St. Catharines and Climate Change

Niagara Adapts Climate Change Online Survey

The City of St. Catharines is in development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The plan will deliver Corporate Adaptation actions that the City can improve on existing practices or create new proactive opportunities. The newly launched Climate Change web page highlights actions already underway for St. Catharines and will be updated as progress is made.

Please participate in the Niagara Adapts Climate Change Survey to help shape the St. Catharines Climate Adaptation Plan.

As part of the Plan development Niagara Adapts has launched a Climate Change Survey to gain community insight. Click the image below to start.

  • $300 Prize Draw at the end of Survey Linkcompleting the survey, this is an optional draw, one prize of $300 will be awarded per municipality!
  • The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete
  • The survey will be active until December
  • The survey is applied to residents that live in St. Catharines as well as the other partner municipalities; Grimsby, Niagara Falls, Lincoln, Pelham, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Welland.

Please share with your friends, family and network as our goal is to reach at least 100 St. Catharines residents. The more participants the greater insight we will have to produce informative Adaptation Plans.


Climate/Weather Impacts

St. Catharines and Climate Change

The effects surrounding Climate Change has made this one of the most pressing issues faced today. Given the magnitude of these effects, it will take a global effort to mitigate and adapt to these changes.

Climate Change is a long-term shift in average weather conditions. There is near unanimous consensus that climate change is occurring and human activity is the main cause, due to the burning of fossil fuels and the conversion of forests to agriculture.

St. Catharines understands the importance of Climate Change and has declared a Climate Emergency as of April 29 2019.

The effects of Climate Change are posing many challenges to municipalities as they are the front line of defence and reacting to any issues; such as flooding, severe wind storms, drought and freezing rain events.

Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. In St. Catharines we will see an increase in temperature of 3°C by 2050 from our historic average (1976 - 2005) temperature.

Municipalities also hold a responsibility in mitigating and adapting to Climate Change. The City of St. Catharines has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The development of a Climate Adaptation Plan is currently underway.  

Climate Hazards; Flooding, Drought, Extreme Weather, and Extreme Heat

What is the City of St. Catharines doing about Climate Change?

Here is an overview and snapshot of what the City is working on: 

  1. St. Catharines declared Climate Emergency as of April 29 2019 (reference 8.1) for the purposes of recognizing the urgent need to take action.
  2. We have an updated strategic Environmental Stewardship pillar focused on the environment within our new Strategic Plan. The goal is to "adopt innovative approaches and continue responsible community planning and decision-making that balances growth, enhances quality of life, manages emergencies, and minimizes the environmental impacts of climate change."
  3. The City has approved an Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan. The plan has specific targets for City operations related to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This has allowed a deeper insight into the energy consumption of City buildings and ways to upgrade to lower energy consumption alternatives.
  4. St. Catharines has partnered with Brock University on a collaborative based climate adaptation project called Niagara Adapts. By working with neighbouring municipalities and Brock University's Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, the partnership will support collaborative Climate Change Adaptation assessment, planning and implementation.
  5. The City has hired a Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator and is developing a Corporate Climate Adaptation Plan. The Plan will be developed using an inter-departmental Adaptation Team and with input from residents and stakeholders. This plan ensures that the City follows trough on its commitment to addressing climate change. The City would like to acknowledge the financial support provided to this project though the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program, funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Government of Canada.

 

What is Climate Change Adaptation?

Adaptation is aimed at reducing the consequences of Climate Change by responding proactively towards associated impacts, risks and vulnerabilities. Despite our efforts to reduce carbon pollution, we need to ensure we are prepared for the impacts of a changing global climate.

The Climate Adaptation plan will be focused on what the City of St. Catharines can do to better prepare and be more resilient towards Climate Change. This plan will make managing future climate risks more informed, prioritized and coordinated across all City departments. Climate Adaptation plans are developed to reduce risks and vulnerabilities while planning for the future climate and providing economic savings.

 

Landscape

 

What is Climate Change Mitigation?

Mitigation is focused on the reduction and prevention of Greenhouse Gas emissions to reduce the rate of Climate Change.

St. Catharines is a member of the Global Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and EnergyCovenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, an international coalition of progressive cities taking leadership to address climate change. As part of this program, St. Catharines has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The target aligns with and supports the commitments made by the Federal and Provincial Governments as with internationally agreed upon targets to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Mayor Walter Sendzik formally committed the City in December 2015, prior to the Paris Accord. St. Catharines is one of 30 cities in Canada to join the effort.

St. Catharines is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings, equipment, and fleet of vehicles. Since 2011, the City has achieved a 15% reduction in corporate energy use and a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity. In total, the City has reduced its annual energy consumption by over 7.5 million kilowatt hours of energy. This is the equivalent to the annual energy consumption of almost 800 households.

The City has targeted a 30% reduction in corporate energy intensity and 40% reduction in corporate GHG intensity by 2030 compared to the base year of 2011.

 

Examples of mitigation actions already in place by the City include:

 

More ways St. Catharines is responding to Climate Change

 

In addition to using less fuel and energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are working to ensure our community is more resilient and prepared for the effects of climate change.

Learn more from the following links provided:

What can you do about Climate Change?

Reflect on what you can do to take personal, positive actions against Climate Change.

Some actions that help reduce climate change impacts are:

 Food

 
  • Reduce the amount of food waste you generate
  • Increase your consumption for a plant based diet with less meat
  • Buy and support local food sources and markets
  • Grow your own garden at home or participate in a community garden in your area
  • Start canning and preserving food
  • Use re-useable bags for your groceries and produce
  • Purchase products that have less packaging
  • Make your lunches green by using re-useable containers instead of plastic sealable bags

youth watering vegetable garden

 

Transportation

  • Make your next car purchase be a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle
  • Carpool whenever you can
  • Take advantage and use Public Transit
  • Bike to work or for errands
  • Avoid idling vehicles and using drive-thru’s

Father and son on Public Transit

Household Efficiencies

 
  • Upgrade old incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs
  • Upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat to take advantage of turning up/down temperature based on occupancy
  • Have your HVAC system serviced regularly to ensure it's running efficiently
  • Reduce temperature and insulate your water heater to save energy consumption
  • Upgrade old household appliances to newer energy efficient products
  • Install a rain barrel and reduce excess runoff into storm drains
  • Plant a native tree(s) on your property to produce shade cover on your house, reducing air conditioning needs and benefiting local wildlife
  • Recycle and donate clothing
  • Shop for natural fibers and fabrics such as cotton, bamboo and hemp
  • Use natural products, such as wood for building projects
  • Use the 6 "Rs": Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and then
    Recycle

House silhouette

Educate yourself and spread awareness on the Environment and Climate Change

  • Figure out your Carbon Footprint by using this Carbon Calculator ToFootprintsol
  • Participate in environmental community groups or events
  • If you are an Elementary Teacher and want to educate your students further on Environmental Conservation, the City of St. Catharines offers public education presentations. Reach out to Citizens First for more information.
  • Have an event that you want the City of St. Catharines to attend related to Water Conservation and Education, please contact Citizens First.   

 

 Recent Articles:

April 30, 2019: St. Catharines Declares a 'Climate Emergency'

Sept 10, 2019: Climate Change close to home

Sept 25, 2019: Climate Strike rally putting focus on young Niagara Voices


 Updated as of: 2019-10-22

 

 

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