The city council has approved the Kingston Climate Leadership Plan and will set higher emissions reduction targets for the community.
The council on Tuesday unanimously endorsed the plan that sets ten emissions reduction targets in Kingston, with the ultimate goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.
At the meeting, Councilor Kiley, who is a member of Canada’s Climate Change Committee, said staff on this report identified a number of ideas put forward by members of that committee.
“This leadership plan is going to inspire others, we’re going beyond our weight for a city our size,” said Kiley.
In 2014, Kingston’s climate protection plan called for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 30 to 40 percent by 2030.
Not least thanks to calls from environmental groups like 350 Kingston, the city has raised its targets and is now aiming for a 50 percent reduction over the same period.
Speaking to the council Tuesday, Gavin Hutchison of 350 Kingston said science makes it clear that Kingston’s original goal of 30 percent isn’t really doing its part.
“Scientists from around the world studying the energy and balance of our planet have spoken crystal clear about how we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by at least half this decade if we are to have a chance of keeping global warming by 1.5 Keep degrees Celsius, “Hutchison told Council.
Another 350 Kingston delegate, Mark Sibley, said Kingston should also oppose spending the budgeted $ 3.6 million on expanding the natural gas network.
Sibley pointed to cities like Vancouver and New York City, which have stated that all new construction does not depend on fossil fuels.
The plan was drawn up in consultation with local experts and over 990 community members.
Ten main goals were outlined in the city map, highlighting the future use of renewable energy sources, the retrofitting of businesses and homes, and helping local organizations and businesses to identify and reduce their own climate impacts.
The plan also recommends a regular review every five years to identify and implement local opportunities for the carbon neutral transition as technology and community action evolve over the next 25 years.
The city identified 22,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations in 2018 and aims to achieve a 15 percent decline from this level from 2022 before reaching the final goal of CO2 neutrality in 2040.
However, the plan also recognizes that Kingston’s environmental goals cannot be achieved without community involvement, as community operations only account for about two percent of Kingston’s total emissions.
Hence, the plan seeks ways to encourage ownership, including trying to keep residents away from using private vehicles and locating food production.
The report also notes that municipalities’ emissions have already decreased by six percent between 2011 and 2018, largely due to Ontario’s move away from coal-generated electricity.
The plan envisages that implementation of the identified recommendations will reduce Community emissions from 1,290,000 tonnes to 470,000 tonnes by 2040.