Oakville declares climate emergency

Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Council urges residents to take action against a climate crisis

Last night, the Town of Oakville joined a number of municipalities taking strong action on climate change. At the June 24 meeting, Council unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency in Oakville.

The town has been active in implementing climate change policies and programs since 2005 and has taken significant steps to reduce its impact on the environment. The declaration establishes the importance of accelerating climate change action and signals to the community the need to take action now.

“The entire community — including Council, town staff, businesses and residents — has an essential role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Council and staff urge everyone to join in and immediately increase the priority of our fight against a climate crisis, through their everyday actions.”

In a resolution put forth by Councillor Peter Longo, staff were directed to report annually on climate change actions and update the climate change strategy to:

  • address the operations of the corporation and the public of the municipality
  • identify the public’s role in the climate crisis and the actions the community can do to fight climate change
  • embed a climate crisis lens into the town’s asset management program
  • incorporate climate change crisis policies into Livable Oakville, the town’s official plan
  • increase action and ambition for the town’s climate change crisis-related activities
  • include performance metrics to track progress and timelines for achieving key deliverables/major milestones, and a strategy to report back publicly on progress of municipal and public efforts

Consequences attributed to the climate change crisis are already being seen in Oakville, such as the 2019 record-setting high lake levels, shoreline erosion and flooding of our parks and trails, the ice storm of December 2013, and the effects of Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive species on our local forests.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) there is a need for a significant and structural reduction in carbon emissions in the next 11 years to avoid further economic, ecological, and societal losses due to the climate change crisis.

The town is currently developing a Community Energy Plan in partnership with Sheridan College and the Oakville Energy Task Force to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oakville and advance climate action by all members of the community. Findings of the Oakville Energy Task Force show that up to 48 per cent of emissions are from transportation (i.e. personal vehicle use and commercial vehicles).

The town has developed a top ten list of activities residents can do to help reduce Oakville’s emissions, including driving less and walking more, wasting less, reducing single use plastic, buying local, and using energy efficient appliances to name a few. You can review the complete list of suggestions on our Climate Change page.

As of June 2019, local municipalities that have passed a climate emergency declaration include Mississauga, Brampton, Burlington, Halton Hills, Hamilton, and St. Catharines. On June 17, the Canadian government passed a motion to declare a national climate emergency in Canada.

For more information, review the Climate Change Emergency staff report, item 4 on the June 24 Council agenda.