Climate change is the challenge of our lifetimes. Jurisdictions around the world are being urged to respond to the scope and scale of this threat with bold, ambitious action. The United Nations tells us that time is short – we now have 11 years to avoid catastrophic impacts to the world’s species and ecosystems.
While climate change is a global problem, many of the solutions are local. In Canada, up to half of the country’s emissions are under the direct or indirect control of municipal governments. As Canada’s fourth largest city and national capital, Ottawa has a critically important role to play in the fight against climate change.
Ottawa City Hall has yet to wake up to the urgency of the climate crisis. We must change this. Ecology Ottawa is launching a campaign to raise the level of climate ambition at Ottawa City Hall.
There are two important opportunities over the next few months to overhaul the city’s middling approach. We need to firmly embed climate action in council’s list of overall priorities, and secure an unprecedented level of climate funding in the 2019 budget, and we need your help.
- Write your councillor to urge them to prioritize climate action in the upcoming 2019 budget and Term of Council Priorities process.
- Organize a meeting with your councillor along with others in your ward to demand climate leadership.
First, we’re asking supporters to write their councillors, asking them to take concrete action to prioritize climate change in the upcoming budget process, and the Term of Council Priorities process.
Second, we’re asking supporters to meet with their council representatives and ask for their leadership directly. We’ve prepared a Climate Welcome Package to help councillors better understand the scope of the challenge and the climate solutions at their disposal.
Click here to email us about meeting with your councillor. We’ll work to pair you with others in your ward who want to send a strong climate message to city hall.
For background on this campaign, including details on our policy asks and information on the city’s climate performance to date, click here.
What are we asking for?
In the coming weeks, we are calling on councillors and the mayor to commit to climate action in two ways: firmly embed climate action in council’s list of overall priorities, and secure an unprecedented level of climate funding in the 2019 budget.
1. Ottawa City Council can make climate action a major focus of the Term of Council Priorities process by ensuring commitments to climate-relevant challenges such as:
a. Reducing Ottawa’s community greenhouse gas emissions by aggressively implementing Energy Evolution and the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan;
b. Promoting sustainable modes of transportation by increasing transit access and affordability, growing pedestrian and cycling networks and adopting Vision Zero (a plan to eliminate death and serious injuries on Ottawa’s streets); and
c. Building a climate-resilient Ottawa by implementing the Urban Forest Management Plan, aggressively implementing green infrastructure and developing a climate resilience plan.
2. Ottawa City Council can ensure that the 2019 budget prioritizes climate change action through the following actions:
a. Funding staff and programs to accelerate initiatives to reduce Ottawa’s community greenhouse gas emissions, including Energy Evolution;
b. Accelerating Ottawa’s transition to more sustainable modes of transportation by significantly increasing funding for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, as well as public transit;
c. Dramatically reducing wasteful, environmentally damaging and costly road expansions, especially in sensitive areas such as the Greenbelt; and
d. Implementing smarter urban planning and curbing sprawl.
e. Enhancing Ottawa’s resilience to a changing climate by funding the Urban Forest Management Plan, continuing land acquisition efforts, and dramatically ramping up implementation of green infrastructure.