Environment Committee backs Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

A climate vulnerability and risk assessment detailed global climate change, extreme heat and extreme weather events as risks requiring action over the next three years.

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Idling, Fossil Fuels and the City of Ottawa’s Climate Resilience Strategy were on the agenda at the Environment, Water and Waste Management Committee meeting of Tuesday.

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Councilors and community members discussed the impact of steadily rising temperatures and extreme weather – like the May 21 derecho that rocked Ottawa – on city infrastructure and other assets, joining an international treaty to phase out fossil fuels and changing city idling fines.

A climate emergency was declared more than three years ago to affirm the city’s commitment to fighting climate change, but in the years since, only a handful of tickets have been handed out for the march in idle, although the maximum fine for idling was increased from $100 to $1,000 in February in response to the influx of vehicles clogging downtown Ottawa due to the Freedom Convoy.

Fuel emissions in Ottawa were also a critical topic of the committee meeting, as a Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment detailed global climate change, extreme heat and extreme weather events as risks requiring action at the over the next three years.

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The city’s climate resilience strategy project lead, Julia Robinson, says the average temperature in Ottawa is expected to rise by 1.3°C in the 2030s, with winters shortening by four weeks and spring arriving two weeks earlier. .

Such seasonal variability is concerning due to new and intensified disease risks such as Lyme and West Nile disease, freeze-thaw damage that degrades roads and building foundations, and heat impacts. extreme, drought and humidity for low-income and homeless populations. without access to air conditioning.

“We are not prepared,” said Joan Freeman of Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability. “We are not investing properly and therefore at this stage the prosperity and livability of the city is at risk.”

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Com. Catherine McKenney moved a motion to formally endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, asking Mayor Jim Watson to urge Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support the global initiative.

The initiative aims to prevent the exploration of fossil fuels and to phase out the use of oil, gas and coal in favor of renewable energy as means of mitigating climate change

Treaty initiative campaign manager Seble Samuel suggested cities have only seen the beginning of the impacts of fossil fuels.

“Cities are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” Samuel said. “They face forest fires, floods, storms, heat waves. We have seen freak weather in Ottawa alone in the past few weeks that has stolen lives and knocked out the lights of thousands of homes.

While it’s unclear what can be done to address the proliferation of fossil fuels at the municipal level, Samuel urged Ottawa councilors to follow Vancouver and Toronto’s lead and appeal to higher levels of government to support the treaty.

“We want to create that collective pressure from below that cities can really generate,” Samuel said.

Unanimously approved by the committee, the motion now goes to the full council.

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