Toronto hit by ice storm, hundreds of thousands without power

toronto
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

The second climate disaster of the year hit Toronto, Canada (here was the first) yesterday as an ice storm took down thousands of trees and power lines, leaving roads blocked and 300,000 customers and up to a million people without power in freezing weather. The head of the local power utility says that it is the worst they have ever seen.

The Mayor, Rob Ford, refuses to call a state of emergency, saying "Yes, there are a few people who have been inconvenienced, that’s Mother Nature for you." He can tell that to my sick 82 year old mother-in-law trapped in an unheated dark house in the suburbs. But under the rules that stripped the Mayor of most of his powers, if he declares a state of emergency, all of his powers are delegated to the Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, so he won't do it.

My street in Toronto/CC BY 2.0

Deputy Mayor Kelly, unlike Ford, is a smart man who used to teach history. (this is his reading list.) However he is also a climate skeptic who hands out Forbes Magazine articles that quote the Heartland Institute that claim the globe is actually cooling, while at the same time saying that global warming is good for Toronto.

“If you go back in time, millions of years, when the earth was really warm, you found trees in the Arctic. So, more warmth, more trees, it’s as simple as that.”

His favourite source of this information is Bjorn Lomborg’s book, The Skeptical Environmentalist: The Real State of the World.

Andrea Williams/CC BY 2.0

Twice this year, Toronto has been hit by climate disasters like none we have seen since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. One of our leaders is a buffoon looking out for nobody but himself, and the other is a climate skeptic who can't decide if the world is getting cooler or if warming is a good thing. It's clear that good governance is a key part of building a resilient city, and Toronto deserves better.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Toronto