Climate Change and the Municipal Election 

With the municipal election coming up on October 24, we have the opportunity to ask candidates what they will do to accelerate the fight against climate change.

The quickest action they can take as a new council is to establish interim climate change targets for the entire community.

You can raise this question with all Guelph candidates in this election:

“Will you as a (councillor or mayor) commit to implementing interim climate change targets for greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions that:

  • Include all of the GHG pollution throughout the city – not just the corporation of the City of Guelph.
  • Establish the targets to land in the 3rd year of each 4 year term of city council.



In 2021 Guelph City Council committed to establish interim climate change targets by June of 2022. When the targets were released in the report  (Cities Race-to-Zero Four-Year Interim Targets) it ignored 97% of the GHG pollution in the city.

Instead, the report set targets for only 2.2% of all ghg emissions in the city.

Guelph is now falling behind municipalities across the country that are effectively working with all sectors of their communities to fight climate change aggressively while increasing local economic activity.

Many pieces of the report remain unclear.

The City did well to clarify the responsibility of the Corporation of the City of Guelph (corporate) in climate action. However, failed to include the rest of the community (community)  that makes up more than 97% of city-wide GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. 

Note: 2020 Total Community GHG emissions = 775,887 tonnes CO2 equivalent. “Corporate” refers only to the “Corporation of the City of Guelph”

Moreover, the city did not show how the money will be allocated to reach net-zero by 2050 (or sooner). The report itself stated that capital and operating budgets are required to reduce corporate and community GHG emissions. However, specific mention of climate change mitigation (prevention) and budgeting was not discussed.

Also missing was any discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion, which they also pledged to do under the Cities Race to Zero decision. 

The language used within the report suggests that community GHG reduction is the responsibility of “broader community stakeholders.” And yet, according to the Guelph Community Energy Initiative:

  • The responsibility of public authorities to be fully engaged with the goals of the community cannot be overestimated.
  • Managing the community’s energy future and addressing climate change are foundational to the day-to-day work of the municipality.
  • Financing community energy initiatives is the role of the municipality.

The City has also acknowledged that we are in a climate emergency.

A recent update to the Cities Race to Zero criteria stated that cities committing to net-zero must include “all scopes of emissions” within their interim and long-term targets.

Why should targets fall in the 3rd year of the 4 year City Council terms?

By placing target dates in the 3rd year of council terms, they have had enough time to understand the targets, make changes to accelerate GHG emission reductions and still have a 4th year in which to also impact climate change in their term of office.

Other Background:

To contact all candidates to ask them about Climate Change: