Reaching a milestone, or five…

Partners for Climate Protection Five Milestones Trophy.
All five puzzle pieces of the Partners for Climate Protection trophy, each representing a milestone, are now complete.

The City of Burlington joins 40 communities across the country that have completed the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program, administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (now known as ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability), to help municipalities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  The city has now received all pieces of a puzzle trophy signifying the five milestones that have been met.

PCP award
Councillor Paul Sharman (right) attended the FCM Shaping Canada’s Future conference in Ottawa on June 3 on behalf of the City of Burlington to accept this recognition.

It has been a long process to reach the final milestone.  The city joined the PCP program back in 2002 but it was 2005 before milestone one was achieved with the completion of a greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

Since then, it has been a bit of a journey to complete all the required milestones.  In 2007, council incorporated a number of actions from a staff report (Agenda for Action) to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in their strategic plan, Future Focus Seven (2007 – 2010).  Milestone two was achieved at this time when council endorsed a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for city operations, which has since been met.

It was not until 2013 and 2014 when the city achieved milestone three with action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Both the Corporate Energy Management Plan and Community Energy Plan were recognized by FCM and ICLEI as the city’s action plans under the PCP program.

Since then staff have been working to implement and monitor the progress of both plans.  Annual reports are prepared and presented to council, meeting milestones four and five.

The city did not do this alone and we need to recognize the support we receive from our community stakeholders and partners as we continue to implement the Community Energy Plan.  This plan involves people and organizations across the city, such as Burlington Hydro, Union Gas, the school boards, BurlingtonGreen and many others.  They are the ‘community’ in the Community Energy Plan.

GHG emissions in Burlington by sector.

 Although the city has met the final requirements of the PCP program, we still have a long way to go.  Council has set ambitious targets in their most recent 25-year strategic plan (2015 to 2040):

  • The city’s operations are net carbon neutral (by 2040); and,
  • The city recognizes that climate change is a significant issue and is working with the community and all levels of government towards the goal of the Burlington community being net carbon neutral.

Both the corporate and community energy plans are due for an update, particularly in light of these targets, so stay tuned for more information.  In the meantime, we all have a part to play in improving our energy efficiency, particularly by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.  Check out some of these websites to learn about programs to help you Take Action:

This post was provided by Lynn Robichaud, Senior Sustainability Coordinator, with the City of Burlington.

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