Everyone, we’re nearly done summer. That means its time to look back and review the policies over the summer. We started with the Ontario budget plan, where the Ontario government has committed $7 billion to protecting the environment. This plan includes the corrected section where natural gas is not omitted from the system. Next, the Federal government pledged $197.1 million over five years to increase ocean and freshwater scientific research and monitoring. They also built conservation targets of protecting 10% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020. Next blog was much closer to home where the Federal government committed to amending the Rouge National Park Act. Here, the Ontario government had agreed to transfer over 9,000 acres of the Scarborough Rouge Valley over to the Federal government. A considerably larger scale deal that occurred in Ottawa at the North American Leaders Summit, where the leaders of Mexico, America and Canada met to discuss their climate change efforts. Here they committed to 50% clean energy by 2025; reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45% by 2025, and finally habitat preservation for the monarch butterfly. As the weeks went on, there was a collaboration between 20 Canadian companies that all signed on to join the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. The coalition is designed to bring governments and businesses together to identify and address the challenges to carbon pricing as a way to combat climate change. Diplomats from all around the world even met in Vienna to improve the Montreal Protocol. They agreed to avoid a rise by 0.5C by 2100 and 0.1 by 2050. This will be done by using the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund (MLF), where donor countries will help developing countries phase out CFCs. Getting a little closer to home, the next week I wrote about Wataynikaneyap phasing out diesel power and joining Ontario’s hydro power. The Ontario government will invest $1.35 Billion towards the transmission in order to help save millions of dollars for the locals and help protect the environment from diesel carbon emissions. Finally, I wrote about the IJC, a committee that helps fix disputes over transboundary water. Here, the IJC wrote about 32 policies that could be implemented to protect the Lake of the Woods water basin. Four of which can be implemented immediately.
Looking back, I look at how much we’ve come the past year. We’ve been getting better: we’ve (our governments) gone through global collaboration, at the COP21, to inhibit climate change and shortly our governments, provincial and federal, sat to discuss an action plan; the North American governments came together to collaborate on an action plan to better our three countries; we met with countries in Vienna to use alternatives to HFCs; we met with businesses to sign a carbon pricing initiative; and finally we’ve worked with the IJC to come up with several policies that could be used to help the Lake of the Woods basin. If you haven’t gotten where I’m trying to go, I’ll tell you: there’s a lot of meeting. There’s a lot of spending as well now that I think about it. I met a lady where I work, I can’t remember where she was flying to but she mentioned how working in an interest group there is a lot of flying around to have a meeting about having a meeting. Its 2016, we’ve had years to have meetings, why haven’t these meetings come and gone already? Were there other topics to discuss at the time? Was there a lack of interest in the topics? The other pattern emerging is money. $1.35 billion, $7 billion, from one of Khan’s blogs I found that there is a $237 million investment in genome research (I’m not against research, its progress so this isn’t a complaint, more to prove a point about money spending), The Ontario Action Plan will cost $8.3 billion. A lot of money is being spent to invest in cleaner energy and fighting climate change.
The future is going to bring a lot of different things for Canada and the world in terms of climate change and new technologies to combat it. The government of Canada want to plan for a sustainable future. They outlined 8 goals for the foreseeable future. Goal 1 is to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to mitigate the severity and unavoidable impacts of climate change. Goal 2 is to minimize the threats to air quality so that the air Canadians breathe is clean and support healthy ecosystems. Goal 3 is to protect the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems. Goal 4 is to enhance information to ensure that Canadians can manage and use water resources in a manner consistent with the sustainability of the resource. Goal 5 is to maintain or restore populations of wildlife to healthy levels. Goal 6 is to maintain productive and resilient ecosystems with the capacity to recover and adapt; and protect areas in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations. Goal 7 is to build sustainable production and consumption of biological resources that are within ecosystem limits. Finally, goal 8 is to minimize the environmental footprint of government operations. With these 8 goals in mind, look for changes in these areas and as you, do look back at past government policies and reflect on how well or poorly they have achieved their goals. The government is ultimately accountable to you; if you’re not satisfied with their changes let your local MP be aware of your concerns. Sure, the government will keep changing the way we live, whether for the better or worse, but it’s up to us to make sure it stays on the better side of the line. We have made progress and we have the materials and resources to continue that progress, which is something to be optimistic about, but we, as citizens, should not be complacent in our actions.
By next year I hope to see a cleaner Mississauga and all around GTA. I hope to see more electric vehicles on the road and cleaner technologies being used by transportation and other industries around the country. I hope to see Ontario continue to invest in cleaner energy and actually some returns on those investments, not only environmentally but financially as well. I hope to see clean water being used in a sustainable way. I heard about a petition going on against Nestle water being allowed to pump water from the Guelph region aquifers. Bottled water is an unnecessary product and I feel like we’ve been unable to limit our use of it. More and more people need to be able to carry their own bottled water from home, its much cheaper and much more of a convenience than carrying around plastic bottled water. This is an example of not only government policy, but of consumer trends. Like I said earlier, we need to play our part and stop using so much of an unnecessary product. One shouldn’t point their fingers at the government for action, point it at themselves. That’s ultimately what I hope for the next year, personal awareness and action.
Trudeau casually reminding you to save the environment.
(Photo credit: Darpa Magazine)