Climate Emergency Rally: City Hall April 16th

This post was adapted from excerpts from Ecology Ottawa promotional materials. For more information on this climate rally, including background and other ways to support Ecology Ottawa’s work, click here.
Ecology Ottawa has been pushing for a climate emergency declaration at the City of Ottawa, and they need your help. On April 16, a motion by Councillor Shawn Menard is coming before the Environment Committee to declare Climate Emergency and propose bold actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa and build a more vibrant and resilient city. Ecology Ottawa is organizing a Rally for Climate Emergency on Apr 16, 8:30 AM outside Ottawa City Hall.
EN Climate Emergency banner

The United Nations has made it clear – we now have 11 years to avoid catastrophic impacts to the world’s species and ecosystems. The effects are already being felt in Ottawa: record floods in 2017; tornado impacts in late 2018; summers of extreme and deadly heat; and winters with erratic freeze-thaw cycles. Momentum is building among cities like Vancouver, Halifax, Kingston and Hamilton to urgently respond to this moment of crisis and build a better city, and Ottawa has the opportunity to lead. We are calling on the City of Ottawa to declare climate emergency now.

The City of Ottawa has not yet responded adequately to the scope and scale of the climate crisis. We have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Evolution, but this has been delayed and underfunded. We have set a greenhouse gas emission target, but have not regularly reported on our emissions. We have not produced a long-promised climate resilience plan despite tremendous damage from flooding, tornadoes, heat waves and other extreme weather events.

Climate change is happening, right here in Ottawa. As we have witnessed from record floods in 2017; tornado impacts in late 2018; summers of extreme and deadly heat; and winters with erratic freeze-thaw cycles, each of these events are an emergency, and they will only exacerbate if we fail to act. Ottawa’s average temperature is expected to rise 3.2 C by mid century under a business-as-usual scenario. Along with longer summer, we will also witness more frequent and deadly heatwaves, more regular crop failures, increased flooding, algal blooms on our lakes and rivers and declining forests.

What does a climate emergency declaration mean?

The (draft) motion coming to the Environment Committee in Ottawa is seeking to:

  • Officially declare a climate emergency for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from climate change;
  • Recognize climate change as a strategic priority in the City’s strategic plan and accompanying budget directions for the remaining Term of Council;
  • Establish a Council Sponsors Group comprised of the Chairs of the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management, Planning Committee, Transportation Committee, Transit Commission and the Councilor Liaison of Environment Stewardship Advisory Committee;
  • Analyze the GHG targets from the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan and how they measure to the IPCC targets to limit warming to 1.5C;
  • Implement the actions from the Energy Evolution Final Report with an equity and inclusion lens
  • Report back in 90 days how to spend they Hydro Ottawa Dividends Surplus to reduce GHG emissions;
  • Complete a vulnerability assessment and Climate Resilience Strategy;
  • Work with senior levels of government to accelerate ambition and action to reduce GHG emissions and build resiliency.

FR Climate Emergency banner


3 thoughts on “Climate Emergency Rally: City Hall April 16th

  1. Wow! I’ve been a long-time PERC supporter, but this is right off the rails. You should be ashamed of yourselves for using the word “emergency” in such a way. This is radicalism, not what PERC used to stand for. I can’t support such action and will lobby my councillor to reverse this absurd declaration.
    Please return to true environmental issues.


    1. We’re a little confused and surprised that you’d consider this radicalism compared to some of the things PERC has done in the past – but if you’d like to tell us more we’d be happy to have the conversation. Do we agree that climate change is a pressing environmental issue?


      1. We can surely agree that environmental issues always deserve to be addressed. But climate change is a slow moving thing that humans have only a little impact on. When I read that climate change is accelerating, I want to ask how that’s measured. The Citizen reported last year on a fellow who has tracked Ottawa weather since the 70’s. He noted that our climate factors have become a bit more maritime, but the change is subtle.
        So I can’t agree that climate change is a pressing environmental issue. The alarm comes only from folks who seem oblivious to reality (data) or who have adopted this as a grand cause regardless. The latter group includes some activist scientists unfortunately, but that doesn’t override data.
        I think it’s an outrageous embellishment of climate concerns to call this an emergency. We have practical actions required for environmental improvement. Remember the advice to act locally, as PERC used to do. Signing on to a misguided movement aimed at soft target councils makes you a me-too alarmist.


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