Hamilton’s Board of Health has voted 10-0 to declare a “climate emergency.”
Once ratified by city council next week, Hamilton will stand with a growing list of Canadian cities that have issued such a declaration joining Vancouver, Halifax and Kingston.
The declaration, approved on Monday afternoon, is in response to a warning from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which says we have just 12 years to take action to stave off the worst outcomes of climate change.
The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
WATCH BELOW: UN climate change report: What half a degree of global warming means
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says it’s “high time that we put a greater focus on this issue.”
Eisenberger stresses that the despite progress in areas such as the greening of the city’s fleet and energy reduction “we are not getting ahead of the curve.”
His motion asks staff to report back in June on the creation of a multi-departmental “corporate climate change task force.” Among other things, it will examine how the city can reach zero carbon emissions before 2050.
Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson adds that we owe to our children and grandchildren, “who have not made this mess to do something, adding that if public corporations cannot lead, then I don’t know who will.”
Close to 100 people, including a number of representatives from Environment Hamilton, were on hand for Monday’s meeting to support the climate emergency declaration.