A motion headed to city council May 28 calls on Greater Sudbury to join other Canadian cities and declare a climate emergency.
The motion from Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh, Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland and Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer would have the city join Vancouver, Halifax and 286 other Canadian communities that have passed similar motions.
“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ‘Global Warming of 1.5 °C’ report states that we have less than 12 years to avert the worst impacts of climate change and identifies cities and urban areas as one of four critical global systems that can accelerate and upscale climate action,” the motion reads.
Greater Sudbury is a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection program, and a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which adopted a resolution in 2016 recognizing the need to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases.
The motion also says Greater Sudbury will be completing its Community Energy and Emissions Plan and undertaking its Climate Change Adaptation Plan in 2019. And it points to the city's regreening efforts and the fact there are economic opportunities “if Greater Sudbury were to become a leader on climate change mitigation, adaptation and technology in Northern Ontario.”
“Greater Sudbury is already experiencing large and rising costs and risks from climate change impacts such as extreme weather events, flooding and forest fires,” the motion reads. “Therefore be it resolved that the City of Greater Sudbury officially declare a climate emergency to name and deepen our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from climate change.”
If approved, staff will prepare a report before the end of year describing the city's plan for creating a “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan” that includes a number of elements:
- The reduction of municipal carbon emissions including the identification of specific targets and, ultimately, net zero carbon emissions by 2050;
- Policy choices that increase the proportion of residents that can choose active transportation modes or public transit for their daily needs;
- Operating standards for municipal facilities and technical specifications for municipal construction contracts that reduce carbon pollution;
- The development of measurement and reporting systems for energy utilization and carbon reduction to inform policy and budgeting choices;
- Collaboration with other governments, institutions and industry associations to improve standards and protocols that can positively address climate adaptation and mitigation;
- The potential to create an advisory committee that provides guidance and support for the city’s efforts to respond to the climate emergency;
- A business case for consideration as part of the 2020 budget that secures the resources required to develop the plan.