(jump back to How we Got Here)
A Seeming Failure
At the March 23 GHG Roundtable Mayor Jim Watson vowed that the city would renew its Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan by mid-2014. He said also that the then-newly-established Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC) would hold the city’s feet to the fire – his words – in making sure that climate change plan was done and done right.
People left the GHG Roundtable under the impression that ESAC was being given the role of reviewing the public input gathered at the Roundtable and would be producing a report. This never happened although volunteers not associated with the city or ESAC did produce what they colloquially called a “people’s report” found here.
Many attendees expressed frustration during the Roundtable at the city’s repeated consultations on climate change with little follow through. The silence from the city that followed the Roundtable has seemed to many to be a continuation of that lack of follow through.
In October 2013 Ecology Ottawa learned that the City of Ottawa had in fact begun working on a revised Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan. Starting in November and following through into 2014 city staff met with Ecology Ottawa and numerous others to gather information on current best practices for municipal action on climate change and strengthen the new version of Ottawa's plan.
No draft copies of the plan have been seen by anyone outside of city hall, but Ecology Ottawa is told that not only will the new plan include initiatives on climate change mitigation – that is taking responsibility for our fair share of GHGs and reducing emissions – but that the plan would also include a focus on climate change adaptation – our ability to cope with changes climate change will bring. This latter focus on adaptation is in line with a potential liability that the city’s Auditor General pointed out in his 2012 annual report.
The renewed Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan is expected to come before Environment Committee at its May 20, 2014 session, a Tuesday. Normally documents like this are posted to the City of Ottawa website a week in advance of a committee meeting so we should get our first glance at the details around Tuesday, May 13.
Ecology Ottawa is cautiously optimistic.
At this point (early April 2014) it looks like Mayor Jim Watson has taken on the issue of climate change as his own quiet campaign and injected enough political will into his council that our city will now treat the challenge as one of the many things in the portfolio that a responsible city government needs to manage. If this turns out to be the case Mayor Watson should be thanked for his leadership.
Whatever the case Ecology Ottawa wishes to thank those supportive councillors who helped make the progress possible. Chief among these is Councillor Diane Holmes. Councillors Mathieu Fleury and David Chernushenko have also been very supportive and Councillors Keith Egli and Peter Hume have been helpful too.
You can thank them yourself; get their contact info by clicking their names above.
See also these links on what you can do to fight climate change, the five point countdown:Ottawa Climate Pledge?