Kitchener, ON – Kitchener City Council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency during a session of council on Monday, joining 400 other Canadian municipalities in highlighting the urgent need for strong action in addressing the threat posed by climate change. The declaration follows the city’s approval of a Corporate Climate Action Plan in April, a detailed strategy to align city operations with the greenhouse gas emission targets of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5 °C. The motion to declare a climate emergency was put forward by Ward 7 Councillor Bil Ioannidis.
“I was proud to support the recent adoption of our Corporate Climate Action Plan,” said Councillor Ioannidis. “Council’s unanimous approval of the motion sends a strong message that we must continue to diligently consider the environmental repercussions of our every decision.”
Delegations from community organizations reiterated the importance of immediate action to prevent a global average temperature increase of 2.0 °C, the point at which the effects of climate change would become self-reinforcing and substantially more severe.
“Kitchener prides itself on being a forward-thinking and innovative city,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “It was encouraging to see that reflected in the continued advocacy by council and community groups on this critical issue. All of our progress in building a better city for our children is at risk of being undone if we fail to appropriately react to this challenge.”
In addition to the plan for city operations approved by council in April, Kitchener is working in partnership with Climate Action Waterloo Region in conducting a technical inventory of the greenhouse gas emissions for the entire community. This inventory will be used to develop a Community Climate Action Plan, currently scheduled for late 2020.
The Community Climate Action Plan will complement the Corporate Climate Action Plan in articulating guidelines that ensure the entire community meets Kitchener’s emissions targets as defined by the Paris Agreement.
“The declaration is an important signal that addressing climate change is a priority for everyone at the city,” said Claire Bennett, Kitchener’s Corporate Sustainability Officer and author of the city’s Corporate Climate Action Plan. “We’ve established a detailed plan of action through the Corporate Climate Action Plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by city operations, and combined with this declaration we are taking a leadership position in becoming a more sustainable city.”
Additional information about Kitchener’s sustainability efforts, including the full Corporate Climate Action Plan, can be found at the link below.