Ontario’s environmental watchdog warns the province needs to do more to offset the growing impacts of climate change, and is ill-prepared for another ice storm.
Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller says there are gaps in the province’s climate change strategy to limit the damage from fiercer and more frequent ice storms, heavy rains and heat waves.
Mr. Miller says the Ministry of Energy isn’t mentioned in the plan, even though scientists predict an increase in devastating ice storms like the one that collapsed hydro towers in 1998, causing large blackouts.
He says that’s a concern because the ministry is responsible for planning “costly and potentially vulnerable” hydro towers and transmission lines.
Mr. Miller also points out the long-term decline in Great Lakes water levels could reduce electricity generation by more than 1,100 megawatts.
The commissioner warns climate change will mean more warm-climate diseases such as West Nile virus and an influx of new warm-weather pests in Ontario.
“What we don’t spend on adaptation now will cost us much more in the future,” Mr. Miller said as he released his report.
“The government itself has indicated that the cost of extreme weather events could rise to $5.66-billion per year by mid-century.”