Cheryl Wiens, center, at one of the regular protests outside of the Township Civic Facility in the months before the vote on a climate emergency. (Tosha Lobsinger photo)

Langley Township council acknowledges climate emergency

The council will consider concrete measures starting this fall

After rejecting the idea of declaring a climate crisis in the spring, Langley Township council moved toward action at Monday’s meeting.

The council unanimously approved a motion by Councillor Petrina Arnason, acknowledging there is a “climate emergency as evidenced by scientific studies and policy predictions that indicate dire consequences arising from the breakdown of a stable climate arising from unprecedented global warming.”

There were several other measures in the motion, including a proposal that the Township create a draft “carbon budget” for both corporate and community CO2 emissions related to planning and land development.

Arnason’s motion also called for an annual report from staff on the carbon budget so council could make decisions on policy.

She acknowledged that some aspects of the plan may seem overwhelming at first.

But Arnason noted there are already initiatives started by municipal staff, either underway or in the planning stages, that could help reduce CO2 output in the Township.

Over the years, the Township has already made a number of moves towards sustainability and reducing emissions, including using some electric vehicles and creating more energy-efficient municipal buildings.

“We need political direction to move this forward,” she said.

“We all agree, we do need to look into this,” said Mayor Jack Froese.

READ MORE: Popularity of electric car chargers up 3,000% in Langley Township

The second part of Arnason’s motion, regarding the actual policy nuts and bolts of the matter, was referred to a meeting expected in the early fall.

The reconsideration followed an appearance by Cheryl Wiens of the B.C. Green Party, who urged council to take action.

“Acting is a moral imperative,” she said.

Wiens said she was thankful they voted in favour of the motion this time.

“Acknowledging the reality of the climate crisis we’re in is a good first step,” she said.

The next thing that’s needed are evidence-based emission targets and a carbon budget, she said.

Local Greens and environmentalists held small regular rallies outside of the Township hall over the last several months in the run-up to the vote.

Wiens pointed to issues such as increased forest fires and smoke, as well as droughts and powerful storms that have affected the Lower Mainland in recent years.

“These things are only going to get worse,” she said.

Council’s decision is in sharp contrast to their April reception of the same motion.

Back then, council voted to refer the climate emergency resolution and carbon budget talks to a September strategic planning meeting.

“I don’t see this as the type of emergency that we need to deal with today,” said Coun. Blair Whitmarsh before the April vote.

A delegation of young environmental activists and Green Party members had arrived at the April meeting bearing signs calling for climate action.

A number of other communities around B.C. and across the country have already declared climate emergencies, and in June the federal government voted to declare a national climate emergency. Other communities, including Abbotsford, have declined to pass climate emergency declarations.

READ MORE: Climate emergency decision will wait until September in Langley Township

Climate changeEnvironmentLangleyLangley Townshipmunicipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Why Langley coach Neil Brown was inducted into the BC Basketball Hall of Fame

He described his record as a ‘perfect storm’ of championship girls’ basketball teams

Ride For Doug Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser to proceed

It will be shorter and much of it will be online due to COVID-19 restrictions

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

LETTER: Angels come to aid of elderly couple in distress

In the craziness of the moment, letter writer forgot to get names, and is anxious to say thanks

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Most Read