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VIDEO: Kelowna's climate strategy under scrutiny

In a town hall meeting, the Kelowna Climate Coalition plans to take a hard look at the City's 'Climate Resilient Kelowna Strategy' Tuesday evening.

The coalition aims to plot out where the strategy falls short, and where to focus lobbying efforts for improvement.

"What we know is the City of Kelowna cares about climate," said spokesperson Dr. Tom Warshawski.

He said the very existence of the city's 'Climate Resistant Kelowna Strategy' is evidence of that.

"And cities, contrary to what a lot of people think, are responsible for 40-50% of greenhouse gas emissions within the city," said Warshawski.

<who> Photo Credit: BC Wildfire Service

The effort comes at a time when carbon taxes are fading in popularity, and the political tides are shifting toward parties like the BC Conservatives which place less emphasis on fighting climate change.

The Kelowna pediatrician said he understands it.

"When you have someone like Poillievre who gives a simple sound bite, 'axe the tax', to a very complex problem," he admits. "It's appealing."

At the Tuesday night event, the plan is to break out into smaller groups and focus on four areas of the strategy: Buildings, Transportation, Land Use, and Nature-based Solutions.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia <who> Dr. Tom Warshawski, Kelowna Climate Coalition

Dr. Warshawski is among a dozen individuals on the coalition who each bring their expertise to issues such as this.

"We want to explain to people who care about this in the city," he said, "Don't throw your hands up and say 'we can't do anything', we can do something. We can do something at the local level."

And Warshawski said his group is not afraid to demand policy shifts that address the issue.

For example: "No fossil fuels in new builds by 2026 or 2027," he suggested. "Not 2030 when the province says you've got to do it. Let's do it a bit earlier."

Dr. Warshawski said addressing climate change will hurt a bit, but it has to happen.

He cautions against believing political promises that we can just go back to how things were.

"We've lived through the atmospheric rivers, we've had the heat domes," he said.

"It's just going to get worse unless we do something."

Warshawski said ultimately it's up to the general public to urge their civic leaders to make the demands.

"That we know we can do things, and we have to do these things."

The Tuesday night round table is at 6 pm at Okanagan College.

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