____Posted Thursday June 15 2017 ____

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Climate Change

City and Regional Councils receive update on progress on community greenhouse gas reduction efforts

Waterloo Region – Waterloo Region has decreased community greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% between 2010 and 2015. Over the past two months, ClimateActionWR has reported to local councils and advisory committees on our community’s progress towards its community greenhouse gas reduction target of 6% below 2010 levels by 2020. In a new report, Our Progress Our Path, ClimateActionWR provides an update on the community carbon footprint and highlights local efforts, and actions that community members can take to support our community’s reduction target.

This news is something to celebrate, a good first step, but there are more factors to consider when understanding our community’s journey towards a low-carbon future. Foremost is the importance that our community emissions decreased in a period of economic and population growth, with GDP growing by 14%, population by 5.7% and the number of employees increased by 5.7% during the same period. This truly showcases that our community is poised to excel in a low-carbon economy. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation rose by 5%, now comprising almost half of our community carbon footprint (49%). A significant part of the reduction is attributed to the provincial phase-out of coal-powered electricity. Without the provincial phase-out of coal-powered electricity, local emissions would have risen by 4.4%. Despite this, local action in Waterloo Region has made an impact, especially around electric vehicle infrastructure and ownership, business leadership and homeowners who have made changes to their own homes.

The report recognizes that we can’t expect another large change like coal phase-out to help with future emissions. It emphasizes the need to turn our attention to fostering and supporting local reduction efforts by highlighting the local action that is already underway or expected to make an impact in the near future. ClimateActionWR will be hosting an event on June 22nd from 5-7pm to celebrate the release this report with dynamic speakers who will share some to the sustainability transformations that are on the horizon in Waterloo Region.

“ClimateActionWR has been working tirelessly with leaders in our community to support and encourage businesses, non-profits and municipalities to continue to do more to reduce our local carbon footprint,” said Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig. “While we have made progress, there is much more work to be done. At all levels, from locally to internationally, we need to stay focused on the future we want to build and leave behind for generations to come. The community of Cambridge is committed to playing its part in the creation of a future that offers solutions and takes real action to reduce emissions. We will stay committed to our goals and work together for continued change.”

“Waterloo Region is known as a community that shows leadership and innovation and this progress report is no exception. The partnership between Reep Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region and the municipal governments means that this is a uniquely community driven initiative where collaboration, hard work and leadership have made a lasting impact.” - Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic

“Life is better in Waterloo because we protect our environment. We are proud of the actions we are taking, including infrastructure upgrades, to reduce our carbon footprint. We encourage all citizens and corporate leaders to consider the impact of their actions and invite them to join the global movement towards an environmentally sustainable future.” – Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky

“Regional Council remains committed to the development of a low carbon community, and one important area of focus is the transportation sector. With the integration of ION into the GRT system, electric vehicle technology adoption, more multi-use trails, and other ongoing green initiatives, we will continue to have a positive impact and reduce the emissions even more in this key area of concern for our community.” – Regional Chair Ken Seiling

To download the report visit: www.climateactionwr.ca/progress/



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