The Town of Huntsville has signed on to do its part in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Spurred on by Climate Action Muskoka—a local not-for-profit group concerned about climate change and its impacts—Huntsville councillors unanimously agreed to join the Town of Gravenhurst and District of Muskoka and declare a climate emergency.
The resolution presented at the June 28 council meeting cited a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 report, which notes that the current climate heating rate “will lead to catastrophic social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts throughout the world and estimates less than 10 years before the worst impacts of climate change are experienced.”
It also states that much of the financial impacts of climate change will be felt at the municipal level related to damaged roads, bridges, water, sewer and stormwater systems, and destruction of natural infrastructure.
It adds that it is not only necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “but also to increase community resiliency in the face of climate change, and that these approaches can offer multiple benefits, including improved health and air quality, increased innovation, economic development and reduced costs over time. The Town of Huntsville wishes to protect its economy, community, and ecosystems from the impacts of our changing climate.”
The resolution also states that a climate action plan (CAP) will be developed in collaboration with other lower-tier municipalities, and that the municipality will seek technical assistance from the District of Muskoka and seek to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions.
“This baseline CAP will be further refined by the Town of Huntsville to: identify firm, ambitious targets with a goal of greater than 50% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and reaching zero GHG emissions by 2050; work to become a drawdown/regenerative community; and take an active role in the repair and regeneration of our systems, including in the areas of the built environment, natural infrastructure, land use, transportation, energy, waste, health, and food security,” notes the resolution.
The Town will work not only with other municipalities but other institutions and industry associations to “improve standards and protocols that can positively address climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as seek and secure funding opportunities from both internal and external sources for 2021 and beyond to adequately finance climate actions necessary to meet 2030 and 2050 emission reduction targets.”
It urges provincial and federal governments and opposition parties “to work rapidly to deliver the GHG emission reductions needed to keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal to minimize the threatening impacts of climate change, including by forwarding this resolution to the Premier of Ontario, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Parry Sound – Muskoka, the Member of Parliament for Parry Sound – Muskoka, the leaders of the other political parties with members in government, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.”
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