Delta wants to do more than just declare a climate emergency

The poignant words of young environmental activist Greta Thunberg was part of the inspiration for the City of Delta embarking on a new climate change initiative.

Unanimously approved by Delta council recently, a motion put forward by Mayor George Harvie will have the city look at what additional measures can be taken when it comes to climate change strategies, including gathering ideas and input from the new Mayor’s Youth Council.

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The motion in part reads, “Delta’s youth, along with youth around the world, are demanding meaningful, equitable and deliberate action on the climate which has been brought to the forefront through the recent climate strikes and the poignant words of Greta Thunberg at the United Nations Climate Summit.”

In September, Thunberg, 16, scolded heads of state at the UN summit in New York, saying they’re robbing her generation of a future by not doing enough to fight global warming and instead focusing on money.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. People are suffering, people are dying, and entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of endless economic growth. How dare you!” she said.

Although Delta has an ongoing Climate Change Initiative, staff are to report back on not only what’s been done so far but explore what more can be done to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including engaging the community in dialogue on the Community Energy and Emission Plan to achieve a drastic reduction of community-wide emissions.

Harvie said there are hundreds of cities across the country that have declared a climate emergency but he wants Delta to do more than simply do the same without actions to back up that statement.

The city is also to look at how it can enhance its biodiversity, including Burns Bog restoration, as well as support active transportation and transit in Delta, “including the continuation of work with the province and TransLink on developing a green corridor along Highway 99 in connection with the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.”

Coun. Dylan Kruger pointed out that while it’s important to keep up the fight against global warming, including incentivizing businesses, it’s also important to keep Canada’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in perspective, since Canada contributes 1.6 per cent of global emissions in contrast to China, the biggest contributor, at over 26 per cent.

The provincial government, meanwhile, has announced the new Climate Change Accountability Act, which is supposed to mandate better accountability, transparency and more detailed targets for climate action.

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