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Environmental watchdog warns of gaps in Ontario's climate change strategy

TORONTO, Ont. – It’s been a strange winter in the GTA, with milder than usual temperatures, and Ontario’s environmental watchdog is warning that there are gaps in the province’s climate change strategy.

Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller says this means the city is not prepared for severe weather like another ice storm or heat wave.

Miller warned that Toronto is just one heat wave away from a blackout because of aging equipment and a system near capacity.

“If we have an exceptionally hot year, which we haven’t had in the last few years, we overload the downtown system. We have a lot of old equipment that goes faulty in hot weather. You could lose the power in the economic core of the country.”

Miller says the government has said the cost of extreme weather events could rise to $5.6-billion-a-year by mid century but is doing very little to prepare.

He says scientists also predict an increase in devastating ice storms like the one that collapsed hydro towers in 1998 which caused widespread blackouts.