In 1989, in my second term on city council, I moved a motion that launched the Task Force on Atmospheric Change – thankfully renamed Clouds of Change.
The origin of that report is now 30 years old.
It was, I believe, the first report on climate change by a North American municipality. Its main achievement was to set the City on a course that we now call sustainability. It was the first of a dozen more plans and initiatives that led to the city we have today.
Did Clouds of Change lead to a reduction of greenhouse gases, did it in a modest way help fight climate change? Modestly, yes. But in those thirty years, this happened:
… from 1989 to 2019.
… more than half of the carbon exhaled into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels has been emitted in just the last three decades. Which means we have done as much damage to the fate of the planet and its ability to sustain human life and civilization since (Clouds of Change!) than in all the centuries – all the millennia – that came before.
Given that we’re on track to do that again, only worse, in the next 30 years, it makes sense to call this phase of our awareness The Climate Emergency‘ and to accelerate our progress, amp up our targets, shorten our timeframes.
Which is what this report does, and which Council started to consider last Tuesday. They began with delegations. I was one – as well as Peter Ladner, also a former councillor.
Approve the report, I asked, since it builds on the initiatives and work that proceeded it – and we as a city are getting pretty good at meeting ambitious targets and setting an inspiring example for others. There’s good people on your staff wanting to take this on: give them your support for the Big Moves.Read more »