eMERGE was delighted to host 2050 is Too Late with our 15 environmental co-sponsors. This event explored ways to meet our climate goals much sooner than 2050!
Our thanks go to our city councillors, James Gordon and Leanne Caron for their outstanding support and creative ideas to help Guelpites reach their climatic goals and unblock their bottleneck challenges. Check out this video and slides with the link below.
A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here.
The slide deck for this webinar is now available here
About the Event
The latest science showing the need for ‘climate action now’ couldn’t be clearer. And while the city has acknowledged that we are in a climate emergency, our first climate target isn’t until 2030. That’s like telling a parent today that their child in grade 1 won’t be evaluated until they get to grade 9.
Guelph just released its Sustainability Report on how we’re fighting climate change. Our city staff are working hard and it shows that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions went down in 2020. However, the pandemic has had a profound impact on cutting emissions across the country. Will Guelph be able to sustain that drop and keep reducing emissions fast enough post-pandemic?
The city has two climate change targets for 2050: Net Zero Carbon (for the entire community) and 100% Renewable Energy (for the corporation of the City of Guelph).
Here’s how we can do better.
1- Develop mandatory interim climate change targets that fall within city council terms of office:
We need more accountability. Our first climate target of 45% doesn’t occur until 2030. While there are requirements for “reviews” every 5 years, there are no specific targets associated with those reviews.
This all about accountability and the “reviews” don’t quite line up with the 4-year terms of city council. Having interim targets that land within Council terms will help focus our work and create more accountability – for all of us.
It will also gives us a much better method of understanding how we are – or aren’t -progressing in an emergency.
The City of Hamilton has already implemented 4 year targets.
2- Entrench climate change action into the Official Plan review.
The current Official Plan – now undergoing a review – doesn’t reflect our current climate targets. It does include reference to the now outdated energy plan. All decisions that the city makes must include a ‘lens’ that ensures climate change is front and centre.
3- Empower All City staff to bring their ideas forward to fight climate change.
This is about changing the culture.
We have great staff working for us in many different departments at the city. Who better to understand the challenges and opportunities available to fast-track fighting climate change efforts in their specific field of work? We can’t leave this to one small, but committed, office to do all the heavy lifting.
Empowering all city staff to find their voice and help fight climate change will give us a great leg up.
4- Review the 2050 target date for Net Zero carbon and 100%RE.
Like our Health Unit’s COVID vaccination efforts, we believe that Guelph can be a front runner by going above and beyond these targets. As we see progress, we must also re-evaluate this final target and bring it closer – much closer – to today.
As a community we need to battle climate change aggressively on all fronts.
Will We able to meet our climate change targets?
Co-sponsored by the following environmental groups:
Below is a list of the co-sponsors of this event:
- Citizen’s Climate Lobby
- Climate Justice Guelph
- Council of Canadians-Guelph Chapter
- eMERGE Guelph
- Extinction Rebellion Guelph
- Fridays for the Future
- Greenhouse Guelph
- Green New Deal Guelph
- Guelph Wellington Coalition for Social Justice
- KAIROS Guelph
- OPIRG Guelph
- Transition Guelph
- Wellington Water Watchers
- Yorklands Green Hub