A letter sent to the Mayor from Ecology Ottawa encourages the City to use the coming budget to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Whether you agree with the specific actions suggested in the letter hardly matters. The point is to move forward. One of the City documents referred to in the letter shows a business-as-usual increase in Ottawa regional emissions climbing by 50% by 2060. The same page of the document points out that Ontario and Quebec are committed to 80% reductions by 2050. I’ve marked with a red star approximately where that target lies.
This 80% is a G8 target circa 2009. As the City document also says, it is
“roughly in line with published scientific evidence on the reductions necessary globally to avoid tipping points of GHG emissions…”
The published evidence being referred to is likely the 4th IPCC report of 2007, the most highly respected source on the issue. Yet this latest IPCC report began coming together years before and the data upon which it rests is even earlier. Climate scientists who will be contributing to the 5th IPCC report are already speaking out, saying that climate change is advancing faster than reflected in the 4th report.
The “tipping points” mentioned in the City of Ottawa document mean that if we can’t reduce emissions fast enough things like melting ice at the poles and methane released from the sea floor will absorb and trap so much more heat that there will be no turning back.