Let’s ask current and prospective municipal politicians to: Show Us the Money!
You’ve helped us make significant progress on climate action over the last few years. However, as you know, there is still more work to do. With a municipal election in the fall, this raises the question: what climate action do we want from current and aspiring municipal politicians?
A Climate Budget that will show us the money!
Next Friday, June 10th, the city is expected to release a first set of interim climate change targets with considerations for the budget process.
As you recall, last December Guelph declared its support for our ‘2050 is too Late’ campaign that was included and motivated them to adopt the United Nations Cities Race to Zero campaign. This required the city to set interim targets and report back on ‘possible funding strategies’ prior to the 2023 budget.
The City of Guelph has a history of environmental leadership. However, it is no surprise that climate action has taken a backseat to the pandemic. Understandably, the priorities of the city shifted. We now need the same immediacy for more climate action. If we don’t pay now, we will pay more later. Climate change will make economic struggles worse for us in Guelph. Investment in climate change is vital to our economy and in sustaining our future.
Further progress in climate change mitigation (reduction) will only come from introducing a city-wide climate budget. Current and future projects will require funding for climate mitigation and adaptation (preparing for more extreme weather).
Our asks from the city:
- Establish the first set of interim targets by the 2nd quarter of this year, which we expect June 10th
- Establish interim targets every four years, set in the third year of each council’s term
- Report annually on how we are progressing on climate change. This needs to be done specifically for the City government and all of its activities (corporate) and the broader community (the rest of the city)
- Include a designated climate budget within the 2023 budget and all subsequent budgets. We know that city staff are already doing this, but it needs to be clear to all of us how this is working and who is accountable.
- Include climate adaptation planning in current and future projects, which agree with above targets
- Empower city staff to bring ideas forward and train on best practices to mitigate climate change
- Ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion is considered in climate action and all city work
Please stay tuned as we all get a chance to review the City report due out next week.
Here are some of the many successes that you’ve helped us all to achieve since 2018
We have had the City:
- Commit to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 or sooner, or by 2050 at the latest
- Commit to make corporate operations 100% renewable by 2050
- Formally acknowledge a climate emergency
- Pledge to use energy more efficiently under the Community Energy Initiative
- Pledge to prioritize inclusive climate action in urban decision-making, including the Official Plan
- Pledge to do its part to keep global warming below 1.5° Celsius (Paris Agreement)
- Commit to create 4-year interim climate targets that fall in the third year of each council’s term
- Modify targets to achieve Guelph’s fair share of the global 50% reduction in CO2 by 2030
- Commit to reporting city-wide progress annually no later than 2022
- Empower city staff to bring ideas forward and to train on best practices
- Offer regular consultation meetings with treaty partners and local Indigenous elders
- Report back on possible funding strategies prior to the 2023 budget
- Our coalition brought together over 200 people for a federal election debate on the environment and enticed a retired Superior Court Justice to be our moderator
- The Guelph Community Foundation adopted our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) focused fossil fuel divestment strategy for their ~$14,000,000 endowment