Local governments in Nanaimo and Ladysmith are adapting to climate change

In Nanaimo-Cowichan, local governments are already taking steps to adapt to climate change and the severe weather that will accompany it.

Canadians were shocked when our environment minister announced that Canada would be the first nation to withdraw from the Kyoto accord.

Canada will now be shut out of the group of nations that will make a difference in future negotiations.

While the door is still open to a new climate change treaty, no legally-binding emissions reductions will take place for almost a decade.

For New Democrats, this is a missed chance to invest in the new energy economy, and Canadians will lose job opportunities because of Conservative inaction.

The rest of the world is moving forward with clean energy solutions and creating well-paying long-term jobs along with those solutions.

Both the European Union and the United States have recently begun closing the door on trade opportunities with Canada due to Conservative inaction on climate change.

That means we are losing investment dollars as companies that are developing innovative ways both of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and of adapting to climate change decide to invest where national governments support their work.

In Nanaimo-Cowichan, local governments are already taking steps to adapt to climate change and the severe weather that will accompany it.

In Nanaimo, the city has been working on steep slope developments to deal with the pressure to build on hillsides.

They created bylaws that altered standard development practices, encouraging developers to work with the landscape and provide greater opportunity for rainwater to be absorbed by the landscape.

The Town of Ladysmith developed its Community Energy Plan in 2008 with 31 actions identified that the town wants to implement, including a plan to build all new municipal buildings with 25 per cent better energy performance than the Model National Energy Code.

Since the energy audit for the plan revealed that nearly 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings that will make a significant dent in future emissions.

You can see more of the plan at http://www.ladysmith.ca/sustainability-green-living/energy-stewardship.

But actions by local governments alone will not create a vibrant new energy economy.

We need this Conservative government to commit to action on climate change now.

Instead, in Durban, our environment minister proposed a different binding climate deal — ignoring the two decades of negotiations it took to get the existing climate treaty in place.

What government would want to deal with Canada on a new climate treaty when Canada turned its back on the old one?