TORONTO, Canada — Green infrastructure has been recognized by the Ontario government as a critical strategy for climate change and adaptation, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, an association working to promote the industry throughout North America.

The Ontario Climate Change Strategy, released last month by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, details the region’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and build a prosperous low-carbon economy.

“The recognition of green infrastructure as a major part of the solution to climate change in this report is a breakthrough,” said Steven Peck, founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “Now we need to convince policy makers to invest in green roofs, green walls, urban forests and other forms of green infrastructure; to match words with deeds.”

This sets out the government of Ontario’s vision for combating climate change and achieving greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The plan will establish a future where greenhouse gas reduction goes hand-in-hand with a growing, efficient, competitive and productive economy in the province of Ontario. As defined in the report, green infrastructure will be used to restore ecosystems, reduce atmospheric carbon and protect and expand carbon sinks.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and its partners such as Green Infrastructure Ontario, Landscape Ontario and the Ontario Parks Association lobbied for green infrastructure to be featured prominently as one of the key action items to achieve a 37 percent emissions reduction by 2030 and as a method of establishing a new low-carbon economy.

Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, recently spoke at Grey to Green 2015, a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Conference held in Toronto, about the impacts of climate change.

“The solution to climate change is here,” he said. “It is in the individuals, cities and towns, businesses, and First Nations and Metis communities of Ontario. The cost of doing nothing to fight climate change far outweighs the cost of solving the problem. Ontario is prepared to change and move forward because our future depends on the choices we make today. … We must do it. We can do it. And we will do it, together.”

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