Petition to Premier Doug Ford re:
We need a Climate Action Plan
To the Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario:
I am deeply concerned about climate change, its impact on human health, and on the health of the planet.
This summer, North America, northern Europe, Africa and the Arctic was subjected to an intense and prolonged heat wave. Portugal, Spain and Japan reported temperatures above 40 degrees C; temperatures that have increased the number of early deaths and hospital admissions around the world. Canada has also been hard hit. In Quebec, which monitors heat-related deaths in real-time, over 70 people died from extreme heat in just one week this summer. In Ontario, we had 21 days with temperatures that exceeded 30 degrees C and very high humidity.
This global heat wave has also fueled intense wildfires around the world. Wildfires claimed the lives of 90 people in Greece, nine in California, and one in Canada this summer. Ontario has been hit with over 900 wildfires this year. More than 1000 firefighters worked to contain them. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, cottages and provincial parks. Tens of thousands have been exposed to high levels of air pollution from those fires. We know these events created incredible stress for many Ontario residents while also putting their lives, health, property and jobs at risk.
While some suggest that this is the new normal, climate scientists disagree. They say that this is a sign that we are moving towards a tipping point with climate change. A new scientific study suggests that we are quickly approaching a temperature that could trigger a feedback cycle that drives temperatures up to levels that make the earth uninhabitable for people.
We are deeply concerned that in the midst of this worldwide turmoil, your government is dismantling a climate action plan that was 10 years in the making. That plan included a cap-and-trade program that reduced emissions from large industrial sources in a cost-effective way, while generating billions of dollars that were being used to reduce emissions from schools, farms, hospitals, housing, the municipal sector, and the transportation sector.
In Ontario where the greatest sources of climate emissions are the transportation sector (33%), buildings (22%), and industry (18%), we need policies and programs that can cut climate emissions from these sources deeply and quickly. The good news is that many of the actions needed will produce immediate benefits for human health, health care costs, the cost of living, and the economy.
We implore you to put a new climate action plan in place as quickly as possible; one that will ensure that Ontario meets it obligations under the Paris Agreement; one that will provide immediate health benefits and health care savings for Ontario residents; one that will produce new local jobs and new economic opportunities. Climate change is NOT a partisan issue. It is the public health crisis of our generation. The future of our children and grand-children depend upon decisive action by you and your government today.