Ontario’s rapidly changing climate will increase the likelihood of weather events such as flooding and extreme heat in coming decades. The province needs to focus on adaptation measures now to address these and other potential issues, according to a new report released by the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA), the group representing the province’s environment and cleantech companies.
The report titled, Resilient Infrastructure, Resilient Economy, Resilient Future: Exploring Ontario’s climate vulnerability and the case for resilience, was written by a range of senior experts and thinkers on the front lines of addressing the disruption that climate change will cause.
“Reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) is important and we need to keep doing that,” said Alex Gill, executive director of ONEIA, “but we urgently need to focus on practical measures to protect our infrastructure and communities from the climate-related disruptions we know are coming. Severe weather events are going to happen no matter what we do, and we need to act now.”
The report was produced by a group of ONEIA members led by Janet Bobechko, a leading climate lawyer at WeirFoulds LLP and Janya Kelly, Ph.D., a climate change specialist with Golder, a member of WSP. The report looked at how the province can prepare for an anticipated increase in the frequency of climate-related disruptions such as extreme heat events, ice storms and unexpected flooding. Making Ontario’s infrastructure more resilient to climate impacts will not only protect people and communities, but it can also encourage made-in-Ontario climate innovations that can then be exported globally.
The working group addressed five broad areas:
1. What are the climate challenges facing Ontario in the coming decades?
2. What benefits can we derive from proactively addressing them?
3. How do we define climate resilient infrastructure?
4. Which areas of critical infrastructure are particularly vulnerable to climate shifts and what should we do to protect them?
5. What opportunities for investment and growth does resiliency present and how can we take advantage of them?
“We know investing in climate resilient infrastructure provides many potential benefits while reducing or avoiding climate-related disruptions” said Kelly. “The members who contributed to this report used their industry experience to outline practical actions to move Ontario towards a more resilient future.”
“Taking positive urgent action to address climate resilient infrastructure will protect communities and build confidence for investors in Ontario”, stated Bobechko. “Environmental Social Governance (ESG) measures are increasingly important for investors. Addressing climate resilience in asset management will continue to drive positive investment decisions in Ontario.”
To download the report, click here.