February 8, 2019

Naming the Climate Emergency, with Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle

During a Vancouver Council meeting on January 16, 2019, a motion moved by Councillor Christine Boyle to declare a global state of climate emergency was carried unanimously.

With nine “whereas” clauses — referencing the impacts of BC and California wildfires, the emergency debates at various levels of government following the UN’s recent IPCC report on global warming, the estimated future costs of climate-related disasters to Vancouver, and our current vulnerabilities — plus half a dozen amendments from Boyle’s peers, the motion ended with a series of directives, and a clear call to action.

In short, the motion called for an admission that we’re in a climate emergency. It reminded us all that, despite progress in recent years, we’ve failed to meet our previous targets. And it directed staff to formulate, within 90 days, new targets, actions and timelines to aggressively reduce carbon emissions, in-line with IPCC goals.

Boyle, one of nine first-time Council members, made time over her lunch hour recently to chat with Gord at City Hall about her motion — what inspired it, the potential implications of climate disaster on vulnerable populations in particular, and where we go from here.

Naming the Climate Emergency, with Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle

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  1. Wow great interview.

    I don’t believe the city should ask for the provincial or federal governments for more money. The city massively subsidizes parking at 50 dollars a year for a parking permit. This should be raised by a factor of 20 if we really consider climate change an emergency.

    1. Amen to that. Free parking is like squatting [ but then we allow that on public property like parks already .. ]

      Also note that as one of its first acts the new Green-NDP coalition abolished tolls on Port Mann Bridge .. not exactly a “we care about the climate” signal either !

  2. Great interview. You pushed her hard on what could be done from an infrastructure point of view and where the money would come from, but you missed an opportunity to talk about ideas for tackling the climate emergency that don’t have a financial cost but a convenience cost. There are things the city could do to restrict driving single occupancy vehicles or encouraging plant-based diets, for example, that would result in reduced emissions without any extra cost but would require lifestyle changes that might be unpopular. I’m curious what she would support there.

    Peruse somebody the ideas here. Some of them require more political than financial capital to accomplish. https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank

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