On Monday, October 28th, 2019 Central Elgin Council supported a resolution declaring
a Climate Emergency. The idea of joining this growing National and International movement came
from Mayor Sally Martyn who has been attending Fridays for Future Climate Strike
activities in St. Thomas. Before supporting the vote Deputy Mayor Marks questioned
whether supporting this resolution would add to staff's workload or to the cost
of Central Elgin doing business. Mr. Leitch's answer was that he thought measuring
the impact of any additional costs that considered a State of a Climate Emergency
would have to be done on a case by case basis.
The resolution was moved by Councillor Fehr and seconded by Deputy Mayor Marks that
the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin officially declare a Climate
Emergency for the purposes of joining a National and International movement and
to provide a lens by which all policies and opportunities can be reviewed; And that
staff Environmental Advisory Committee be directed to find and identify target areas
in Municipal policies in which specific changes can have the greatest impact to
reduce our carbon footprint and therefore our impact on climate change. The motion
was carried by a majority of Council with only Deputy Mayor Marks opposing the resolution.
Are these Climate Emergency Declarations just plenty of hot air or is this a subtle
positive step towards action in fighting Climate Change? Only time will tell! But
if we take into consideration Deputy Mayor Marks concerns for additional costs being
added to Central Elgin's day to day business dealings, the usual results of any
additional costs is to raise the amount of charges and taxes that taxpayers will
have to pay.
There's no doubt that dealing with Climate Change will cost more than just money,
it will cost jobs, create violence, hatred, discrimination, and everything else
in-between because in order to meet the challenge of reducing our impact on climate
change a radical systems shift in energy, agricultural, urban, and industrial practices
and land use, and finally population growth controls will have to take place in
order to reduce emissions to effect enough change.
Our future at this moment looks undecided, and could be bleak and barren if support
for action on Climate Change falters. So, is it time to clean up our mess and make
a difference in the battle against Climate Change for our future generations or
does life just carry on living today with no concerns for tomorrow? Your choice,
after all it's all up to you!
The reasons for a Climate Emergency
On 8th October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released
report on the state of climate science. They warned that if the planet warmed
by 1.5C there would be some devastating consequences, such as the loss of most coral
reefs, and increased extreme weather such as heat waves and floods. Yet the consequences
of allowing 2C warming would be truly catastrophic. Given that the planet is currently
heading for 3-4C warming, keeping to 1.5C requires a radical shift across energy,
land, industrial, urban and other systems to reduce emissions, unprecedented in
history for its speed.