Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Coun. Steve Roddick

Declare a climate emergency, councillor urges

Whitehorse city council is being asked to declare a climate change emergency.

By Chuck Tobin on June 12, 2019

Whitehorse city council is being asked to declare a climate change emergency.

Coun. Steve Roddick introduced the motion at Monday’s council meeting, in keeping with the notice he provided during a session earlier this spring.

Discussion of Roddick’s motion is scheduled for this coming Monday, with the vote to follow on June 24.

Roddick’s motion goes beyond a declaration. It directs city administration to establish a climate change adaptation task force.

It seeks to identify how the city can accelerate its existing plans and actions to address climate change, along with a request for new budgetary proposals to be included in the next annual budget to conduct the work.

The motion seeks to have city administration enhance municipal efforts to strengthen energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

The motion calls on the city to identify, “where applicable, the carbon emissions associated with each capital budget line item and the total relative impact of the capital budget on the city’s emission reduction goals.”

It also calls for continuing engagement with the Yukon government and the local business community “to explore opportunities for ambitious new collaborative actions through the forthcoming Yukon Climate Change, Energy and Green Economy Strategy.”

In introducing the motion, Roddick thanked members of council and city administration for their advice in crafting it.

He gave recognition to the environmental activist community and the youth who’ve been so involved.

In the preamble to the motion, Roddick writes: “The North is experiencing unprecedented and accelerating climate change that contributes to wildfires, extreme weather events and long-term impacts that affect municipal infrastructure and threatens the health, well-being and property of Whitehorse residents....”

During last month’s Caribou Days event in Old Crow, the Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation declared a climate emergency.

As Monday’s council meeting drew to a close, another meeting was beginning at the Whitehorse Public Library organized by Yukoners Concerned.

The organization is opposed to Yukon Energy’s proposal for a new 20-megawatt generating station powered by fossil fuels.

Approximately 100 or so people attended the two-hour meeting, including experts in the field of renewable energy and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai.

Comments (33)

Up 1 Down 0

Michael Storm on Jul 4, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Steve Roddick is right on this issue.

There are things we can do personally and things the City can do. It's not a stretch to have solar panels on city buildings and to have ev vehicles that city staff use. It's reasonable to afford the highest level of protection to green spaces and environmentally sensitive areas.

There has been rapid warming that long term yukoners can attest to.
The low snowpack in recent years results in no freshet in the creek down the road. No spring flood is not a signal that the sky is falling but the change is significant.

Please Steve do not listen to all the denyers and follow through with this and protect the trees and greenspaces in Whitehorse.
With such rapid climate change we have to protect what we have and plan immediately for the future.

Up 0 Down 0

Mick on Jun 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm

I believe the vast majority of Yukoners with an average level of intelligence are well aware of what is going on with climate change. If you've spent a decade or two here you've seen the amplified effects of dryer warmer winters and cooler wetter summers. Icefields retreating. Permafrost not so 'perma'. Invasive plants and animals moving into the territory. We get it.

What doesn't make sense is declaring and emergency because we all know that will do sweet FA but get a few faces in the news. Let's see some real action.
Maybe Roddick should have declared that the city won't allow any new fossil fuel generation projects. I could get behind that.

Up 3 Down 25

David on Jun 17, 2019 at 1:24 pm

I'm not sure if this is quite where we should be but good for him taking a stand. It's shocking how many climate change skeptics there are in the Yukon. Yes, science has proven that some climate change is due to natural causes, but there is no rational argument that these changes aren't being highly influenced and accelerated by humans.

Up 9 Down 34

Earth First on Jun 17, 2019 at 10:58 am

You would have to be born and lived your whole life under a rock to not realize that we are doing serious damage to all fish and wildlife and thier habitat. Once we have destroyed all fish and wildlife what do you think is next.

Up 31 Down 6

vlad on Jun 16, 2019 at 9:31 am

Rodrick, you should run federally. You would make it big. Perhaps a new Bagel or even Justin, God help us

Up 24 Down 4

Wilf on Jun 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm

You realize he wants to be premier of the Yukon.

Up 58 Down 5

Moose on Jun 14, 2019 at 10:07 pm

@Tomorrow - Not true at all. You can care for the planet, want to reduce emissions, take steps to do so and ALL without having to declare a climate "emergency". We are in dire straits if we don't change our ways no doubt about it. But lighting your hair on fire and screaming we are going to die next week or month is not the way to go. If anything, this will make people take real emergencies less seriously. If a fire is approaching Whitehorse, THAT is an emergency. If Schwatka Lake is about pour over the dam, THAT is an emergency. This is nothing more than Roddick grandstanding and trying to make a name for himself among the granola munchers for when he inevitably runs for the NDP territorially. Anyone who thinks this stunt is anything more, is fooling themselves.

Up 53 Down 6

Yukoner on Jun 14, 2019 at 9:40 pm

Hey! Chicken Little!
Do the job you were elected for. If not resign, and start a movement that uses tin foil for hats.
What a waste of more taxpayers money.
Help me Obi Wan!

