What Climate Change Means for Ontario

Given Canadian national leadership has largely remained inert on climate change, it is the provinces and cities that have taken it upon themselves to try to mitigate its impacts and develop adaptation strategies. The City of Toronto, for instance, has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 levels of approximately 22 million tonnes per year by:

  • 6 percent by 2012 (1,320,000 tonnes per year)
  • 30 percent by 2020 (6,600,000 tonnes per year)
  • 80 percent by 2050 (17,600,000 tonnes per year)

And, so far,Toronto is doing very well in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets. In fact, through energy conservation efforts, waste management strategies, and changes in the Province’s electricity generation mix, the city has actually exceeded the Kyoto Protocol target for 2012 of 6% and is now over half-way to the 2020 reduction target of 30%. As long as we keep up the progress and avoid complacency, it very well may reach or exceed the 2050 target.

But it’s important not to consider climate change in a vacuum. Climate is a regional issue; it doesn’t comply with city limits. So it’s important that we Torontonians view our climate change policy and progress within the context of our region and province. As it turns out, Ontario isn’t doing as well as its largest city. Just earlier this month, the province’s environment commissioner warned that if Ontario didn’t take “aggressive action”, it won’t meet its 2020 emissions reduction targets.

So let’s take a look at what climate change means for our province, where the problem areas are, and some things we all can do to help temper the impacts of global warming on our changing climate.

Climate Change Ontario


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