4RG’s Climate Change Forum, “Waking up to Catastrophe”, took place Saturday, May 25th, in Peterborough, Ontario. The title of the Forum was a carry-forward from last year’s “Sleep Walking to Catastrophe”. Since then public opinion in both Canada and the U.S. has changed, as most people now recognize that climate change is a threat to the future well being of the Earth.
Three panelists covered various dimensions of the topic:
Alanna Mitchell, the author of “Sea Sick”, reviewed the increase of Greenhouse Gas emissions. She explained that the failure by the nations of the world to cap the emission of carbon dioxide means that the critical limit of GHG in the atmosphere will be exceeded in the next decades. She also pointed out that the oceans are absorbing both heat and carbon dioxide, a situation that will seriously impact fish stocks crucial to feeding the Earth’s population.
Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, reviewed the progress of the Province of Ontario in reducing GHG emissions. He acknowledged that the Province had made progress to date, but pointed out that there were no programs in place for continued reductions from next year to 2020, the target date for Canada under the Copenhagen Accord.
The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs and MPP for Peterborough, reviewed the various programs instituted by the Ontario Government that had put Ontario close at the top of Canadian provinces in reducing GHG emissions. He then answered a wide variety of questions from the audience directed to environmental issues.