A Saanich councillor warns of dire consequences as he urges council to do more to combat climate change.
“Recent evidence suggests that climate change is accelerating and poses an ever growing, potentially critical threat to human society and all species on our planet,” Coun. Vic Derman wrote in a report to his colleagues.
While Derman’s appeal acknowledged the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement that commits signatories to holding future increases in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, he said these “laudable” goals are “not realistic without a very dramatic acceleration of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
Derman, citing a list of climatic changes, said a rapid rise in sea level is one “but only one of the potential consequences we face if climate change is allowed to follow its current trajectory.”
Others include fiscal and social impacts including changes to agriculture and growing refugee streams.
“We are severely mortgaging the future of today’s children and those who follow,” he said. “I doubt any of us would consciously choose to deny these children hope for a decent future but that’s exactly the consequence of a failure to adequately respond.”
Derman said “avoiding the worst” of climate change requires a collective effort comparable to the effort to defeat the Axis powers during the Second War, a point with which he prefaces his demands for more action by council.
“Without question, there is a need for much greater action on the part of federal and provincial governments,” he said. “However, collectively, actions of individual cities and municipalities across the planet are at least as important.”
His recommendations call on council to “much more aggressively” reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2040 as part of a plan with a clear targets and milestones. Derman also called on council to establish climate change as Saanich’s “top priority” in its strategic planning. Council, he said, should then work with “staff to establish a climate change lens that (ensures) decisions will be shaped by that priority.”
Derman also urged council to call on Victoria, Ottawa as well as other “relevant federal and provincial politicians” to pursue them of “much more aggressive, focused federal and provincial action” in light of the facing challenges.
“The time we have to respond is becoming very short,” he said.