Kingston provides update on Climate Leadership Plan, GHG levels

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The City of Kingston is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

“By achieving carbon neutrality our City will balance carbon emissions with carbon removal,” explains Julie Salter-Keane, with the City’s Climate Leadership Division.

“Science has proven these gases are accelerating climate change. Locally, we are experiencing this through more frequent and extreme weather events, and an increase in harmful pests like ticks and invasive species.”

The city’s Climate Leadership Division staff provided council with an update recently, sharing findings from the 2018 GHG community inventory. It shows that while the City still has much work to do, residents’ efforts to create a more sustainable community are trending in the right direction.

Key updates:

Community GHG Inventory – While Kingston continues to grow, according to the Community GHG Inventory, emissions are decreasing. In relation to Kingston’s gross domestic product (GDP), 2018 community GHG emissions decreased by almost 22 per cent, per dollar of GDP output since 2011.

“This implies the local economy is gradually becoming less carbon intensive,” states the report. Kingston has been tracking GHG emissions since 2011.

Net- Zero Community Improvement Program (CIP) – The city’s work on a net-zero community improvement program for new builds is progressing, and staff will present an update later this year. Consultations with real estate financiers, contractors and developers were held earlier this year. Public input will be sought for the Net-Zero CIP this summer.

Home Energy Retrofit Program – From Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, Kingston surveyed residents about a community energy retrofit program. The results indicated interest in the program, and staff is working on program design, conducting a feasibility study, and drafting a Local Improvement Charge bylaw. This bylaw is being developed in consultation with local stakeholders.

Climate Leadership Plan – The Climate Leadership Plan will be a climate change management strategy for the city and community. It is currently being developed and will be completed in late 2021. Through public consultation, the plan will help better describe the incremental and transformational initiatives that are necessary to reach Kingston’s target for carbon neutrality. It will identify strategies and actions, which will then be modelled to determine their impact on lowering emissions toward the target levels.

The Climate Leadership Plan will also consider the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy. It will be developed with input from experts from diverse backgrounds, ranging from conservation and environment to business to housing and homelessness.

In the fall, residents will also be asked for input. “This is your Climate Leadership Plan, and I look forward to working with this community on creating a plan that together, we can implement,” says Salter-Keane.

More information on the Climate Leadership Plan will be coming soon, including a project page on the website.

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