The health of our children and the future of our planet hinge in part on our ability to confront climate change and alter the way we consume energy.
That may sound dramatic, but science and weather patterns have shown us there is no time left to delay. Curbing the emission of greenhouse gases that cause climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing politicians and policy makers around the world.
But this challenge is also an opportunity to reboot our manufacturing, export and technology sectors and build a strong 21st-century economy based on renewable energy and conservation methods. Ontario’s clean-tech businesses and research initiatives are growing faster than those in any other province, providing jobs for 65,000 Ontarians and generating $8 billion in annual revenue.
In 2014, Ontario closed the last coal-fired power plant. As we turned to cleaner electricity generation, greenhouse-gas emissions dropped off dramatically. So did the number of days with air-quality warnings, not to mention the number of emergency-room visits caused by pollution, such as those associated with asthma attacks and respiratory difficulties.
In addition to making coal power a thing of the past, Ontario significantly curbed the use of cosmetic pesticides, which means fewer pollutants are seeping into our water supply.
Our action not only protected the environment, but it led to a big improvement in our quality of life, especially for children, parents and seniors.
But coal was just the low-hanging fruit of the climate-change challenge. If we are to truly tackle this problem, more must be done, and we must all share responsibility.
Many of you also feel passionate about curbing climate change and using cleaner energy. The Ontario government wants to hear your ideas on how to continue building up a cleaner province. Go to ontario.ca/climatechange learn more about how you can make a difference in your community, and what Ontario is focused on achieving.
Ontario will be host to the Climate Summit of the Americas in July. It is an opportunity for policymakers and environmental advocates from around the world to share ideas and push forward on the work that needs to be done to curb climate change.
I’m sorry to say this, but there are still some politicians who believe that climate change is not a threat to our economy and quality of life, and that the scientific facts that prove it is a threat are somehow flawed.
But we must remain steadfast. Our government believes we have the momentum and the solutions to cut greenhouse-gas emissions now without damaging our economy. If we wait, however, the risks to our economy and health will grow.