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June 20, 2008
London City Council
City of London
300 Dufferin Ave., London ON N6A 4L9
RE: Physicians Support Moratorium on Drive-Thrus
Dear Members of Council,
I am writing on behalf of the 3,000 members of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment to support a moratorium on drive-thrus in the City of London.
We are taking this position because we are very concerned about the climate change and smog effects associated with car exhaust as automobiles pass through these facilities.
Recently, a group of more than 1,700 prominent American scientists and economists –including six Nobel Prize winners — released a joint statement calling on policymakers to require immediate, deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. The statement marks the first time leading U.S. scientists and economists have joined together to make such an appeal.
The statement stresses that implementing policies to achieve swift and substantial emission cuts is economically sound as well as vitally necessary to limit the worst consequences of climate change.
“There is a strong consensus that we must do something about reducing the emissions that cause global warming,” said James McCarthy, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and one of the statement’s authors. “The debate right now is about how much we need to cut. The fact that so many scientists and economists have spoken out and signed this letter should give policymakers the confidence that we can avert serious adverse climate impacts.”
Climate science has demonstrated that the climate is changing and will continue to change over the rest of this century due to greenhouse gas emission from human activities – primarily the use of fossil fuels. One of the major contributors to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions burden is road transportation
As well, we are concerned about cars’ toxic emissions. Vehicles are the primary source of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates and benzene, a carcinogen. In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada.
In Ontario, the number of “smog days” nearly quadrupled from 15 in 1995 to 53 in 2005. If nothing is done to clean the air, medical experts estimate that by 2026 the number of smog-related premature deaths in Ontario alone will hit 10,000 annually. The combined health care and lost productivity costs are expected to exceed $1 billion. Pollution is a particularly serious issue for London, the city with the province’s second highest number of smog days.
London has a chance to be an environmental leader by surpassing Toronto’s drive-thru legislation and adopting a full moratorium on new applications. We encourage you to make this decision as it will truly protect the health and well-being of your residents.
Thank you for considering this request.
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