Councillor Rik Logtenberg. Photo: City of Nelson video screenshot

Nelson councillor starts national municipal climate group

Climate Leadership Caucus has 57 members including seven mayors

A Nelson city councillor has started a national organization of municipal government elected officials to advance climate action in Canada.

Rik Logtenberg started the Climate Leadership Caucus (CLC) in January and says it has grown to 57 members from municipalities and regional governments across the country.

“Most of the action to deal with climate change has to happen at the municipal level,” Logtenberg told the Star. “This means hardening our infrastructure: we have to set the building standards to make buildings more efficient, set the traffic patterns that encourage people to walk or bike, and develop the emergency management plan.”

But much of the funding to do these kinds of things has to come from the provincial or federal governments, so the caucus will serve as a lobby group, he said, and well as a networking body.

“We can network together and know what is working and not working and get ideas from each other, make it quicker and more efficient.”

Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria, one of seven mayors in the CLC, told the Star that 70 per cent of global emissions come from cities, and within cities, 50 per cent of emissions come from buildings, 40 per cent from transportation, and 10 per cent from waste.

Buildings, transportation and waste are all under the jurisdiction of cities, she said, but she echoes Logtenberg in saying that cities don’t have the funding to deal properly with them.

There are other areas where cities’ jurisdiction is not so clear-cut, Helps said, and she hopes the caucus can help clarify this.

Plastic bags is a perfect example,” she said. “Ten per cent of our greenhouse gases in the City of Victoria come from waste, and [we are] fighting with the plastic bag association in court as to whether we have the authority to regulate businesses to not have plastic bags, straws, cups or packaging.

“Another example: do local governments have the authority to ban oil tanks? If buildings removed oil tanks, that would reduce emissions by 16 per cent. But do we have that authority? We don’t know.

“A third example is congestion pricing,” Helps said. “People drive into the city, drive around the region. But there is a real cost to polluting, and right now it is free.”

Richard Zurawski, a councillor for the Halifax Regional Municipality and a CLC member, has little time for people who say Canada contributes such a small percentage of greenhouse gases worldwide that action here is pointless.

“Historically Canada and the western world have put about 90 per cent of all the excess CO2 into the atmosphere.” he told the Star. “We have built our civilization on the backs of fossil fuels … so there is a moral obligation for us to deal with what we have done.

“It is a bit rich for Canadians to say it is a drop in the bucket, because we finance the activities that go on in China, we are the consumers that demand this stuff, so is naive and a bit duplicitous to say we do not have an effect.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay directors Leah Main and Ramona Faust are also members of the CLC, as are Rossland mayor Kathy Moore and Nelson councillors Jesse Woodward, Keith Page, and Brittny Anderson.

Related: Climate change to be part of Nelson council strategic priority session



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

After energy pledge, Kootenay leaders roll up sleeves to hammer out details

Meeting this week of local governments to hammer out details of 100-per-cent renewable pledge

Low Lions Club membership could lead to event cancellations

The club’s Canada Day pancake breakfast may be scrapped

RDCK sets deadline for Nelson to agree to compost plan

Mayor John Dooley said the timeline request is unreasonable

Selkirk College valedictorians set for Class of 2019 send-off

Patrick Zubick and Emma Cuell are this year’s valedictorians

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Most Read