Climate Change – It’s not just about City Hall (but we can help!)

Climate Action Plan graphic

Did you know that Burlington City Council approved a Climate Action Plan in 2020 setting a pathway to become a net carbon neutral community by 2050? What does this mean? In simple terms, we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced within our community as much as possible and to ‘subtract’ any remaining emissions by purchasing carbon offsets. But how is this going to happen? 

Well, a lot of our success depends on our individual and collective choices with respect to the homes we live in, the businesses we depend on and how we get around our city. And yes, the city can help and support your decision making. Here are a few things we’re working on:

Home Energy Retrofit Program

We have partnered with the Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College, an applied research arm of the college and a collaboration hub on climate change, to develop a feasibility study for a home energy retrofit program and pilot project. A final report with recommendations is scheduled to be presented to city council by the end of 2021.

Integrated Mobility Plan

The City’s Transportation Services department is developing an Integrated Mobility Plan with a focus on moving people, not necessarily cars. Council recently endorsed the Cycling Plan which will feed into transportation network options to be available this July for public review. The transportation sector is a significant source of emissions in our community (about 40 per cent) which is why support for active transportation and transit is important.  

Electric Vehicles

Earlier this year staff reported on the city’s progress in installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on city property, many of which are available for public use. Next steps include the development of an Electric Mobility Strategy to assess market trends, engage the community and define options for the city to support the adoption of EVs. Yes, we agree that active and sustainable transportation is a priority to improve the livability in our community (have you tried an e-bike?) but to meet our net carbon neutral goal, electric mobility must also be supported.

Renewable Energy

Have you thought of renewable energy for your home or business? Solar can help offset the cost of switching to electrification of our energy needs. Did you know that Google Environmental Insights Explorer has a link where you can check out if your home might be a good candidate for solar panels? More work needs to be done in this area to determine how we can support the expansion of renewable energy in our community.

Climate Action Plan Update Report

If you’re interested in learning more about what the city is doing, check out the Climate Action Plan annual update staff report and appendices (A and B) being presented to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (of Council) on June 10. In future blogs, we will expand on some of these subjects and include actions that residents and businesses can consider to reduce their carbon footprint. We will also provide an update on what’s happening within our own operations to take action on climate change. 

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