Putting the brakes on climate breakdown starts with this election

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By Ginny Colling

Ginny Colling was passionate about the environment before retiring from teaching college communications students. After retiring she trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and has presented to numerous groups about the climate crisis.

Recent high gas prices are driving up demand for EVs, but the wait for one can be months, if not years.

Crunch time.

For students, that can mean exams.  For teachers, report card deadlines.  For accountants, tax season.

For all of us, collectively, the stress test of meeting our climate targets.

The problem is, that deadline can seem nebulous. It’s out there, somewhere, someday. But that someday is looming, and it’s not a deadline you can pull an all-nighter to meet. If we miss it, there’s no fine we can pay to compensate — just eons of penalties.

Two months ago the United Nations warned that climate breakdown is rapidly accelerating and the worst effects will hit us much harder and sooner than originally thought. They already are. Remember the B.C. fires, heat waves and floods of 2021? Costs of those November floods are now approaching $9 billion. And 595 people died of B.C.’s extreme summer heat. In Ontario we don’t see that number of deaths and roads washed out — yet — but we do experience droughts and reduced crop yields. And Lyme-disease bearing ticks. And tree-killing emerald ash beetles. They both like the increased heat.

Climate disruption is a big problem and we have to pass this test. So what can we do? Look to the near future — the provincial election on June 2. We can mark our X beside the candidates and their parties who will help put the brakes on climate breakdown.

To do that, let’s ask our candidates a few pointed questions.

  1. What would your party do to increase the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps? Burning gas or diesel heats up the planet. Using electric power, not so much — by a long shot. Recent high gas prices are driving up demand for EVs, but the wait for one can be months, if not years. Part of the problem: 70 to 80 per cent of new EVs in Canada go to two provinces, B.C. and Quebec. Why? Both provinces offer rebates to EV buyers and require a certain percentage of car company sales to be electric. In addition to EV rebates, the federal government provides rebates for heat pumps to replace gas or oil furnaces. We need to accelerate those transitions in Ontario.
  1. What would your party do to produce cleaner power and increase energy conservation? Ontario used to have some of the cleanest power in the country, with as little as four per cent coming from polluting natural gas. Right now, our provincial government plans to ratchet that up to ­­­­­­­­­­25 per cent. That flies in the face of national and international goals to cut emissions by almost half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 to keep global temperatures more livable.
  1. What would your party do to protect our farmland and natural spaces like forests and wetlands? We don’t just need to reduce carbon emissions; we need to help the natural world store carbon, filter groundwater, protect us from flooding and provide habitat. Our conservation authorities helped by bringing that focus to discussions of new developments. But their powers were hacked away and flood-monitoring ability cut along with their budgets a couple of years ago. Will your party reverse those decisions?

We need those answers by June 2. Crunch time. Because it’s our vote, but it’s our children’s future.


  1. Wayne says:

    Floods, droughts, thunderstorms etc etc have been happening for ever. Please stop blaming everything on ‘climate change’ (lets not forget, you and your ilk were calling it ‘global warming’ just a couple years ago….when that term became factually wrong, you switched the term to ‘climate change’)

  2. Avatar photo Ginny Colling says:

    It still is “global warming”. (The planet has warmed about 1.1 degrees C since the industrial revolution, according to NASA. That’s perilously close to the hopeful limit set in Paris of 1.5 degrees of warming.) But the term global warming seemed to confuse some people when in their area they might have a little more snow or cold than usual. The last eight years have been the hottest years ever recorded, (Nasa again). The warming is a global average, and definitely not wrong.
    Yes we’ve always had storms and droughts, but they’re much more frequent and intense now. Heat is energy. Add that extra heat energy to a storm system or regular drought/heatwave and you get some serious extremes.

    • wayne says:

      The earth has cooled down in the past 25 years. You stopped using the term ‘global warming’ because the facts forced you to stop. And there is no data whatsoever that shows there are more storms, or more severe storms, than there ever was. I’m all for reducing pollution, but I’m not for paranoia.
      Also, we all know China and India are responsible for the vast majority of pollution on this planet. Canada could stop using all fosil fuels (cars, trucks,oil furnaces etc) today, and we would not put a dent in the amount of carbon being emitted into the earths atmosphere. You know all this yet continue trying to blame Canadians for global carbon emissions. Stop being deceitful just to push your agenda.

  3. C. Wilson says:

    In the time I’ve lived in Canada (some thirty-five years now) I have noticed huge differences in the flora and fauna. The flocks of (literally) hundreds of birds that used to come to my country residence, yellow grosbeaks for instance, are now reduced to twenty or thirty on a good day. Flocks of snow buntings, again normally seen in the hundreds in fields, are similar in number of reduction. Driving into Peterborough thirty years ago, a distance of fifty-odd kilometres, resulted in my windshield being covered in bugs. I haven’t had to clean it in many years. Driving around in the countryside, I no longer see the rafts of wildflowers lining the highways, due to the herbicides that kill them off, which also impacts the bird and fish populations.

    We are losing our pollinators, our wildlife and all the ecosystems that support us due to unregulated poisoning of the water and air, as well as climate change. Unfortunately electing people like Doug Ford and the Conservative party, who want to duplicate a massive unnecessary $6 billion highway when we already have one that is underused due to mismanagement, who chase profit for themselves without any responsibility for actual costs, will only add to the climate breakdown. Without all of those delicate ecosystems and pollinators, our ecosystem will break down even more, giving corporate farming more and more power over our food systems. Which, in many investors opinions, is a great thing (for them of course). For the rest of us, well, too bad.

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