Please join us to hear Andrea Reimer, Deputy Mayor of Vancouver; Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; and David Chernushenko, Ottawa’s Chair of Environment Committee as they discuss the move to green cities and the challenge of achieving 100% renewable energy use.
Andrea Reimer is one of the most progressive environmental voices in Canadian municipal politics and a highly sought after public speaker. She was elected to Vancouver City Council in 2008, -11, and -14 and is the lead for Vancouver’s award-winning Greenest City Action Plan and has been awarded the Queen's Jubilee medal for that leadership. Vancouver City Council has officially adopted a goal of their city being powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050 and Andrea Reimer has spoken internationally on the topic, describing Vancouver’s plans and encouraging other cities to do the same. She is a member of the Green Municipal Fund Council of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and is renowned as a climate change champion familiar with the challenges that municipalities face.
Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in the publication of its first such annual list. She has long advocated for the increased use of renewable energy and in 2012 led an international delegation along the proposed route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, learning from women along the way the local impacts of fossil fuel dependency. In 2011 she co-authored with fellow Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu an opinion editorial calling on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and fulfill his promise to support investment in clean, renewable energy. Her long experience and success in changing things for the better makes her an exciting speaker with much to contribute on the topic of making cities green and renewable.
David Chernushenko is serving his second term as City Councillor in Ottawa having campaigned on moving the city toward a 100% renewable energy target by 2050. He served for three years on the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and for six years on the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Environment Commission and is also a co-founder of the national charity Clean Air Champions. He is “green building” professional accredited by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program and has written three books on sustainable management practices. His role as Environment Committee Chair driving the City of Ottawa’s renewable energy strategy will allow him to reflect authoritatively on how Andrea Reimer’s and Jody Williams’ thoughts apply locally.
The transition to 100% renewable energy means that we will stop using oil, gas and coal; and that objective was agreed to by the G7 and our Canadian government this past summer. At a municipal level not only has Vancouver committed to 100% renewable energy but so have a growing number of cities around the world including Ontario, where Oxford County west of Toronto has made the commitment.
Climate change is a problem caused by people and so it makes sense that, since most people live in cities, much of what causes climate change happens in cities. According to Andrea Reimer 70% to 75% of greenhouse gasses from energy use comes from urban areas. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities city governments have jurisdiction over as much as half of the activities contributing to these energy uses (heating, cooling and powering buildings, transportation, etc.).
One of the latest buzzwords in the climate change movement is “subnational governments.” Cities, regions and provinces are taking action not only because the pace of progress at an international level is so frustratingly slow, but also because it is now clear that local governments have real power to make change.
On September 16 at City Hall you’ll hear more about how cities elsewhere are moving on this opportunity and about our renewable energy strategy here locally in Ottawa.