Nussbaum: Climate change solutions start right here in Ottawa

By Tobi Nussbaum, Ottawa Citizen, October 11, 2018

The conclusions in this week’s report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are stark: The world needs to de-carbonize by 2050 or risk catastrophic impacts. Yet, greenhouse gas emissions remain on an upward trajectory. The critical work of reducing and eventually eliminating carbon as a source of energy will require sustained political will and public demand for action. But as much as the climate crisis is a global problem, solutions need to begin in our towns and cities.

In particular, our municipalities have the ability to lead the transformation with two of the major sources of carbon pollution: transportation and buildings (heating, cooling and powering).

Reducing our transportation emissions means providing residents with efficient, reliable and secure low- or no-carbon options to move around the city. Investing in public transit is key – not just in the light rail transit system – but also by ensuring buses are reliable, efficient and not stuck in regular traffic, through the wide-scale deployment of transit priority measures. We need to also look at how we finance public transit; our tax dollars currently subsidize the construction and maintenance of roads to a much greater extent than we subsidize transit. Transit riders in Ottawa pay the highest cash fare in Canada, which is why I fought (unfortunately unsuccessfully) to freeze fares during LRT construction. We also need to ensure residents have safe options to move around by foot or two wheels on wide sidewalks and bike lanes, adequately cleared in winter.

Cities around the world are also finding innovative ways to encourage residents to make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient. Through the use of municipally

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