A small city in Manitoba is taking a further step in its fight against climate change, and the city says it is all about accountability.
On November 15, the Selkirk city council approved the Greenhouse Gas Responsibility Statute, a new term they said will be a “breath of fresh air” for the city north of Winnipeg, which is home to about 11,000 people.
“When reduced to its simplest terms, that is what the statute aims to achieve: fresh air by reducing the production of greenhouse gases created by doing business in the city and contributing to the global reduction of carbon emissions,” The city of Selkirk said in a statement released after the statute was passed.
Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol, who in his time in office has been pushing hard for changes at the city level to combat climate change, said the new statute gives clear mandates when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions ( GHG) in Selkirk.
What the new statute will do, according to Nicol, is require monitoring and reporting of Selkirk’s corporate and community GHG emissions using internationally recognized standards and setting new GHG reduction targets that are consistent with global efforts to maintain increasing the weather by 1.5 degrees or less. .
“You can’t solve problems with the same thinking and behavior that created them,” Nicol said.
“Our focus at Selkirk has been to build new systems that generate decisions that make our community more resilient, sustainable and prosperous in the long term.”
The city said the charter would also establish a financial framework aimed at ensuring that they can actually meet their goals.
“This statute aligns our community and corporate goals with national goals; in fact, our corporate goals are more aggressive than national goals, ”Nicol said.
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson expressed strong support for the bill as the city takes action to fight climate change and said he believes most Canadians agree with governments taking up the issue of change. climate much more seriously.
“This is the most pressing issue of our time,” Johannson said in a statement. “Recent polls indicate that citizens expect governments at all levels to do more. We’re looking at our future with climate change in British Columbia right now, and it’s scary.
“Selkirk has been doing a lot in the area of climate action and this ordinance, which we believe is the first of its kind in Manitoba, really sets a bold mandate for us to do more.”
The statute is just one of several steps the small city in Manitoba’s Interlake region has taken to combat climate change in recent years, as the city recently announced that the council’s actions mean they are on track to overcome the GHG emission targets that Canada hopes to see. fulfilled by the year 2030.
The city currently operates a new sewage plant that uses zero fossil fuels and its existing potable water plant, which has been in operation since 1961, will soon be running without fossil fuels thanks to extensive renovations and upgrades.
The city is also decarbonizing its vehicle fleet by replacing gas vehicles with electric and hybrid vehicles, which they said would further reduce emissions.
In addition, in 2019 the city adopted the Selkirk Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, a strategy that, according to Nicol, ensures that the city considers climate change in all decision-making situations.
“This is a tip moving the goal posts,” Nicol said. “And that’s appropriate because the goal posts have to move.”
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, human activity is the leading cause of climate change, and approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from carbon dioxide (CO2), which is in much of it comes from burning fossil fuels.
By Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative, Winnipeg Sun