Update on Ecology Ottawa’s Climate Change Campaign & the City’s GHG Roundtable

The following email was recently sent to Ecology Ottawa supporters who'd expressed interest in our climate change campaign. To add your address and recieve similar emails in the run up to the City of Ottawa's greenhouse gas roundtable SIGNUP HERE.

The Contents of this E-mail:

1.            Please Register for the City’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Roundtable

2.            What Ecology Ottawa is asking for – our objectives for the Roundtable 3.            What we’ve been doing & recent events

REGISTER for the City’s GHG Roundtable After months of effort on so many people’s parts, likely including yours, the City of Ottawa has set Saturday, March 23 (9am-2pm) as the date for the Greenhouse Gas Roundtable. This was not an easy thing for the City to do so it’s important to make it worthwhile by getting people who care about climate change to participate. Please register to attend and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

To RSVP to attend you must email [email protected] . You should receive an auto-reply confirming your registration.

OBJECTIVES The Roundtable will consider specific ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa but as a critical high level objective Ecology Ottawa seeks confirmation from the City of Ottawa that it will refresh its now expired Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan that has languished in recent years, and in doing so will adopt 'community' GHG emission reduction targets. We are asking that this refresh of the Plan be completed before the end of 2013.

As described below, Ecology Ottawa has consulted with numerous stakeholders and gained consensus on these high level objectives. We hope that you, in attending the roundtable will voice support for these objectives, and will support Ecology Ottawa as we work to get the city to agree to them.

RECENT EVENTS In June 2012, it was Ecology Ottawa’s actions that stimulated the commitment to the roundtable. In November, Ecology Ottawa participated with others, likely including yourself, to bring public pressure to bear resulting in the roundtable being scheduled to occur before the end of March 2013.

In addition to asking individual concerned citizens to contact their city councillor, Ecology Ottawa reached out to many groups, asking if they were concerned about climate change and encouraging them to attend the roundtable. By January more than 30 community associations, business groups, professional groups, faith groups and environmental groups had all queried the city, asking to attend.

In late February, representatives of most of these groups met to discuss objectives for the roundtable and reached consensus on several points. (1) that the City develop an Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan to replace the previous plan, and that the new Plan includes ‘community’ Greenhouse Gas reduction targets; and (2) the Plan needs to be completed before the end of 2013. (3) After the Plan has been refreshed, it must be implemented. (4) The group agreed that an ongoing presence of community stakeholders was needed to ensure follow-through. The more formal establishment of such a stakeholder group will not be an objective being sought at the roundtable because agreement of the city is not needed for the independent stakeholder group to continue its activity.

Shortly before the March 23 Roundtable was announced Ecology Ottawa received refreshing overtures from the city indicating that the roundtable could indeed be a collaborative and constructive event. Discussions continue on how we can move forward positively. Ecology Ottawa is approaching this event with the expectations that the Objectives noted above can be achieved through such cooperation.

Your support has been fundamental to the success we have achieved so far. If you haven’t already done so, please RSVP and then attend the Roundtable so we can bring this to the next step. Once we have a committed from the City on our two high level objectives, we can move on to discussing the specific policies, programs and funding necessary to ensure the City of Ottawa achieves significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, at both the 'community' and 'corporate' levels.

Thanks again for your support; your work on this important topic is inspiring.

Sincerely, Charles, Graham, Trevor and the entire Ecology Ottawa team

BACKGROUND The existing Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan was prepared in 2004, approved in 2005 and sets reduction targets to be achieved by 2007 and 2012. These targets have not been met or new ones set. The city considers the greenhouse gases it emits itself to be “corporate” emissions. These amount to 5% of our total. Emissions from the rest of us are termed “community” emissions and are the bulk of the problem at 95%. In recent years a resistance to including “community” emissions has emerged, thus their inclusion must specifically be agreed upon.

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