Climate action brings our community a powerful return on investment, and we can’t afford not to embrace the economic, environmental, and social benefits of driving down Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions, Ottawa Climate Action Fund (OCAF) Executive Director Steve Winkelman told a City Council committee at its May 17 meeting.
In his presentation to the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management, Winkelman traced the threats to community resources and vulnerable people across Ottawa—from weather and heat emergencies to disruption of the infrastructure we depend on every day—that will continue to worsen if climate change isn’t brought under control.
“We know that time is not on our side in terms of bending the curve on emissions, in terms of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change,” he said. “Climate change is known as a threat multiplier, exacerbating physical, social, and economic risks.”
And he explained how OCAF’s priority focus on low-carbon buildings, sustainable transportation, and 15-minute neighbourhoods can drive carbon down and community up, helping to protect the most vulnerable while generating green jobs, business revenue, and billions of dollars in savings.
Winkelman brought committee members up to date on major initiatives from OCAF’s first year of operation, with projects focused on home energy retrofits, electric vehicle awareness, climate equity, low-carbon workforce development, and sewer waste heat recovery. The six grants totalled $350,000 and leveraged more than $900,000 from a variety of funding partners—with all the work aligned with the City’s own Energy Evolution climate strategy.