Climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It affects us all, regardless of party affiliation. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it has become under the provincial government of Doug Ford.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report painting global warming as a grim and inevitable outcome if we don’t act quickly. The report shows what would happen if the global average temperatures rose by 1.5 C, and what it will take to cap warming at that level.

If warming continues, the data shows by the end of this century temperatures will be 4 C higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. To the average person, four degrees may not sound concerning. But, it is.

In 2015, all nations agreed to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The agreement brought the nations together to take actions to limit global warming to 2 C while striving for the harder to reach goal of 1.5 C.

However, under Ford’s leadership, Ontario has taken a step backwards. Ford continued his crusade against carbon tax when he scrapped the entire Green Energy Act in September, and failed to offer a replacement. The premier is also prepared to take the federal government to court over the carbon-tax provisions.  For Ford this isn’t a matter of environment, but rather economics. It’s all about the money.

To put it simply, carbon tax reduces carbon emissions by making things more expensive. Incentivizing people to use less, to save more. According to Ford, eliminating carbon taxes will save the average family $260 per year. But, a new report by Canadians for Clean Prosperity says otherwise. While carbon pricing has been called a “tax on everything,” it isn’t the robbery of Ontarians Ford is painting it to be.

The report found the federal carbon tax would cost an Ontario family earning $60,000-$80,000 an extra $239 next year, in both direct and indirect costs. However, that same family would also get a federal rebate of $350.

In a debate earlier this year, Ford admitted he believes in global warming — but, not in carbon tax, cap-and-trade systems. According to Ford they are “no more than government cash grabs that do nothing for the environment.” It is a paradoxical position to admit that there is truth to an imminent threat, and yet, do nothing to prevent it.  Whether you’re Liberal, PC or somewhere in-between, Ontarians deserve a plan to address climate issues.

The IPCC report explains that emissions need to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030, and essentially rendered obsolete by 2050 to keep us from nature’s apocalyptic wrath.

The IPCC’s warning is clear: the consequences will be severe. Ontario has a responsibility, just like the rest of the world, to do our part. Letting temperatures rise will affect human lives, wildlife, food production, natural systems, and the economy.

The environment is not a political debate. It’s an issue all of humanity must face — and that includes the Progressive Conservative government.

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