Dear Premier Wynne,
You were recently quoted as saying:
“My value system is: We have a responsibility as government to allow people to have a secure retirement. . . . There is a stark difference between those who believe this is a good idea and those who don’t.”
Your words were addressed to pensions for seniors, but they are equally applicable to the environment that seniors hope for when they retire in the next decades.
Global warming is a reality that will bring heat waves of greater frequency and severity in mid-latitude areas such as Ontario. Elderly citizens are most at risk from these extreme events: increased heat-related deaths, greater anxiety, dislocation of living patterns and the like.
A number of years ago the Government in which you were a Minister recognized that to avoid the consequences of climate change Ontario had to cut back GreenHouse Gas emissions. Along with other Provinces, your Government committed to bring these emissions down to 15% below their 1990 level by 2020. In subsequent years your government encouraged the development of renewable energy and phased out coal-fired generating plants.
We give you and your colleagues, past and present, full credit for this and other programs that mitigate emissions. Yet recent policy statements raise a concern that the Government of Ontario is retreating from its firm support of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.
There are other programs that directly contribute to reducing emissions. However, no less an authority than the Ontario Environmental Commissioner recently commented that the Government has not identified programs that would enable Ontario to meet its 2020 emissions target.
Your Government is seeking re-election. Can you demonstrate how your party can live up to its promise to reduce emissions? The electorate needs more than words: what programs will your government institute to contribute to reductions, how soon, and how much? We need answers (and not just a flood of words) if we are to recommend that our supporters vote for your candidates.
During the campaign we will also be reviewing and comparing the platforms of the other major parties contesting this election. Just as we have in this letter we will also request that they clearly state how they intend to reduce emissions, how they propose to re-invigorate of Ontario’s renewable energy, and what other programs they will support to combat client change.
We believe that these steps will assist the Ontario electorate to understand the serious issue of climate change.
We look forward to your reply.
Peter Jones On behalf of the 4RG Steering Committee