Today, urban-focused environmental groups responded to a proposal for climate change consultations by Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, with a simple message: make sure municipalities have the resources they need to get Ontario’s cities ready to fight climate change.
“It’s great to see that the Province wants the public’s input into what their climate change plan should look like,” said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “Because most Ontarians live in cities, we need the Province to do more to help municipalities get ready for climate change.”
“Cities are where most of the activities that create greenhouse gas pollution occur. And cities are vulnerable to damage that climate change is causing. That’s why cities need help from the Province,“ said Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “Remember the 2013 flood and ice storm in Toronto? That cost Torontonians over $1.3 billion in damage to private property and city infrastructure. This is a taste of what climate change will bring to Ontario.”
Ecology Ottawa, Environment Hamilton and the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), all groups that focus on urban environmental challenges, called on the Minister to make sure every city in Ontario has a climate change plan and -as importantly- has provincial help to develop and implement their plans. These municipal plans should:
- Protect people from severe weather and the impacts of climate change;
- Provide people with real and affordable transportation choices; and
- Help people save money and transition towards 100 percent clean energy.
“Everyone is going to be harmed by the changing climate,” said Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director of Environment Hamilton. “But the reality is that people who live in cities have special problems that require special solutions. We need to make sure our water, sewer and electrical infrastructures are in shape, to say nothing of our homes and businesses. The good news is that reducing greenhouse gas pollution and preparing our communities for climate change will create a huge number of good, new jobs and save us lots of money.”
For more information, contact: Graham Saul, Ecology Ottawa (613-710-2819); Lynda Lukasik, Environment Hamilton (905-549-0900); Franz Hartmann, Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) (416-606-8881).