Councillor Rik Logtenberg. Photo: City of Nelson video screenshot

Kootenay city councillor starts nationwide climate caucus for municipal politicians

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 Black Press Media. “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.

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

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.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Oak Bay pandemic project gets 300 submissions

Gage Gallery exhibit shows how people cope during crisis

Peninsula food bank receives $1,000 donation from local retailer

House of Lily Koi raised the money through the annual food bank fundraiser

Garden-sharing map connects Victoria landowners and gardeners

U-Map created by Young Agrarians after COVID-19 created uptick in garden matching requests

Saanich wins award for climate plan cut from 2020 budget

‘It’s truly an exceptional plan,’ says councillor disappointed with lack of funding

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read