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  “A Heightened Response to Climate Change”



RATIONALE


Recent information, including the Fifth Assessment Repot from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), leaves little doubt that the climate change crisis continues to worsen and that current global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG’s) are insufficient.


Amongst local municipalities, Saanich has been a leader in structuring a response to climate change. Staff and Council are to be congratulated for their foresight and resolve in taking this action. Nevertheless, it is clear that, along with other communities, we must heighten our response to climate change if we are to avoid a catastrophe.


 It’s possible local climate change effects may be less immediate and less pronounced than those expected elsewhere. We cannot, however, reasonably expect to be free of harm from global impacts including: severe degradation to the natural systems that sustain us, financial impacts that could make past depressions look minor in comparison and social dislocation truly horrific in its extent. Together they constitute a scenario we simply cannot afford to let happen.


While we most certainly cannot “solve” climate change by ourselves, the efforts of thousands of communities worldwide acting individually or in concert can make a very substantial impact. It’s time for Saanich to continue its past leadership, build on prior action and move to a new level of climate change mitigation and response.


 RECOMMENDATIONS


1. That this report be referred to staff and relevant committees with a request for a report back detailing how Council might heighten its response to climate change.

2. That Council ask staff to include, in all relevant future reports to Council, a section canvassing the climate change implications of the action being contemplated. It should be noted that this is already a policy contained in the OCP

3. That Council write a letter to senior governments highlighting the seriousness of the climate change crisis and requesting these governments to strengthen their climate change response through actions such as energy saving energy codes  and regulations as well as new, more robust incentive programs designed to encourage citizens to respond.

4. That Council ask staff to explore partnerships with relevant entities such as B.C. Hydro with the intent of establishing a coordinated climate change response.


Councillor Vic Derman




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