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February 20, 2007
Parks and Environment Committee hears from climate change experts
The City of Toronto’s Parks and Environment Committee heard from seven experts on climate change and air quality today. Their input will be integrated into a staff report scheduled to go before Executive Committee in March, and a two-phase action plan on climate change and air quality to be submitted in the June/July (Phase I) and Fall 2007 (Phase II) timeframes.

The experts covered a wide range of topics ranging from the effects of climate change on personal health, to the opportunity to create broad new programs that will improve energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

The speakers were:
• Mary Pickering, Associate Director, Toronto Atmospheric Fund
• Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health
• Dr. Keith Stewart, Climate Change Campaign Manager, WWF-Canada
• Jose Etcheverry, Research and Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation
• Frantz Hartman, Co-Executive Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance
• Eva Ligeti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership
• Mark S. Winfield, Director, Environmental Governance, Pembina Institute.

The committee received the latest information and research on the challenges and opportunities related to protecting our climate, and got a glimpse of programs in operation in various cities across the world. While there are many areas of critical need, the experts agree that the transportation sector and the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings are crucial areas of opportunity. The experts also agree that there is an urgent need to act, and that the City of Toronto has an opportunity and obligation to show leadership on the issue of climate change and air quality.

“Engaging the residents of Toronto in the development of our action plan will be a critical next step,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher, Chair, Parks and Environment Committee. “The public needs to understand the issues; we expect neighbourhood action plans to be a key component of the City’s overall plan.”

City staff will document and further explore the opportunities discussed today, and translate them into a proposed action plan on climate change and air quality for the City of Toronto. Further consultation with key stakeholders, including the public, business and industry, academics, and environmental organizations will take place in the coming months. Public consultations are expected to begin in April.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and livability for all its residents.

Media contact: Councillor Paula Fletcher, Chair, Parks and Environment Committee, 416-392-4060 (office), 416-200-5810 (cell)



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