Ward 2 Coun. Rodrigo Goller told The Guelph Post on Wednesday night that he favoured a measured, sustainable approach over declaring a climate emergency — a motion he and the rest of Council will be voting for or against on Monday.
“I am deeply concerned with the current global environmental crisis,” he said in response to an inquiry, saying he agreed with taking “decisive action and change the way we do things” to avert global warming.
Goller explained he has spent a lot of time dwelling on environmental issues as a past board member of both the Wellington Water Watchers and Transition Guelph, explaining he is committed “to doing the work to help make Guelph more resilient community.”
“I see that other municipalities are declaring a climate emergency and then directing their staff to come up with a plan. However, Guelph is way ahead of the pack, he added.
Goller cited the Our Energy Guelph plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 with 100 per cent renewables, an initiative passed last spring by Council.
“The problem is that this isn’t a sprint. We can’t declare a state of emergency, bring in the army and have Guelph become a net zero community by month’s end, the first-time councillor continued.
Goller explained that Guelph’s climate initiatives are long-term projects that “require we change the way we do things”, and that the community works together to achieve the goals set out by the collective.
“I think that it’s more important for us to take measured and sustainable actions to make sure that our municipality and the wider community becomes resilient,” the councillor added.
“I am concerned that an emergency declaration is the wrong tool to get the results we are looking for, and it does not acknowledge all the work our municipality has already been doing.”
A running tally of councillors and the mayor on what side of the ballot they will come down on come Monday shows that with Goller against the motion it now sits tied at four — a number that is likely to change with five members either non-responsive or undecided.
Goller and his fellow Ward 2 Coun. James Gordon are holding a town hall focused on climate change two days before the Council meeting where an emergency declaration will be voted on.
Like his ward-mate Gordon, Goller said that the timing was a coincidence as the date had been chosen far in advance.
He said that climate change was chosen as the topic due to receiving updates from the City of Guelph’s Climate Change Office, on what the City is doing to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
Council also received a report from Our Energy Guelph, a local organization tasked with the mandate of helping the community of Guelph achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
Council will be reviewing staff recommendations to “a”, enter into an agreement with Our Energy Guelph, and “b”, set the direction for the Corporation of the City of Guelph to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
Goller said he hopes at the town hall to hear from consistuients on their reaction to the 2050 goal and what they are willing to do to reach the objective.
“The reality is that unless our entire community gets behind initiatives like Our Energy Guelph and takes advantage of the supports available from groups like eMerge Guelph, we’re not going to achieve these goals,” the councillor and business owner added.