CRD looks to be among first in Canada to declare climate emergency

Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor wanted the capital region to be the first in Canada to declare a climate emergency, but says second place will do.

Three members of the Capital Regional District parks and environment committee — Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait — are poised to ask the committee to support a request to the CRD board to declare a climate emergency. The motion goes to the committee on Jan. 23 .

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The region’s politicians were vying to be first in Canada to do so, but Vancouver city councillors declared their own climate emergency this week, before the CRD motion could be heard.

Cities in the United Kingdom and United States have done the same.

“I think it’s terrific it passed unanimously,” Taylor said of Vancouver’s vote. “They have done it, now we can do it.

“We won’t be the first in Canada, they have taken that trophy, but now it will be clear to us that this is do-able.”

The declaration aims to make the CRD a leader in working toward achieving carbon neutrality in the region by 2030. Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing carbon released with the amount of carbon sequestered or offset.

The motion would also have the CRD board chairperson ask all local governments in the region to declare climate emergencies.

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

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

If approved, the motion would also see staff submit a letter of intent to the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions theme partnership program to examine how the capital region can achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

The institute is accepting proposals for its new $1-million program, which will pair researchers with policy and industry leaders to develop climate change solutions for B.C. Projects will be funded to a maximum of $250,000 per year for up to four years.

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