City's path to 'net zero' emissions by 2050 to cost billions

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, October 19, 2020

City staff calculate it will cost more than $30 billion in today's dollars to hit Ottawa's targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but they also say the savings will more than offset that daunting price tag.

The figure "jumps off the page" in a new report headed to the standing committee on environmental protection, water and waste management on Tuesday, admitted Coun. Scott Moffatt, who chairs the committee.

The idea is not that the cost would be borne by the municipality, but that upper levels of government and the private sector would do their part over many years, he said. Moffatt gave the example that he personally needs the automotive industry to shift before he can buy an electric vehicle to drive from rural North Gower to city hall.

Council last year declared a climate emergency, and in January set a more ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moffatt said he sees it as his job to make sure Ottawa is "serious" about that goal.

(...)City staff acknowledge the strategy comes with many risks, from lack of government or private funding to limited uptake by residents and industry, and even competing city council priorities. 

But experts say the cost itself is realistic, given the much larger size of Ottawa's economy, and the fact the changes would roll out over three decades.

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