Strategies & Actions

Climate Change Action

The City of Hamilton is on a mission to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

On March 27, 2019 Hamilton City Council declared a Climate Change Emergency. 

Locally climate change is seen in:

  • the increased frequency and severity of heat waves causing drought
  • the increased severity and frequency of storms, heavy precipitation leading to flooding, shoreline and escarpment erosion

Climate change affects everyone. Climate change impacts cause millions of dollars of infrastructure damage, damage homes and businesses, and put people’s health and safety at risk.

These negative effects will worsen as the level of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere continues to rise. Just as the City is taking action, it is critical that everyone who lives, works, plays and learns in Hamilton makes changes to reduce their carbon footprint at home, at work, and in their everyday lives. 

Hamilton’s Climate Action Strategy

Hamilton’s Climate Action Strategy is the City’s next evolution in the response to the Climate Change Emergency Declaration. There are several actions the City, and broader community, continue to undertake to accelerate Hamilton’s transition to a prosperous, equitable, resilient post-carbon City. 

Central to environmental sustainability and climate resiliency is changing how the City works and advancing municipal climate policy to make a positive difference on the organization and the community. Hamilton’s Climate Action Strategy advances the City’s response to the Climate Change Emergency Declaration and consists of two major steams:

  • climate mitigation: reduction of greenhouse gases (the cause of climate change)
  • climate adaptation: decreasing impacts and preparing for unavoidable impacts of a changing climate

Part 1: ReCharge Hamilton - Our Community Energy + Emissions Plan

Community Energy Plan BannerHamilton’s key climate mitigation plan and establishes the pathway to net zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 for the entire community.

Learn more about Hamilton’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan

Part 2: Hamilton’s Climate Change Impact Adaptation Plan

Promotion for Climate Change AdaptationHamilton’s plan to prepare our infrastructure, people, natural environment and energy systems for the unavoidable impacts caused by climate change.

Learn more about Hamilton’s Climate Change Impact Adaptation Plan

2022 Upwind Downwind Conference
Building Healthy Post-Carbon Cities


Date: Thursday, June 16, 2022 9 am to 4:30 pm EDT (in person & virtual)

This year’s topics include:

  • “Decarbonizing Cities” Keynote by Yuill Herbert, Co-Founder & Principal, SSG
  • Innovating Industry for the Future Panel
  • “Human Rights & Urban Planning” Keynote by Cheryll Case, Founder & Principal, CP Planning
  • Future Transportation & Technology

More information: cleanairhamilton.ca/upwind-downwind-2022

Hamilton Historical Climate Change Work and Milestones

Hamilton's Historical Climate Action Timeline

  • 1994 Hamilton joins FCM's Partners for Climate Change
  • 2004 Hamilton Climate Change Vulnerability Study (part of GRIDS)
  • 2008 Completes Corporate Strategic Air Quality and Climate Change Plan
  • 2009 Corporate and Community GHG Emissions Inventory: GHG Targets
  • 2010 GTA Clean Air Council Recognition of Achievement for Clean Air and Climate Change
  • 2011 City hosts Community Climate Change Town Hall and creates Hamilton Climate Change Charter
  • 2013 New GHG Targets: 20% by 2020, 50% by 2030, 80% by 2050
  • 2015 Council endorse Hamilton's Community Climate Change Action Plan; sets GHG reduction targets
  • 2016 Hamilton achieves milestone 2 of ICLEI's Building Adaptive Resilient Cities
  • 2018 Formation of Bay Area Climate Change Office and Bay Area Climate Change Council
  • 2019 Hamilton City Council Declares Climate Change Emergency (March 2019). Corporate Climate Change Task Force Report (December 2019)
  • 2019 City of Hamilton identifies 9 corporate goals and 51 areas of focus for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

City of Hamilton’s Corporate Climate Change Goals

The Corporate Climate Change Task Force (CCCTF) mandate is to collect, coordinate and advocate for corporate-wide climate change action and to centralize climate change reporting on a semi-annual basis. Working on these nine (9) overarching goals and areas of focus for both climate mitigation and adaptation is the start of Hamilton’s corporate-wide approach to taking accelerated climate change action to reduce GHG emissions. These goals and areas of focus were developed using recent scientific evidence and research including technical low carbon scenario modelling completed by Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) and whatIf? Technologies.

To increase the number of new and existing high performance state-of-the-art buildings that improve energy efficiency and adapt to a changing climate.

To change the modal split and investigate strategies so that more trips are taken by active and sustainable transportation than single use occupancy vehicles.

To accelerate the uptake of modes of transportation that are low and/or zero emissions.

To ensure a climate change lens is applied to all planning initiatives to encourage the use of best climate mitigation and adaptation practices.

To procures goods, services and construction from vendors who conduct their business in a sustainable and ethical manner that considers equity, diversity and inclusion that contributes to the greater good of the community.

To increase our carbon sinks and local food production through the preservation and enhancement of the natural environmental, including local farmland.

To improve Hamilton’s climate resiliency by decreasing our vulnerability to extreme weather, minimizing future damages, take advantage of opportunities, and better recover from future damages.

To ensure all our work promotes equity, diversity, health and inclusion and improves collaboration and consultation with all marginalized groups, including local Indigenous Peoples.

To increase the knowledge and empower City staff and the Hamilton community including business, NGO’s and individual citizens while advocating to higher levels of government to take action on climate change.

Investments and Progress

Since the Climate Emergency Declaration in 2019 the City of Hamilton has:

  • invested $57.3M into climate positive actions including bicycle infrastructure, parks and tree planting, electrification of vehicles and equipment, and improved stormwater infrastructure
  • Approval of a $2.5M budget for the implementation of Hamilton’s Green Fleet Strategy and the conversion of 89 internal combustion city vehicles to battery all-electric
  • Established $1.5M Climate Change Reserve and policy for funding for innovative climate actions with a focus on improving the lives of equity-seeking groups
  • Updating the City’s Corporate Energy and Sustainability Policy to align corporate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) targets with net zero by 2050 and guide the City’s corporate sustainability actions
  • Piloting Ontario’s first ever Carbon Negative Bus

Contributing Strategies

Scientific evidence used to inform City work on climate change

Reports and Documents