A News Brief by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted September 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – A motion tabled by Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley to move forward with a Niagara-based plan to address the impacts of climate change received approval from members of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee this September 15th.
If the motion gets final approval at this coming September 23rd Regional Council meeting, the Region’s staff will proceed to develop proposals for addressing climate change at a local level and the Region will host a “climate summit” before actual climate-fighting practices are put in place.
In a statement to the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee before his motion was discussed and voted on, Bradley said –
“Actions to date, at all levels of government, have not been enough so far to change the path we we are on…. As leaders, and we are leaders as member of council, now is the time to mitigate the impacts of climate change, locally and globally.”
Bradley stressed that municipalities, residents and businesses, including members of the farming community, are already struggling to address the costly impacts of shoreline erosion, flooding, excessive heat waves and other climate-related events that are now occurring ever more frequently.
Below is the full wording of Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley’s climate action motion. Niagara At Large will have more to post on this issue in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
Niagara Region climate change motion, tabled by Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradly and past September 15th, 2021 at the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee
WHEREAS the Region Council recognizes that climate change is a real and significant threat to both Niagara’s natural environment and economy;
WHEREAS the Niagara Region has already been impacted by climate change through shoreline and escarpment destruction, millions of dollars of infrastructure damages caused by extreme storm events and increase freeze–thaw cycles destroying our roads and subsurface infrastructure;
WHEREAS the Niagara Region’s agriculture sector struggles with irrigation challenges that are linked to drought-like conditions caused by climate change;
WHEREAS the Niagara Region recognizes all the existing, albeit fragmented, climate change work that has occurred across all Regional departments;
WHEREAS the Niagara Region recognizes that all levels of government, including municipalities, have a crucial role to play in the mitigation and adaption of climate change; WHEREAS many municipalities across Ontario have formal strategies to manage climate change, investing resources to help combat the effects of extreme weather in their communities;
WHEREAS the Niagara Region recognizes that addressing climate action and transitioning to lower-carbon options represents an important opportunity for economic stimulation and job growth;
WHEREAS a 2020 study conducted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) found that climate adaptation costs Canadian municipalities and estimated $5.3 billion annually, including significant increases in insurance premiums related to the impacts of extreme weather;
WHEREAS the same FCM report found that investments in resilient infrastructure have a return on investment of $6 in future averted losses for every $1 spent proactively;
WHEREAS a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated a need for a massive reduction in carbon emissions by 45%, reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping global warming to 1.5C and maintaining a climate compatible with human civilization; and
WHEREAS a recent United Nations (UN) report on climate change found that while human behaviour has unequivocally warmed the planet and climate changes are happening more rapidly, there is still a window in which human can alter their path. 29 PDS-C 50-2021 September 15, 2021
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
1. That Regional Council DIRECT staff to conduct a fulsome review of all current and former Regional initiatives, including strategic plans, related to the management, mitigation and adaptation of climate change in Niagara;
2. That Regional Council DIRECT staff to research municipal best practices across Ontario related to community and corporate mitigation and adaptation of climate change;
3. That Regional Council DIRECT staff to provide a report outlining their findings and develop a program proposal, including the immediate 2022 budgetary impacts, to address corporate and community climate mitigation and adaptation to a future Planning & Economic Development Committee meeting; and
4. That Niagara Region DIRECT staff to organize and host a climate summit for the purpose of evaluating best practices, coordinating climate action and ensuring all of Niagara is committed to climate change adaptation and mitigation, by the end of Q2 2022.
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