The Community Energy Plan is a long-term plan to meet Hamilton’s future energy needs while improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fostering local sustainable and community-supported energy solutions. The plan includes every aspect of city-wide energy use and GHG emissions, from homes to transportation to industry to waste.
In 2019, Hamilton City Council declared a Climate Change Emergency with a target to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Community Energy Plan is a critical part of the City’s emergency response—it sets the path for getting to net-zero by 2050.
How the Community Energy Plan will be developed
- Data Collection - Energy use and emissions data is currently being gathered from across the City.
- Establishing the Baseline & Business-as-Planned Scenario – A detailed baseline energy and emissions map of the city is developed first. Then energy and emissions are projected for the city through 2050. This is called a ‘business-as-planned’ scenario. (March-May 2020)
- Identifying Actions - A long list of actions will be considered for modeling and inclusion in the Plan. Actions to be considered include energy efficiency opportunities, use of renewable energy technologies, sustainable transportation initiatives, industrial, commercial and institutional energy practices and improvements, corporate improvements, community-based programs, building design and land-use planning elements. Public consultation will assist in identifying priority actions. (April -June 2020)
- Modeling the Future - After technical review and public engagement, a short list of low-carbon actions will be developed for future scenario modelling. (June-August 2020)
- Developing the Plan - A final scenario and its associated actions will be developed into a draft Plan. Details of how these actions should be implemented will be developed. Public engagement on the draft plan will occur. (September-October 2020)
- Final Plan - The final draft plan will be presented to City Council for approval. (Winter 2021)
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Frequently asked questions
What is climate change?
Climate change refers to changes in long-term weather patterns caused by natural phenomena and human activities that alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere through the build-up of greenhouse gases which trap heat and reflect it back to the earth’s surface. Learn more about climate change
What is a greenhouse gas (GHG)?
A GHG (greenhouse gas) is any gas in the atmosphere that absorbs infrared radiation, thereby trapping and holding heat in the atmosphere. By increasing the heat in the atmosphere, GHGs lead to global warming. For more information, check out David Suduki's website.
What is climate change adaptation?
Adaptation to climate change refers to any action or initiative taken that can help prepare, prevent or reduce the vulnerability of social, economic, built and natural systems to the changing climate conditions.
What is climate change mitigation?
Climate change mitigation refers to the actions we can take to stabilize or reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These could include establishing policies, programs and undertaking actions that promote or require certain practices that reduce energy use and GHG emissions. Actions could include taking active or public transportation, buying an electric vehicle, building energy efficient buildings, retrofitting existing buildings, etc.
What are the main sources of GHGs in our city?
The three largest sources of emissions in Hamilton in 2017 include:
- Industry at approximately 73%
- Transportation at approximately 15%
- Buildings (commercial and residential) at approximately 12%
Source: Hamilton’s Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2006-2017, City of Hamilton
How have we done so far in reducing GHGs in our City?
Hamilton has been tracking community GHG emission sources since 2006. It is estimated that as of 2017 Hamilton had reduced its emissions by approximately 33% from its 2006 baseline. This however is mainly due to the provincial government decision on phasing out coal within Ontario’s electricity grid and remains the largest reduction in GHG emissions across the Province.
What is City Council’s Climate Change Emergency declaration?
City Council’s Climate Change Emergency Declaration re-affirms the City’s commitment to fighting climate change. City Council ratified the climate change emergency declaration on March 27, 2019 and updated its long-term GHG reduction target to net zero before 2050 and directed staff to form a cross-department Corporate Climate Change Task Force. Read the emergency declaration on Page 13 of the Council Minutes of March 27, 2019 - Accelerating and Prioritizing Climate Action in Response to the Climate Emergency
What other climate change related plans does Hamilton have?
The City of Hamilton has historically been a national leader on climate change as one of the first municipalities to join the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection program in 1996. Since then Hamilton has created multiple corporate and community based Air Quality and Climate Change Plans.
Ongoing projects include:
- Hamilton’s Corporate Climate Change Response
- Hamilton’s Climate Change Action Plan
- Hamilton’s Corporate Energy Policy
How does the Community Energy Plan fit in with Hamilton’s overall climate change goals?
Hamilton is in the process of completing a climate adaptation plan, with the intent of preparing the city for future climatic events and changes. Adaptation and mitigation actions work hand in hand. The Community Energy Plan will provide a long-term climate mitigation plan to reduce Hamilton’s GHG emissions, and as a result, reduce its contribution to global climate change.
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