[PRESS RELEASE] City of Ottawa votes today on new plan to fight climate change


May 20, 2014

(Ottawa): For the first time in almost a decade, a new plan to fight climate change goes before the City of Ottawa's Environment Committee today. Local environmental organization Ecology Ottawa is welcoming the strategy as an important step in the right direction.

"This plan is about improving people's lives and protecting Ottawa against the kind of severe weather that has devastated cities like Calgary in recent years," said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. "We can strengthen public transit, expand greenspace and save money through energy efficiency while simultaneously preparing for more frequent heat waves, torrential downpours and power outages."

The proposed 2014 Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan marks the first time since 2004 that the City of Ottawa has prepared a strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning oil, coal and gas. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, over 70 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are associated with activities that occur in cities and municipalities have a direct or indirect control over about half of those emissions.

"At a time when the federal government is pursuing a reckless and irresponsible energy policy, the City of Ottawa is acknowledging that all levels of government have a role to play in fighting climate change, " said Graham Saul. "It's not a perfect plan, there are too many decisions put off into the future, but the plan sets a clear goal and sends a strong signal that city council cares about moving Ottawa in the right direction."

According to the new climate plan, almost 90 percent of the City of Ottawa's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and how we heat, cool and electrify our homes, offices and buildings.

"Do we want to live in compact town centres that are bustling with cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, connected by world class public transit, and surrounded by parks and greenspace?" Asked Charles Hodgson, Ecology Ottawa's Climate Change Coordinator. "Or do we want a sprawling city that is vulnerable to severe weather events and characterized by traffic jams and wasted energy? That's the question that is on the table today."

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