When discussing the issue of climate change the terms mitigation and adaptation are used frequently.
Climate change mitigation refers to the promotion of policy, regulatory and project-based measures that contribute to the stabilization or reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Renewable energy programs, energy efficiency frameworks and the substitution of fossil fuels are examples of climate change mitigation measures.
The town has been taking inventory of our greenhouse gas emissions and has implemented the following climate change mitigation programs:
Climate change adaptation includes any initiatives or actions in response to actual or projected climate change impacts that reduce the effects of climate change on built, natural and social systems. Preparing for climate change adaptation does not negate the need to support and implement mitigation measures, it is just another method of dealing with the climatic change impacts.
Since 2004, the town has been an active member of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability which is an international association of government organizations committed to sustainable development. ICLEI’s Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) program, is a municipal climate change adaptation program that involves a five step milestone approach to improve a community’s readiness.
Milestone 1 and 2 were completed in 2011 and 2012 while Milestone 3 was awarded upon the endorsement of the town’s formal Climate Change Strategy – Technical Report which was received by Council on September 22, 2014. The town's Climate Change Strategy highlights over 300 actions the corporation can research, develop or implement to help adapt to our changing climate.
Milestone 4 was awarded in 2015 for having completed and reported to Council on one year of implementation while Milestone 5 was presented to the town at the Livable Cities Conference in September of 2016 for being 1 of only 4 municipalities in Canada to have an endorsed Climate Change Strategy with over 3 full years of implementation, view this Implementation Report here.
ICLEI awarded the town Milestone 5 of BARC’s five milestone program for implementation of the Strategy and community education program in September of 2016. This achievement places the town at the forefront of municipalities in Canada working to address climate change. The Town of Oakville and the City of Windsor are the first two of the 19 participating municipalities that have reached Milestone 5 demonstrating the town’s environmental leadership nationally.
Once the climatic changes and impacts were projected, town staff worked to identify what actions could be taken by both staff and residents that would help to achieve the vision and objectives of this adaptation initiative.
To find out what you can do to increase your personal resilience to our changing climate and protect yourself, your home, family and property visit the climate change webpage on Community Resiliency and learn more about Oakville's Climate Change Primer. The town will be hosting the 2019 climateXchange to replace the Oakville Conserves Energy Fair and the annual Keep Calm and Adapt - Emergency and Extreme Weather Preparedness events. Visit climateXchange for more information.