Three regional directors including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor recommend the declaration of a climate emergency.
The trio — which also includes Sooke Mayor Maja Tait — calls on the Capital Regional District Board (CRD) to declare a climate emergency, drawing inspiration from comparable declarations around the world.
“We are in a new reality,” reads a report from the trio to the parks and environment committee which will consider the recommendation at its next meeting Jan. 23. “Bolder leadership is needed in the post-IPCC report world.”
An October 2018 report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the planet has only until 2030 to avoid devastating climate change effects. It says emissions need to be 45 per cent below what they were in 2010 to to help meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. It calls on signatories to limit the increase in the global temperature to 1.5˚C. Current predictions call for an increase of 3˚C.
In their appeal, the trio notes that “limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities” in calling on the CRD to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
The trio also calls on the board to secure “the powers and resources” necessary from the provincial and federal governments to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.
As such, the document also appears as an implicit concession that the region currently lacks the necessary means to give any any future declaration of a climate emergency teeth.
Taylor, for this part, acknowledges the challenges ahead.
“Being carbon-neutral by 2030 is an ambitious timeline, but a necessary one,” he said. “What we know is that the cost of inaction towards climate change is far greater than the cost of action. We can have a significant impact on climate change at the regional-level and I hope that the CRD Board will recognize just how important it is to address this issue.”
He also insisted that the recommendation is not symbolic.
“I can assure you that this is not simply a symbolic motion,” he said. “This motion gives our region the opportunity to join multiple other cities around the world in working towards being carbon neutral by 2030.”