Saturday, May 10, 2008

Every community should be preparing for climate change

An editorial by Dr. David Pearson in the Kingston Whig-Standard (Canada): "Ahead of the Storm" is the title of a City of Toronto report that should be on the desk of every mayor in Ontario. Its authors describe it as "an action-oriented framework that is designed to help members of the public and other stakeholders engage in the process of designing and implementing a climate change adaptation strategy for Toronto." Developed by the city with the assistance of the excellent Clean Air Partnership, it shows a clear understanding of the issues. It is a framework that can and should be applied to every community in the province - in fact, to every community across the country.

Adapting to climate change includes actions that reduce the effects of heat waves, flooding from intense rainstorms, damage and loss of services from high winds and ice storms, as well as new insect pests, changes in lake levels and threats to drinking water quality. However successful we might be in reducing future emissions of climate-warming gases, the composition of the atmosphere will not return to natural concentrations for centuries.

Every community on the planet is destined to live under new weather patterns with new and, in many cases, severe challenges to the livelihood and lifestyle of its citizens. Those new patterns are becoming clearer with every passing season, and preparing for the predictable consequences is a responsibility of all governments. Toronto's document, and the process of consultation used to produce it, is an example to us all....

Toronto seen from space, NASA, Wikimedia Commons

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