FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 30, 2019
K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Yesterday, Halifax was added to the list of Canadian cities that have declared a climate emergency. The symbolic motion was passed unanimously by city councillors. It aims to accelerate actions taken by HRM to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ecology Action Centre is commending the move.
“Halifax has been affected by climate change through storms, flooding and other impacts. Municipalities have lots of opportunities to combat the impacts of human-caused climate change by reducing emissions, from reducing energy use to better land use planning,” says Kelsey Lane, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator at EAC.
Lane says one key opportunity to reduce emissions is by fully implementing Halifax’s current transportation initiatives.
“On-road transportation accounted for 23.6% of the 7.6 million tonnes of eCO2, Halifax’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in 2014,” Lane says, “In recent year, this percentage has increased.”
Recently, funding for plans that will reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector was placed in jeopardy. Adequate funding for the Integrated Mobility Plan, Moving Forward Together Plan, the Regional Plan, and the Green Network Plan was missing in a December draft of the Proposed 2019-20 Multi-year Capital Program.
According to Lane, the consequences of the upcoming decisions on the municipal capital budget are critically linked to whether we will meet the targets outlined in the Climate Emergency motion.
“The evidence is clear. If HRM is serious about meeting our GHG targets, we need to invest in projects that reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles, minimize harmful pollutants and provide reliable, convenient and safe options to our residents to use transit, cycle and walk,” Lane says.
“More significant than the votes to pass this motion will be the votes to fully fund our transportation and land-use plans that reduce emissions,” Lane says.
Lane says that, from a climate, health and economic perspective, we cannot afford to underfund sustainable transportation plans.
“Let’s not put off actions to tomorrow that we are capable of doing today. Across the board, governments need to put weight behind policies that will protect our environment, our people, and our future,” Lane says, “Our future depends on our actions, not our words.”
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Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre