A March 15 delegation from the Mission Matsqui Fraser Canyon Green Party of Canada, appealed to council to create a climate action plan. The answer: Wait roughly six months.
The president of the federal party’s local association, Nicole Bellay, called on the local government to join eight other municipalities in the Lower Mainland and create a climate action plan.
“Right now the global average temperature has risen 1.1 degrees. In Canada 1.7 degrees and the Canadian Arctic, it is 2.3 degrees. Even if we stop all emissions today, the temperature will still increase because the current CO2, already in the atmosphere, lives for 300 to 1,000 years.”
She challenged council to create targets in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose scientists state the need to keep the planet’s temperature increase to 1.5 degrees below 2010 levels. This would require lowering emissions by 45 per cent and achieving net zero temperature by 2050 – the goals set by the other Lower Mainland climate action plans.
Canada Currently ranks sixth of 195 countries for emissions, following China, the U.S., India, Russia, and Japan, whose populations are much greater, Bellay said.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimate that every dollar invested now will prevent having to spend three to five dollars in future clean and recovery costs, she pointed out.
Bellay also suggested creating a climate action committee made up of residents, who would work in collaboration with District staff to help create the plan.
While councillors were generally supportive of the idea, they were not prepared to discuss details until the District’s environmental charter was updated and revised. Staff said that is approximately six months away. The last time the charter was updated was 2008.
Coun. Jag Gill initially made a motion to discuss having staff provide a report outlining what a climate action plan would look like, and what resources it would take, but the other councillors said they would rather wait on the charter.
“I think it puts everybody in the room on the spot (to go) into any depth at this time. It’s a big subject, a very heavy subject, and it takes a lot of consideration and preparation to discuss it properly,” said Coun. Cal Crawford. “I wouldn’t be in favour of any motions this evening.”
Staff said many examples from other municipalities serve as a guide for climate change objectives, such as waste management and water conservation objectives, and sustainability is coming regardless.
Bellay, with the last word, said the District needs to start with a target, and then formulate a plan to reach those targets: “Not the other way around.”