Up 49 Down 6

eyeroll on Jun 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Look at me! Look at me!!! - Steve Roddick, probably.

Up 9 Down 61

Tomorrow on Jun 14, 2019 at 1:19 am

These comments actually make my head hurt.
Their logic defies the law of intelligence. Yet I think that's their best tactic... show so much BS your head is spinning so that you give up with exhaustion. You can't argue with stupid. Yet they think they're so intelligent, sadly it's the other way around. God forbid people care for our planet. The greatest realization in my lifetime, the majority isn't always right.

Up 9 Down 42

A monster on Jun 14, 2019 at 1:10 am

Unwilling to face one's ignorance. Without the courage to admit that we don't understand something, there will only be endless arguments without solutions.

It's an issue for ages. We kind of get this idea of who we are as adults. What's right and what's wrong? And rarely do we change said idea. That's how people have been for a long time.

Up 7 Down 37

Always Questions on Jun 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm

In the end, isn't it all just numbers on paper (in bytes)?
What is the value/benefit to declaring a Climate Emergency beyond acknowledgement? Is that a bad thing? Never mind the declarations, let's try and declare by demonstration - not a Statement, Act or Regulation - doing our best within our current environment just because we care and with a goal to strive to do better.
It is interesting that First Nations are implementing 'alternative' solutions within their communities, yet the Territorial Capital appears to have different priorities.

Up 99 Down 9

Stop on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Get back in your lane Roddick.
We are all aware of the Climate Change issue (aside from flat earthers like June) but you were elected to deal with municipal issues. Also, didn't you just hypocritically jet across the continent for a conference? But I suppose your carbon footprint is different than those of us in the unwashed masses. Consider using Skype to attend remotely, you'll save the planet and tax dollars.

You wanna help the city and do the job you are being paid to do? Maybe get some cheap building lots on the market. Maybe fill a few potholes. Maybe paint the lines on the streets. Maybe come up with a plan for downtown parking.

Up 71 Down 10

North_of_60 on Jun 13, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Climate alarmism is a virtue signalling hobby for comfortable urban elitists.
I can't take them seriously until they start living like the Amish.

The problem is that they lie so much. They lie when they refuse to confess that the climate prediction models they use are extremely flawed. They lie when they scream about the "97 percent consensus" that doesn't exist. They lie when they act like the real scientists who doubt man-caused global warming are all kooks and lunatics.

Most of all, their overblown, hysterical doomsday 'climate emergency' prophecies are lies. The world is supposed to already be over by now, according to them. At the very least, all coastal cities should be under water. We should have all been dead from global warming or global cooling or overpopulation dozens of times over. Around the time of the first Earth Day, we were told that hundreds of millions would be starving to death per year within ten years of that date. Human civilization should have crumbled into dust and the few remaining survivors should be floating through a vast water world, locked in a struggle of survival against Dennis Hopper. Yet, here we are, standing on dry land.

How many times are they allowed to be wrong about the end of the world before we are justified in not taking them seriously anymore? I'd say that threshold, whatever it is, has long since been reached.

Up 84 Down 8

jean on Jun 13, 2019 at 11:52 am

If this guy is so concerned about a 'climate emergency' then why did he and 3 other councilors jet cross country to Quebec City in early June? One councilor could have easily represented our small town of 30 thousand. It's obvious he's just another greenwashed hypocrite who loves to live large on the taxpayer's dime and increase our taxes to pay for his extravagance.

Up 72 Down 7

Allan Stanley on Jun 13, 2019 at 11:21 am

Bored with the job he was elected for already ?
The Green party needs a candidate for the upcoming Federal Election.

Up 73 Down 9

Remember Whitehorse on Jun 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

You voted this sandwich in when there were far better candidates for city council.

Up 87 Down 6

Joe on Jun 13, 2019 at 7:48 am

Talk about minimizing the term “emergency”. When a real emergency comes, you will know it. Get back to work, fix the potholes, that’s what your job is.

Up 69 Down 9

PJT1959 on Jun 13, 2019 at 7:11 am

I have one question - if the climate did not change then should we be covered in ice or be a jungle? Tired of elected officials jumping up and down on this band wagon. We have bigger problems in the city that need to be looked without this type of grandstanding. If your going to say it have a solution but then I guess if you keep saying and get louder people will believe you.

Up 79 Down 6

jack on Jun 13, 2019 at 12:57 am

Of course this would mean travel to all of the international climate conferences (Paris, Tokyo etc.) to represent the City of Whitehorse.

Up 61 Down 16

Juniper Jackson on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:55 pm

There is NO climate "emergency". That is a term picked up by the Trudeau Liberals, who have tried to tax their way to prosperity, and failed. They now employ the age old 'scare tactics' to win votes. This MUST be a liberal council to consider this foolishness.
and several thousand other URLs.. but, again, just as many as the other side of this issue has.

