New climate emissions update shows City of Ottawa adrift without strong political leadership
The City of Ottawa has released its annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories in the lead-up to the December 15, 2020 meeting of the Standing Committee of Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management. The inventories show new emissions data for 2019, now at 6,140 kt CO2e community-wide. This represents a rise in emissions above the levels recorded in each of the preceding three years. Local emissions have not been this high since prior to the provincial coal phase-out.
"This shows what happens when Mayor Jim Watson, and a majority on council, dither at the margins rather than taking ambitious action on climate change,” said Ecology Ottawa Executive Director Robb Barnes. “Without dramatic changes, we're on track to completely miss community targets for 2025. This means Ottawa will fail to do its fair share to keep global warming under catastrophic levels.”
The new data represent community greenhouse gas emissions from the same year (2019) that Ottawa declared a climate emergency. They do not represent data from the year (2020) the City’s comprehensive climate plan, Energy Evolution, was finalized. While Energy Evolution calls for annual climate investments of $621 million per year, Ottawa has allocated only $2.6 million in funding for 2021.
“Ottawa is good at ambitious plans and policy language, but it’s miles away from putting its money where its mouth is on climate action,” said Mr. Barnes. “This year’s budget allocation – a paltry $2.6 million, drawn from Hydro Ottawa revenues and not regular city revenues – is a strong case in point. The City of Ottawa desperately needs to step up its game. A climate plan of 'ask the provincial and federal governments for money, and hope people buy electric vehicles' is no plan at all."