Civic Elections in Ontario and climate change

After four years of relative neglect, the problems caused by a changing climate are a concern of the candidates running for municipal office in 2014. Toronto Mayoralty Race Elizabeth May recommends Olivia Chow.  With such a recommendation Chow will certainly have the support of voters who consider that climate change and its impact on Toronto …

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Toronto Mayoralty Campaign – A Welcome Announcement

In February of this year 4RG sponsored a well attended Forum on the threat to Toronto’s Tree Canopy.  The panel of Jeff Cullen, Janet McKay and Hilary Cunningham explained how the December 2013 ice storm had devastated the trees that we depend on

  • for shade that can mitigate the effects of extreme heat;
  • to sustain many natural forest areas within the City,
  • as a desirable feature of Toronto’s many Parks,
  • as a way to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere;
  • as a means of reducing ground saturation – which is important in controlling floods, and
  • as a setting for our recreational environment.

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The Prospect of Resiliency

In January 2013, Norm Kelly, now the Deputy Mayor of Toronto, reacted with scepticism to a study by experts describing the impact that climate change will have on Toronto. Kelly estimated that accepting the recommendations in the study would require billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

Kelly and other councillors shrugged off concerns that climate change would contribute to more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.  Kelly said that warmer temperatures in the future “tain’t bad”.   In effect Tennessee’s climate of today will be Toronto’s climate tomorrow. Perhaps he did not appreciate that extreme heat waves cause serious problems for seniors and in other countries have lead to a spike in deaths of aged people?

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Political leadership on Climate Change

After the disaster of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg of New York commissioned a study of the effects of climate change on the City. The Study, now just released, is entitled “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”. The Study recommends spending $19.5 billion dollars to reduce the effects of a potential re-occurrence of a climate-change enhanced hurricane.   The reaction to Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership has been favourable, although commentators recognize that New York needs financial support from other levels of Government.

Admittedly Toronto will not have to face the consequences of extreme weather events such as New York has experienced.  So this blog compares attitudes of Toronto municipal politicians towards adaptation to climate change with the vision of Mayor Bloomberg.

Several years ago the City of Toronto commissioned its own study prepared by Senes Consultants Limited at a cost of $250, 000.  Completed in December 2011, the Weather and Climate Driver Study has been on the agenda of various civic committees.

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Run, don’t walk!

For Our Grandchildren supports artists whose work dramatizes the issues involved in climate change.  The orientation of these artists may be political, like Franke James, or reflective, like Paul Roorda.  Paul is currently exhibiting at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition running today until Sunday in the Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto.  His stand, number 133, is …

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