Halifax councillors join Vancouver in declaring climate emergency

Halifax has become the second Canadian city to declare a climate emergency.

Council voted Tuesday to pass a mostly symbolic acknowledgment that climate change is a serious and urgent threat.

Following Vancouver's recent announcement, Halifax has become the second Canadian city to declare a state of "climate emergency" this week. Photo by Keith Pomakis via Wikimedia Commons.
Following Vancouver’s recent announcement, Halifax has become the second Canadian city to declare a state of “climate emergency” this week. Photo by Keith Pomakis via Wikimedia Commons.

The municipality is unlikely to receive additional funds from the provincial or federal governments as a result, but will use the declaration to stress that climate change is real and how it might affect its climate change plan.

Vancouver city council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency earlier this month, and cities such as London and Los Angeles have made similar declarations.

Coun. Richard Zurawski, a meteorologist who brought the motion to Halifax council, said it was in response to a recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

All members of council were open to the proposal, with Coun. Lisa Blackburn saying she didn’t think “anyone around the table” would disagree that Halifax is in the midst of a climate emergency.

Zurawski had asked that council direct staff to prepare a report that recognizes “the breakdown of the stable climate and sea levels ? constitutes an emergency” for the Halifax region and provides recommendations that would accelerate the municipality’s actions to meet — and even exceed — their climate change targets.

He had asked for a report in 90 days, but council gave a timeline of a year.

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