Councillor Rik Logtenberg. Photo: City of Nelson video screenshot

Kootenay city councillor starts nationwide climate caucus for municipal politicians

Climate Leadership Caucus has 57 members including seven mayors

A Nelson city councillor has started a national organization of municipal government elected officials to advance climate action in Canada.

Rik Logtenberg started the Climate Leadership Caucus (CLC) in January and says it has grown to 57 members from municipalities and regional governments across the country.

“Most of the action to deal with climate change has to happen at the municipal level,” Logtenberg told Black Press Media. “This means hardening our infrastructure: we have to set the building standards to make buildings more efficient, set the traffic patterns that encourage people to walk or bike, and develop the emergency management plan.”

But much of the funding to do these kinds of things has to come from the provincial or federal governments, so the caucus will serve as a lobby group, he said, and well as a networking body.

“We can network together and know what is working and not working and get ideas from each other, make it quicker and more efficient.”

Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria, one of seven mayors in the CLC, told the Star that 70 per cent of global emissions come from cities, and within cities, 50 per cent of emissions come from buildings, 40 per cent from transportation, and 10 per cent from waste.

RELATED: Climate change to be part of Nelson council strategic priority session

Buildings, transportation and waste are all under the jurisdiction of cities, she said, but she echoes Logtenberg in saying that cities don’t have the funding to deal properly with them.

There are other areas where cities’ jurisdiction is not so clear-cut, Helps said, and she hopes the caucus can help clarify this.

Plastic bags is a perfect example,” she said. “Ten per cent of our greenhouse gases in the City of Victoria come from waste, and [we are] fighting with the plastic bag association in court as to whether we have the authority to regulate businesses to not have plastic bags, straws, cups or packaging.

“Another example: do local governments have the authority to ban oil tanks? If buildings removed oil tanks, that would reduce emissions by 16 per cent. But do we have that authority? We don’t know.

“A third example is congestion pricing,” Helps said. “People drive into the city, drive around the region. But there is a real cost to polluting, and right now it is free.”

Richard Zurawski, a councillor for the Halifax Regional Municipality and a CLC member, has little time for people who say Canada contributes such a small percentage of greenhouse gases worldwide that action here is pointless.

“Historically Canada and the western world have put about 90 per cent of all the excess CO2 into the atmosphere.” he told the Star. “We have built our civilization on the backs of fossil fuels … so there is a moral obligation for us to deal with what we have done.

“It is a bit rich for Canadians to say it is a drop in the bucket, because we finance the activities that go on in China, we are the consumers that demand this stuff, so is naive and a bit duplicitous to say we do not have an effect.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay directors Leah Main and Ramona Faust are also members of the CLC, as are Rossland mayor Kathy Moore and Nelson councillors Jesse Woodward, Keith Page, and Brittny Anderson.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Transgender Surrey brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

Two Surrey women win BC Sports Hall of Fame awards for inspired service

Jane Blaine and Wendy Pattenden recognized during virtual summit

OUR VIEW: Way too many Surrey COVID-19 cases

We all need to take this threat seriously

Sullivan Heights, Tamanawis each report second COVID-19 exposures

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Horgan promises more child care at $10 per day during Maple Ridge visit

Liberals say the NDP has failed to deliver on daycare

Mounties impound car of impaired driver celebrating birthday in North Vancouver

RCMP say the person was driving with their headlights off

UPDATE: Abbotsford high school killer back in court for ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing

Gabriel Klein was previously convicted of stabbing Letisha Reimer to death

Rainfall warning says significant showers forecast for entire region

Rain moving across Howe Sound, The Fraser Valley and northern parts of Metro Vancouver this morning.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Most Read