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Whitehorse considers climate change emergency motion

Councillor Dan Boyd, (right) makes a point during discussion at Monday night's meeting. Photo: Tim Kucharuk/CKRW.

City Council is going over an extensive administrative report which lays out the costs and provides an option if the emergency motion does not proceed.

The City of Whitehorse is breaking down the costs of declaring a climate change emergency.

City Council heard an administrative report at Monday night's meeting, which says a number of potential actions and the impacts and resources needed to address the actions would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

A second motion has the city writing a letter to the federal government asserting support for the Paris Agreement and asking for help in meeting city targets. That motion would come forward if the first motion fails.

Councillor Dan Boyd called the two motions coming forward dizzying, and noted they will not get the city closer to meeting climate change targets.

"Hopefully the work they produce will, but we don't know that," Boyd said. "It may be they come back and say 'If you do x, y, and z, you will be on your way to meeting targets'. Just simply the process of hiring and putting people in chairs, doing analysis, and writing reports in itself does not move us toward meeting targets."

Councillor Stephen Roddick originally brought forward the idea. He told council the report only presents one side of the balance sheet, and the real climate change costs will come down the road whether we like it or not.

"I can understand my colleagues' skepticism seeing some of the price tags associated with some of these items," Roddick said. "But even if this council can't agree what actions are required to deal with the impacts of climate change, I can't imagine that we are willing to continue ignoring the potential costs to our city and citizens."

Council will vote on the emergency motion next week.

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