Language, and how you use it, carries a lot of weight. "Climate Change" I read, was introduced in 1975 by NASA. But, apparently it did not generate any money. We've had, 'we're all going to die when the earth boils over' it's warming.. then, we're all going to freeze..it's cooling, then "An Inconvenient Truth" came out and earned Al Gore 215 million $.. and the Maldive Islands would disappear, and whole cities would be under water, Arizona, would have a beach! uh huh. Nothing happened except the world economy now turns on the environment.. countless jobs, education in Environmental Studies, Environmental Sciences, everyone with 3 brain cells is making money.
Climate warming? No bucks there..Climate Change? No bucks there either.. ozone layer? ok..a few bucks.. OMG Trudeau came out with plastic bans and he is going to decimate our forests, cut down every last tree so we can all have a water box. uh huh.
Do I think there IS change? yes..of course there is. Do I think not having enough to eat is going to fix it? No..Do i think taxing items until only Trudeau and friends can afford them is going to fix it? No.. I think every family doing its bit to recycle, buy clean where you can, educate our families, children about what everyone can do will fix it? Eventually..yes. Given that not a single prediction from anyone, anywhere has actually come to pass..I think..everyone, everywhere, do their bit and we'll be ok. Without Trudeau and his taxes. (Or his purchase of 1,600 bottles of water a month JUST for his family. I'm looking for the numbers on Parliament usage. )

Up 13 Down 63

High class neighbours on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:43 pm

God forbid human beings care about mother earth! Get em'

Up 71 Down 7

AL on Jun 12, 2019 at 10:27 pm

...and we know why nothing meaningful ever gets down in council. Another stupid, inane waste of time. Does anyone really understand climate emergency?? Talk about a crazy issue with no meaning.

Up 75 Down 8

Gordon of Riverdale on Jun 12, 2019 at 10:12 pm

YEESH - how did this guy get elected ?
Painting the crosswalks and enforcing basic traffic laws on Fourth Avenue would be a good place to start.

Up 15 Down 71

Mike Miller on Jun 12, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Steve Roddick may be the youngest councillor but his motion shows leadership. Thanks for this Steve.

While you are at it Steve, please ensure the City stops giving away Environmentally Sensitive Areas. As a long term Yukoner it's sad to see what has taken place in Whitehorse. Where was the Official Community Plan goals when citizens had to go before council on numerous times to protect areas. The Millennium Trail, Whistle Bend and Mary Lake are good examples. If city staff really followed the OCP residents would not have had to fight hard for basic things like quiet green spaces.

The next motion council can perhaps table is City crime and the disgraceful downfall in the City core. Sure it's the RCMP that needs to step up more but this is our town and council needs to ensure things get better soon.

Up 72 Down 10

My Opinion on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Good Lord what a bunch of Clowns. We have a Fiscal Emergency, deal with that.

I want to know what that big Garage is costing. Tell me how the heating costs on that are going to work out for you. Want to save the planet? You better not be bringing all that rolling stock in and try to warm it.

Up 10 Down 69

Woodcutter on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:33 pm

This guy will go far in politics. The key to leadership in politics is to gauge what the voters are demanding, in spite of your own beliefs, and at this moment the smart politicians have heard the combined voice of the people. Wilf, you need to understand this point as you make your efforts to get elected. Nobody cares of your thoughts, they want someone that cares for theirs

Up 65 Down 12

North_of_60 on Jun 12, 2019 at 5:52 pm

We elected Mayor & Council to be responsible for municipal governance. We did not elect them to be jumping on every trendy bandwagon. Even YTG had the wisdom to avoid this foolish 'climate change activism' fad.

Humans have never caused the climate to change. There is no 'climate emergency'. Our present weather and climate is not abnormal or alarming, and is less extreme than what has occurred many times in the past 10,000 years since the ice age ended.

Stop grandstanding for personal attention and get back to work doing the job we elected you to do.

Up 66 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Jun 12, 2019 at 5:43 pm

I'm going to wait until Justin parks the corporate (our) jet before I take any of this alarmism seriously.

Up 11 Down 76

Miles Canyon on Jun 12, 2019 at 5:35 pm

I hope council runs with this

Up 73 Down 9

The sky is falling on Jun 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Could Steve Roddick just please do the job which he was voted in for rather running around like the chicken screaming “the sky is falling”. We all know the world is in an extreme change of climate. But if the Yukon ceased to exist, it would not change the carbon footprint on a global scale. Declaring a climate emergency does nothing other than open up the door to stupid spending, which our city officials do all too well already.
Unfortunately the Yukon requires a lot of energy to keep us warm, keep the lights on, and keep the grocery shelves full. We all can do the best we can to reduce, but come January, I don’t care how green you are, you will require more energy to survive. Declaring an emergency is nothing more than political grand standing. Declare what you would like to do and how much it will cost taxpayers. They can be judge and jury. Maybe instead of declaring an emergency, use your energy to sell the Feds on paying for a huge solar or wind project.

Up 120 Down 15

Dave on Jun 12, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Oh please, enough already. The latest fad is to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and everyone is jumping on this meaningless bandwagon. Thank goodness YTG had the sense to steer clear of it.

Up 113 Down 17

Mick on Jun 12, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Curious, did he clear this with Jan Stick before speaking up?

Seriously though, stop wasting time and deal with municipal issues.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.