes (in vehicle engines but also in factories and other buildings). It takes time for the smog to form, and so it's often places downwind of the source--such as Stouffville--that have the highest pollution levels.

The fourth reason for reducing energy use is also environmental. Emissions of greenhouse gases are almost directly proportional to consumption of fossil fuels. Reduction in fossil fuel use will contribute toward attainment of Canada's commitments in connection with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent agreements that may be undertaken.