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

Just Posted

Review: The Magic of ‘Almost, Maine’

ECHO Players production runs through May 5 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach

Coombs farm auction returns April 28

CFI hosts 41st annual auction

Ballenas grad to perform opera and art songs in Parksville to fund Prague trip

UBC music student Juliana Cook was asked to study and sing in the Czech Republic

Qualicum Beach versus Parksville – who wins?

Councils could take part in first-ever lawn bowling challenge

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

PHOTOS: New commemorative loonie marks progress’ for LGBTQ2 people

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

Man charged in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting to appear in court

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Busy Tuesday for BC Ferries passengers

First sailings to and from Swartz Bay sold out

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Two back-to-back earthquakes strike off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Most Read