Ontarians will go to the polls in six months. It’s hard to predict what the public’s mood will be on June 2 when voters head to the polls, but it’s safe to say that in addition to having a chance to have a say in how they felt the pandemic was handled in the province, the Affordability issues will be the primary concern for most.
And if you are concerned about affordability, you should be concerned about climate change. While conservative politicians in Canada have done a very good job of smearing climate change mitigation as fundamentally unaffordable, the reality is that if we don’t act on climate change now, we will face a much higher bill in the future.
In 2019, Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner asked the Office of Financial Accountability (FAO) to report on the financial costs of climate change, specifically the financial impact on the province’s public assets. On December 7, the report was released.
It is important to note that the report itself was limited to direct costs of public assets. Indirect costs, such as fatalities, power outages, supply chain disruptions or damage to privately owned buildings, were not covered. Furthermore, the report only focused on three aspects of climate change: extreme heat, extreme rainfall, and freeze-thaw cycles.
And even with those limitations, the report’s figures are staggering: “In the medium emissions scenario, FAO estimates that by 2100, additional infrastructure-related costs for maintaining Ontario’s public buildings could range from $ 29 billion (3.7% more than the baseline)) to $ 134 billion (16.8%) by 2100. In the high emissions scenario, these additional costs could range from $ 55 billion (6, 9%) and $ 232 billion (29%) by 2100. “
In the short term, assuming a stable climate for the rest of this decade, we are facing a massive increase: “FAO estimates that in the absence of adaptation, the cumulative cost of keeping public buildings in good condition will increase by around $ 6 billion. relative to reference spending in a stable climate for the rest of this decade (2022-30) “.
None of this is good news. It’s particularly bleak once you consider that Doug Ford and PCs have not only stalled on the climate file, but have been actively hostile to meaningful action on climate change.
One of the first political actions of the Ford government was cancel cap and Ontario trade program, which led to the scrapping of a number of green initiatives, including modernizing homes and businesses with more energy-efficient technologies and rebates for electric vehicles (EV). The Ford government also canceled hundreds and hundreds of renewable energies projects, and famous lost a court battle which forced gas stations to put stickers full of misleading information about the federal carbon price on the pumps.
With Ford at the helm, Ontario has undoubtedly regressed in the fight against climate change with myopic and populist political decisions.
Ford may not care about the weather in the same way or for the same reasons as politicians on the left, and ultimately he doesn’t need to. We just need the profound implications of climate change to be taken seriously. If the loss of human or animal life is not compelling, then perhaps the fiscal impacts are.
Opinion: Doug Ford’s #climate neglect comes at a great cost to #Ontario voters, writes @natobserver columnist @supriyadwivedi. #onpoli #ClimateCrisis #ClimateEmergency
No reasonable person can claim that climate change does not have significant costs. In addition to the overwhelming figures in the FAO report, consider the fact that, according to the Canadian Insurance BureauInsured losses caused by extreme weather events cost $ 2.4 billion in 2020. Climate change is already costing us a lot of money.
In the last election, progressive conservatives were highly successful in framing the issue of action against climate change as an affront to regular and everyday voters. In fact, Ford and the PCs tried to paint anyone who understood the science behind climate change, and was forced to want to do something about it, as an out-of-touch elitist hell-bent on wasting taxpayer money.
Ford basically built its political brand as the ultimate taxpayer champion. It is almost certain that in the next campaign, Ford and Ontario PCs will once again claim to be the only party that respects taxpayers and their hard-earned dollars. However, without meaningful policies to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the claim to be mindful of taxpayers falls apart.