On June 17, 2019 City of Burlington sustainability staff presented Take Action Burlington – An Update on Our Local Environment to Council. This report provides an overview on the state of Burlington’s environment including information on local sustainability efforts and actions that can be taken. This is the first of five posts about the report.
The new report has four themes:
Each theme is broken down into:
- Climate change connections
- What are we doing?
- What can you do?
Climate change connections are embedded throughout the report because:
- Our daily actions, such as how we live and move around have an impact on climate change (mitigation); and
- The effects of climate change, such as significantly more intense storms and flooding, impact our everyday lives (adaptation).
How will climate change impact you and me in Burlington?
In 2016, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability provided the city with a report on local climate data. The results are summarized below:
While we can expect more rain each year, there will be less rain in the summer. Also, there will be more extreme weather events such as extreme heat days, extreme precipitation and flooding, wind storms and ice storms.
Are we already experiencing climate change?
Burlington has been experiencing more extreme events including the ice storm in 2013, the flood in 2014, high Lake Ontario levels in 2017 and 2019 and increased windstorms. Such events have impacted Burlington residents and businesses financially. The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation has also reported impacts of flooding on mental health.
What is the city doing?
Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040 included two key objectives related to climate change:
- City operations will be net carbon neutral; 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.
On April 23, 2019, Burlington’s City Council unanimously passed a motion to declare a climate emergency ‘for the purposes of deepening our commitment to protecting the economy, environment and community from climate change.”
On June 17, 2019 council endorsed a Climate Action Update Report to:
- Respond to the council directions included in the Climate Emergency Declaration; and
- To provide an update on the initiatives the city is involved in to address climate change.
More reports are in the works and include:
- Corporate energy end emissions plan update with a proposed path to carbon neutrality for city operations; and
- Updated stormwater design standards in stormwater quality, climate change adaptation and low impact development.
Future blog posts will feature more information presented in the Take Action Burlington – An Update on Our Local Environment and also announce planned workshops for community input into the Burlington Climate Action Plan.
In the meantime, you can check out the following:
- Take Action Burlington – An Update on Our Local Environment (pdf) and online story map
- Climate Action Update Report
Take Action Burlington! Collectively we take actions to reduce our impact on our environment and make a difference.