Yesterday Jim Watson, in an online town hall, responded to popular pressure and promised that the greenhouse gas roundtable would be held before the end of March. Now we have to ensure the roundtable is effective in starting a process toward a renewed city climate change strategy.
Mayor Watson had been put in a tough position because the Chair of Environment Committee, Councillor Maria McRae, had claimed authority over running the roundtable but because she is not enthusiastic about global warming leadership, no work had been done. Requests to attend the roundtable had begun to pour in from interested community and professional groups, also individual concerned citizens had begun to phone their city councillors asking what the delay was plus asking the mayor to take a prominent role at the event. On top of this, a twitter conversation had broken out, making the lack of progress more visible to the public.
So thanks to Mayor Jim Watson for his leadership in setting a date for the roundtable. Let’s call on him to continue his personal leadership by participating in the greenhouse gas roundtable and in so doing, clearly communicating that climate change is a priority of his administration.
The task now is to ensure that the roundtable will result in a City of Ottawa strategy to address climate change. The city’s 2005 plan will have expired before the roundtable occurs and there is no unifying approach being planned to take its place. Some city councillors are concerned about global warming. Those who are need to work to define how the roundtable can set the stage for a new strategy to replace the 2005 plan which terminates with the end of 2012. The roundtable can’t be a onetime event; it needs to be a starting point for a renewed climate change strategy. In planning the round table, follow-on expectations should be defined that will lead to the renewed strategy.