In My Opinion: Ontario needs an all-party Climate Change Committee

Mary-Margaret McMahon is the Liberal MPP for Beaches-East York.

By MARY-MARGARET McMAHON

MPP BEACHES-EAST YORK

The number one reason I jumped back into politics is the Climate Emergency. Around the world, we are seeing the effects of climate change at an exponential rate.

Extreme heat, devastating floods, horrific forest fires. 50+ degree temperatures where people, animals, and agriculture will be severely disadvantaged, throwing our current systems into chaos. As an eternal optimist, even I find the pace and the severity alarming. This is the crisis of our lifetime and now is the time for action!

I believe that we can all work together to transition to a resilient Province of Ontario.

To this end, I have called on the government to pass my motion to build an All-Party Climate Change Committee at Queen’s Park. Emergency preparedness is not a partisan issue. We all need to tackle this crisis together. It can be done. Ontario is falling behind – the key to a successful climate future will be action – immediate action!

There are many things we can and should be doing immediately to mitigate the worst of climate change. The price tag on climate inaction is high.
In the recent report by the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario we saw blatantly how the lack of climate ready infrastructure in our province will cost us. They estimate these environmental hazards will add roughly $6 billion to the costs of maintaining public buildings and facilities in a state of good repair over the remainder of this decade.

Worse, in the high emissions scenario, where we don’t act now on climate adaptation and improving our infrastructure to prepare, cumulative costs would increase by $116 billion, or $1.5 billion per year on average over the rest of the century.

We can safeguard our infrastructure from this problem right now – with the first step being creating a dedicated climate committee for legislation surrounding the climate crisis.

Many businesses, municipalities and organizations are already leading the charge. But they need provincial government support and leadership. We can provide this assistance by creating a committee dedicated to addressing these issues. It does not have to be a choice between the economy and a sustainable future.

Our province cannot afford inaction. This is more than an environmental issue, it is a financial crisis and disaster-in-waiting.

There is an opportunity to build up the green economy by creating thousands of jobs for Ontarians in renewable energy, deep retrofits, and resilient infrastructure that will make us truly open for business.

Ontario is a world leader in so many ways, and we can be an environmental leader as well. We can mitigate the worst of climate change. We can do it now in the 43rd Parliament! Ontarians are looking to us to work together to get things done for the Greater Good! Change brings opportunity.

We can look at the next generation and say we did this for you.

There is so MUCH climate despair and anxiety, especially amongst our youth. Our kids, our grandkids, our nieces and nephews, our friends, and neighbours are looking to us for direction and leadership.

There is still hope to be had to act on creating a resilient earth and society for them to carry forward. Life doesn’t get better by chance. It only gets better by change.


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