Westward Independent

North Cowichan & The climate emergency

by Westward Independent
1 comment

Last month a letter was sent asking to clarify the Climate Emergency, this is their response


Good morning COAP team,
Here are responses to your queries, in bold text:

1: We requested documentation and supporting information from North Cowichan regarding the declaration of a climate emergency. The response we received indicated council has not specifically created a definition for the “climate emergency”. As the local expert, would you please provide clarification regarding the definition of a “climate emergency”, as well as supporting information related to North Cowichan specifically being in a climate emergency?

North Cowichan’s Council discussed and acknowledged that there is a climate emergency on July 17, 2019. Council did not specifically create a definition for “Climate Emergency”. The meeting agenda contains the request to Council in item 9.2 (page 286-287) of the agenda package.

2: North Cowichan policies still operate through a climate lens.  Will you please forward your evidence, data, correspondence, or other documents to support this continued declaration, as well as data that was used to declare a climate emergency in 2019 please? We have requested this information from staff previously, but they did not have that data available. 

As indicated above, Council’s discussion and acknowledgment of the climate emergency was in response to a submitted request to Council, as outlined in item 9.2 of the agenda package. This item was not a result of or a follow up to a staff report, nor was one requested so there is no further data available.
As part of the motion, Council did direct further action on an integrated climate action strategy and a report back to Council took place on January 20, 2020 (Item 83).
Following this report, documents that are related to ongoing direction, but are not necessarily a direct consequence of the Climate Emergency acknowledgement of Council include:
Climate Action and Energy Plan Update (January 2022
Official Community Plan (July 2022)
Council Strategic Plan noting Key Future Issues of
Responding to all facets of climate change, Limiting environmental degradation
Environmental services (engineering) department business planning, Create and implement a Biodiversity Protection Policy, Integrate natural assets into the overall asset management program
Develop a comprehensive climate change risk and vulnerability assessment
Other related initiatives in the business plan for 2023 and beyond. All departmental business plans containing a climate emergency priorities section. A draft master transportation plan that puts a focus on multimodal transportation alternatives to increase ease and connectivity of walking, rolling transportation means in addition to supporting electric vehicle infrastructure.

3: Our understanding of the intention behind the declaration of a climate emergency is to provide focus and direction toward ‘net zero’. A term used to describe carbon emissions.
Please define ‘Net Zero’. 
 - Do we have data suggesting what the global impact may be from these local initiatives?
 - How much will it cost taxpayers to achieve net zero from within North Cowichan?
 - What portion of global emissions are North Cowichan residents responsible for?
 - If we achieve these goals by the 2050 target, how much will global temperatures change?

An explanation on net-zero can be found in the Climate Action and Energy Plan in the Part 5: Discussion (page 53). Net-zero means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere through the process of carbon sequestration. Net-zero differs from “zero emissions”, means the total reduction of emissions to zero. Accounting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions for cities is defined by the framework laid out in the “Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories”.

The most recent community inventory for North Cowichan was completed in parallel with the Climate Action and Energy Plan update (Results in Appendix 2). North Cowichan’s community emissions are measured at 337,822 tonnes. The Climate Action and Energy Plan included modelling of reduction action impact and financial analysis of actions. The cost estimate in Part 4 of the report includes private, commercial, and government activity. Emissions reductions are estimated to cost all three sectors approximately 500 million dollars by 2050 but to also generate about 587 million in savings. The savings estimated under the proposed actions result from lowered expenditures due to decreased energy use, lowered payments for federal and provincial carbon taxes and lower maintenance costs.

Carbon reductions require action from all levels of government, utilities, businesses and individuals. If North Cowichan achieves our net-zero goals, this impact will not be measurable at a global scale, as global emissions are reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (https://di.unfccc.int) to be commensurately higher than North Cowichan’s contribution. But the collaborative approach of individual, local government and countries acting together will have an impact.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The sixth assessment report released in 2023 continues to support mitigation and adaptation actions to reduce projected loss and damage to humans and ecosystems and deliver many co-benefits for air quality and health. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-cycle/.

North Cowichan has commenced work on our climate adaptation strategy to respond to effects of extreme weather on local infrastructure, natural environment, economy, and community well-being. Here is the project engagement page: https://www.connectnorthcowichan.ca/climate-adaptation


All the best,


Environment Team

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1 comment

David P Bentley September 12, 2023 - 5:24 pm

Putting in motion, whatever means in order to solve a problem that does not exist, is fraudulent, dishonest, deceptive, wrong, and outright evil, and should not be adhered to whatsoever. Have a good day! David P Bentley +


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