Ontario has warmed 1.5°C since 1948 and is warming faster than the world average. We’ve seen the results in more extreme weather, flooding, the spread of diseases such as Lyme, warming lakes and rivers and increased food prices, forest fires and impacts on wildlife populations.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported we have less than eleven years left to take serious actions to limit carbon release and avoid the worst and irreversible devastation to our climate.
What can we do?
It’s urgent that we transition quickly to a zero-carbon economy and end our dependence on fossil fuels. At the same time we need to support a transition for workers from high-to low-carbon jobs, help communities first and worst affected by a changing climate, including climate refugees and migrant workers, pursue rights — and land-based reconciliation with Indigenous nations and protect and restore vital ecosystems.
In Ontario, transportation, urban sprawl, industry, natural gas heating for buildings and electricity production are the largest sources of emissions. That’s not even including the contributions of emissions from ecosystem degradation and loss as they haven’t been factored into climate plans, but we know they’re significant.
Where the current government fails
This province once had the strongest climate plan in the nation. While it wasn’t perfect, it was working. Sadly, the new provincial government has taken us backwards, scrapping the cap-and-trade carbon pricing program, incentives for retrofitting buildings and purchasing electric cars, over 700 renewable energy projects and lowering our GHG cutting targets. The new climate plan is thin on details and even weaker on accountability. In fact, Ontario's auditor general, our government watchdog, has reported the Ford government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “is not supported by sound evidence.” And the Ford government has weakened plans to curb urban sprawl and laws to protect wetlands, woodlands and wildlife.
Wilderness Committee Ontario educates and advocates for stronger provincial climate action and nature-based solutions.