CRD asked to declare climate emergency

The board of the Capital Regional District will be asked next week to declare a climate emergency and take a leadership role toward climate neutrality by 2030.

A letter from parks and environment committee members Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait requests that the CRD board chairperson ask all local governments in the region to declare climate emergencies.

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“This is an important step to expedite our action on climate change,” said Taylor. “This is the most pressing issue facing our world and with this motion, we have the opportunity to be leaders and take bold action.

“We would be the first in Canada to do it — that would be very special.”

While some might worry about the cost, Taylor said, the cost of inaction is far greater.

The directors also want the board chairperson to call on the provincial and federal ministers of the environment “to provide the powers and resources to make the region’s 2030 target possible.”

Cities in the United Kingdom, including Bristol, Manchester and London, have declared climate emergencies and are accelerating their paths to carbon neutrality, says the report submitted by Helps, Taylor and Tait.

Cities in the United States and Australia have also declared emergencies, according to the report.

The CRD has long been a climate leader, said the report.

“We have an opportunity as a board and as a region to take leadership in British Columbia and in Canada,” says the proposal, asking for CRD support.

“Our research demonstrates clearly that taking action is the lowest-cost, most prudent and also most inspiring way to proceed in an era where the scientists have given us 11 years to help create a sustainable future.”

In October 2018, a report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said limiting warming might still be possible with ambitious action from all groups, including local communities.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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