Orangeville has set course toward contributing no greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Town council directed staff during its May 1 meeting to develop a Community Climate Action Plan that will lessen greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10 per cent below 2016 levels by 2030 and 40 per cent by 2040.

According to the town’s 2016 levels, transportation in the municipality generated 66.4 per cent of total community emissions. Greenhouses gases generated by residential properties and commercial properties were ranked at 17.5 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively.

Municipalities control nearly half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and are key to helping achieve Canada’s reduction targets. With growing urgency of climate change planning, municipalities are well-suited to lead local climate action. 

Orangeville council decided May 10, 2021 to adopt a net zero emissions reduction target by 2050. Orangeville’s 2016 GHG inventory serves as the baseline year.

To that end, the town co-opted the county’s targets as set out in the 2021 Dufferin Climate Action Plan. That’s a 10 per cent reduction by 2030 and 40 per cent less than 2016 levels by 2040.

Aligning with the county plan maximizes efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and combines efforts towards climate action.

Councillor Joe Andrews asked what needs to be done to reach the initial target.

Kate Thomson, the town’s sustainability coordinator in infrastructure services, said efforts to curtail emissions will be focused on the parts of town that generates the most greenhouse gases.

“The 10 per cent target is really just to initiate and keep on track with declining our greenhouse gases,” she said. “Then the 40 per cent greenhouse gas (reduction) target by 2040 is in line with some of the federal and provincial initiatives that are going on.”

She said there’s going to be much research conducted to determine what specifically needs to be done to hit those targets. Avenues such as green development standards for building projects will be explored.

Andrews said the municipality has looked at incorporating electric vehicles into its departmental fleets. The town has already made public transit free as a means to encourage less vehicles on the street.

“This is where the financial impact is in fact going to happen over a period of time,” he said. “I think it’s just the matter of us looking at what is that timeline, how quickly can we end up supporting this?”

Andrews said the town has to prepare itself for the future financial impact now.

“The longer you wait, the more expensive it’s going to end up being,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor wondered how it’s to be determined that reductions are on course to meet the targets by their deadlines.

“You want to have teeth in it,” Taylor said. “You don’t want to just pass it and go, We did the exercise. How do we know that our great little town Orangeville is going to follow through on this?”

Thomson said it may be that some of the reduction targets will need to be revised. Potentially, financial constraints or staff resources could be issues for implementing the climate actions.

“But at least it gives us a timeline or a measuring stick,” she said. “It also allows us the opportunity to revise it if needed, to course-correct.”


By James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 12, 2023 at 07:40

This item reprinted with permission from   Orangeville Citizen   Orangeville, Ontario

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