When candidates come knocking ... ask for their environmental action plans.
The kids are back in school, the camping gear is back in the closet, the air is getting crisp at night (or should be if it weren’t for climate change) ... now it’s really time to turn our attention to what’s ahead for our City.
The upcoming municipal election is a particularly important one -- we will be electing a new mayor and many new councillors. And that’s why we need to take a close look at what candidates have to say about issues like climate change.
For anyone who thinks climate change is not a municipal election issue, think again: unchecked climate change could cost our city billions in infrastructure damage and health care costs. Inaction on opportunities to improve energy efficiency, harness renewable energy sources and develop new cutting edge technologies will cost us billions more in lost tax revenues and employment, not to mention spending money that supports fossil fuel industry in Alberta, the Middle East and the Gulf.
Dealing with climate change is a bottom-line city-building matter. Any candidate who deserves your support should have some answers.
Thanks to civic-minded folks at the Toronto Board of Trade, Toronto Community Foundation, United Way and others, some of those answers may get an airing at an upcoming series of mayoral debates. Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) was asked to provide some background for this important project – my paper outlining the multiple opportunities and benefits of continued city leadership on climate change can be found here.
And it’s not just an issue for mayoralty candidates. In municipal government, councillors are not toothless backbenchers, but real decision-makers. So when that hopeful knock comes on your door this fall, and hopefully you’ve read my short piece outlining ‘must have’ actions, press candidates for their environmental policies and how they are going to ensure the City reaches its ambitious emission reduction targets.
You and your city deserve serious answers.