Bill 139 2006
An Act to make April 21
Climate Change Awareness Day
Climate change has become a harsh reality of living in Ontario and anywhere on this planet.
Often characterized by an increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans, climate change has in recent decades gone beyond occasional milder winters and scorching hot summers and has taken on frightening new dimensions with a marked increase in severe, destructive, and often cataclysmic, weather.
Extreme weather has become much more commonplace around the world with such phenomena as unseasonable torrential rains, powerful floods, intense heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, tornados, cyclones, etc., all resulting in calamities like rapidly melting glaciers, wildly varying agricultural yields, reduced summer streamflows, famines, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of diseases and pestilences.
Parents today are forced to huddle their children away from the sun, fearful of damaging ultraviolet, or UV, radiation which can lead to agonizing sunburn in a matter of minutes and can ultimately precipitate cancers and the early death of these future citizens of Ontario and the world.
Ontario's polar bears are dying off as their ice-borne homes and hunting grounds melt into the sea - as can testify the aboriginal Inuit citizens of the North who cling with shifting footing to our melting ice caps and a changing way of life.
The fact that climate change can in significant part be attributed to human behaviour is alarming and unacceptable. Humankind has wielded the power to help bring about climate change and must now turn those energies to reversing this cycle.
Recognizing the perils of climate change, many in the international community are taking action to do just that. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was established in 1988 by the United Nations to assess the risk of climate change brought about by expanding human activity.
The IPCC estimates that global temperatures are likely poised to increase considerably by almost 2 to 6 degrees Celsius in the coming years. The IPCC's upcoming report Climate Change 2007: Mitigation is certain to provide more damning evidence of a planet in crisis - while outlining ways in which we can turn the tide of this surging wave of change.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was created over a decade ago to set out global initiatives for greenhouse gas reduction. One of the most well-known projects that came from the UNFCC is the Kyoto Protocol.
Provincially, we have undertaken many initiatives which reflect the spirit of Kyoto and which will help to decelerate the effects of global warming. These include services and incentives for Ontarians to use public transit or carpooling to help eliminate single-occupant vehicle use and subsequently reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.
Initiatives like the Drive Clean Program and Smog Patrol also help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while the Five Point Action Plan for Cleaner Air, announced in June 2004, requires industry to reduce their emissions of harmful pollutants. Ontario's Building Code has also been updated and requires adherence to the most energy efficient standards in Canada. More energy efficient buildings translate into fewer greenhouse gas emissions from home furnaces and electricity providers.
Ontario will continue to promote efforts to improve air quality and address climate change and to support a national process that will allow Canada to continue fighting climate change. There is much more to be done, and curbing global warming will require a consolidated effort from the international community.
The only way to ensure that we can work together globally is to increase awareness locally and let Ontarians know what they can do on an everyday basis to reduce their contribution to climate change.
Without action by us all, within the next few generations - in our lifetime and that of our children and grandchildren - Earth will become a very dangerous place to live.
Ontarians must heed the dire warnings of an overwhelmingly united scientific community. Recognition of the issue by all citizens is the key step in working to reverse the effects of climate change.
It is for these reasons that April 21 will be recognized as Climate Change Awareness Day in the Province of Ontario.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Climate Change Awareness Day
1. April 21 in each year is hereby named Climate Change Awareness Day.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Climate Change Awareness Day Act, 2006.
The purpose of the Bill is to make April 21 in each year Climate Change Awareness Day.