Update on the City of Ottawa’s Greenhouse Gas Roundtable

Roundtable Sold Out – Although invitations to the March 23rd GHG Roundtable were only sent in the late evening on Thursday, February 28, and no information posted on the City’s website, by the afternoon of Friday, March 8 the city had begun sending “we have reached our maximum capacity” autoreplies to people interested in RSVPing. This strong show of community interest underlines the concern citizens of Ottawa feel for this issue and the growing recognition that while federal commitment fizzles, local initiative becomes all the more important. If you were unable to RSVP to attend the Roundtable, we will be trying to live tweet what happens there, follow us on Twitter @EcologyOttawa with the hashtag #ottghg.

Our Two Main Objectives – Ecology Ottawa hopes that the GHG Roundtable will result in our City government addressing the challenge by reinvigorating its climate change strategy, refreshing its out-of-date plans, and aiming at targeted greenhouse gas reductions both in its own operations and in the wider community. It is critical that we all urge the City to: 1. Refresh the old Air Quality and Climate Change Managment Plan, ensuring 'community' greenhouse gas reduction targets are included; and 2. Finalize the Plan before the end of 2013.

Municipal action on climate change is well supported by precedent both here and elsewhere. Earlier plans by the City of Ottawa continued the responsibility for action that had been assumed since before amalgamation. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities indicates that in this country as much as half of greenhouse gas emissions in a city are under the jurisdiction or influence of municipal government. Across Canada, 239 cities, including Ottawa (since 1997), have joined Partners for Climate Protection to assume their role in municipal control of the emissions in their community.

We approach the roundtable looking for a commitment to update the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan authorized by Ottawa’s Official Plan, including the commitment to reset the “corporate” and “community” reduction targets therein.

If You’re Going to the Roundtable – Leading up to the Roundtable, and at the event itself, please constantly voice support for our two main objectives (in bold) above. Additionally, Ecology Ottawa has drafted a two-page background document called "A Guide to Refreshing Ottawa's Climate Change Plan," please read it here. Please use it while you are at the Roundtable to focus the City on the important areas it needs to work on if it wants to impact greenhouse gas emissions at the “community” level.

If You’re on the Waiting List – The city’s autoreply promised people that their names would be added to a waiting list if they attempted to RSVP after maximum capacity had been reached. Whether you get to attend or not, expressing your support for the City of Ottawa taking action on climate change by contacting your city councillor is an important step to take.

In addition to information about the roundtable that the City of Ottawa plans to post on its website, volunteers attending the roundtable will be providing rapid reportage of the event. Ecology Ottawa will keep you informed on this.

Contact information for the Mayor and your City Councillor can be found at the following link. You are encouraged to let them know that you agree we need an active climate change strategy in Ottawa: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-council.

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