CPJ joins call for Ontario climate action

The impacts of climate change are being felt across the province of Ontario this summer. Heatwaves, wildfires, and floods have impacted communities in southern, central, and northern Ontario. And yet, one of Doug Ford's first acts as premier was to cancel the province's cap and trade program, and cancel funding to environmental initiatives. 

CPJ joined Climate Action Network Canada and colleague organizations to call on Ontario Premier Doug for to publicly commit to achieving Ontario’s existing legislated emissions reduction goals, and; table a detailed, scientifically sound plan to meet these legislated goals as soon as possible.

Letter

August 8, 2018

Hon. Doug Ford, Premier 
cc. Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Legislative Building , Queen’s Park  | Toronto,ON | M7A 1A1
 
Dear Premier Ford,
 
Ontarians across the province are experiencing a summer of record-breaking heat waves, floods, forest fires and heat-related human health crises1. Like other countries and states around the world, Ontario is experiencing first-hand the uncertainty, expense and loss that result from a changing climate.
 
As the leader of the provincial government, you have a responsibility to the people of Ontario to do your utmost to safeguard them from these dangers and to ensure these risks don’t grow, unchecked, in coming years. Yet your first acts in office have focused on revoking Ontario’s existing climate policies2  while offering no alternative climate plan to replace them. 
 
Canada’s primary network of organizations working on climate change and energy issues, Climate Action Network Canada is a coalition of more than 115 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Many of our members are based in the province of Ontario.
 
We, the undersigned, write to you today to articulate our expectations that:
 
1. Your government publicly commit to achieving Ontario’s existing legislated emissions reduction goals, and; 
 
2. Your government table a detailed, scientifically sound plan to meet these legislated goals as soon as possible.
 
Ontario needs a strong, decisive climate plan in place to ensure the province is working hard to reduce its contribution to the global carbon pollution that drives climate change - climate change that is already having very direct and serious impacts on the lives of everyday Ontarians.
 
The costs for fire suppression, fire- and flood-related property losses, and heat wave-triggered health interventions are contributing to tens of millions of new and growing financial burdens to Ontarians. 831 fires have been recorded as of the first week of August, besting by more than 60% the ten year average of 511 fires per year3. Early spring floods this year caused catastrophic damages, declarations of states of emergency, and loss of life in southwestern Ontario4. Over $124 million in insured flooding damage was declared in the Windsor region alone in the one month of August in 20175. Over this Canada Day weekend, we saw the highest yet recorded humidex values for southern Ontario - Ottawa hit humidex values of 47 degrees Celsius6 - while in neighbouring Quebec, as many as 70 deaths were attributed to the same early July heat wave7
 
In 2016, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario8 set ambitious yet achievable emissions reduction targets aligned with the actions of other provinces and states and in line with global objectives9. Despite significant progress to date10, Ontario remains the country’s second most carbon polluting province, after Alberta. We still have our work cut out for us and we call on your government to show the leadership demanded by the climate crisis.
 
We look forward to learning how your government plans to address this issue in a timely manner.

Signed,

See a full list of signatories here.

 

[1] https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2018/07/15/global-warming-demands-we-act-now.html

[2] https://cleaneconomyalliance.ca/a-quick-roundup-of-ontarios-climate-cancellations/

[3] https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires

[4] https://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/02/24/southern-ontario-community-issues-state-emergency-due-flooding/

[5] http://www.ibc.ca/on/resources/media-centre/media-releases/late-august-flooding-in-windsor-region-caused-more-than-124-million-in-insured-damage/

[6]   https://globalnews.ca/news/4311444/heat-wave-weather-across-the-world/

[7]   https://globalnews.ca/news/4321912/quebec-heat-wave-70-deaths-2018/

[8]  https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-41/session-1/bill-172

[9] Ontario’s goals: a reduction in 1990 emissions levels of 15 per cent in 2020, 37 per cent in 2030 and 80 per cent in 2050.

[10] Based on greenhouse gas reporting data, Ontario has met its 2014 target of six per cent below 1990 levels. The province achieved this goal in part by closing all of Ontario's coal-fired electricity-generating stations. This remains one of the single largest greenhouse gas reduction actions implemented to date in North America.

 

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