I know it's still a bit early to be writing obituaries for the provincial Liberal Party. However, because of the ongoing issues in the news right now (the byelections, subways, wind farms, gas plants, etc), I thought it might be a good time to consider the environmental legacy of the Liberal government. Was it a success or a failure? On the one hand, from the perspective of the Harris/Eves era, the Liberals have taken on an extremely ambitious, aggressive agenda to curb emissions and fight climate change. Goals like shutting down coal plants, putting a greenbelt around the GTA, and investing in urban rail transit across the province. These things were unimaginable under the Conservatives, when we were still doubling-down on the automobile and urban sprawl and climate change seemed like a fringe issue. On the other hand, it seems like these very goals have been the bane of the Liberals throughout their mandate. Their attempts to build alternative forms of power generation (natural gas, wind, etc) have been blocked or bogged down by NIMBYs at every turn â€“ including the cancelled Mississauga plant that could very well put the Conservatives back in power. As a result, we're still relying heavily on coal. For all the talk about urban transit networks, there are still no LRT lines in the province. Progress has been stalled by bickering and infighting among various urban stakeholders. It is not inconceivable that if the Conservatives got into power by 2015 or earlier they could pull the plug on the whole thing and we would be back to where we started. More generally, the state of public debate has shifted from the need to cut emissions and address climate change to the folly of big, incompetent government getting in people's way. The NDP seems to have completely turned their back on the environmental issue. In fact they seem to be doubling-down on the car by fighting gas taxes and insurance rates. So what is the environmental legacy of the Liberals? How much of their goals have actually been turned into concrete infrastructure that will give us a greener future? What has their impact been on the culture of Ontario? Have they succeeded in making formerly "fringe" issues a basic expectation of the public (e.g. the need for mass public transit), or have they poisoned the environmental issue so that even future governments who might be inclined to adopt an aggressive agenda will shy away?