Citizen Action Monitor

Hamilton city gov’t taking action on climate change with help from citizen action groups

No 274 Posted by fw, September 14, 2011

Citizen action groups will find the following report on Hamilton’s climate change action program a rich source of information and inspiration. Don’t miss the link to the videos of Hamilton’s Town Hall meeting.

Hamilton was recognized as one of the Top 10 Canadian Cities tackling Climate Change by the World Wildlife Fund in 2011. The following report from the City of Hamilton’s Planning and Economic Development department explains why it warrants this recognition. Summarizing the report’s highlights, Hamilton’s climate program includes: endorsement of the IPCC findings; adoption of a uniform emission-reduction action plan; regular goal-based progress reports; solicitation of citizen input via online and offline communication channels; provision of discussion papers for the public; publication of fact sheets for public consumption; and links to key related resources. One possible weakness in Hamilton’s approach is the Partners for Climate Protection program, which, according to two studies cited in the Related Reading section at the end of this post, are methodologically flawed.

Here is a copy of the report as presented on the City’s website. Click on the linked title to view the original version.

CLIMATE CHANGE Report by City of Hamilton, 2011

Global climate change is expected to increase the average global temperature of air and oceans, melt glaciers, increase sea levels, and increase the number and intensity of extreme weather events that result in heat waves, droughts, flooding and soil erosion.  These changes have already begun.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the warming of the northern hemisphere during the 20th century is likely to have been the greatest in any century in the past 1000 years. For more information, please refer to the Climate Change Fact Sheet.

Human activities affect climate change primarily by causing an increase in emissions of “greenhouse gases” (GHGs). Municipal governments are recognized as having a key role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through direct actions and indirect influence on the community. The City of Hamilton is a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection program, and has been participating with other municipalities in building the capacity of municipalities to address the challenge of meeting Canada’s commitments to the Kyoto Protocol. In 2009, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a report outlining the efforts of Canadian municipalities in tackling climate change.

The city is taking action to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. In 2004, the City completed a Climate Change Vulnerability Background Study for the GRIDS growth strategy. This study begins to identify, in broad terms, Hamilton’s particular vulnerability to climate change, and the actions that must be considered to further identify and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the community. The City has also developed a Corporate Air Quality and Climate Change Action Plan that provides a framework to help the City achieve the 20% target in its municipal operations by 2020.  In 2008, the City released Phase 2 of the Corporate Air Quality and Climate Change Strategic Plan and in 2009 undertook an emissions inventory of Hamilton (corporate and community). This is an important step towards the implementation of a City-wide Air Quality & Climate Change Plan. In 2010, the City released an Information Update on Corporate emissions in 2008 and 2009. Corporate emissions decreased by 5.4% in 2009.

Hamilton was recognized as one of the Top 10 Canadian Cities tackling Climate Change by the World Wildlife Fund in 2011.

Climate change will affect everyone…that’s why we want to hear from you!
Community emissions were 12,758,652 tonnes of CO2 e in 2006 , and these emissions were estimated to rise to 13,131,097 tonnes of CO2 e by 2008, an increase of 2.9%. Updated information shows that community emissions decreased to 11,928,322 tonnes of CO2 in 2008, a 6.5% decrease from 2006 emissions levels.

By 2020, if there are no programs put in place or actions taken to enhance GHG emission reductions, the community’s forecasted emissions will rise to 17,349,621 tonnes of CO2 e. This forecast is 36% above the emission levels calculated for 2006 and 56% above a target of 20% reductions of 2006 levels by 2020. The City is now seeking community feedback on the Emissions Inventory and partnering with the community on actions that must be undertaken to address climate change emissions in our communityThe Taking Stock: Hamilton’s GHG Emissions discussion paper has been released to inform Hamiltonians about our greenhouse gas emissions and to gather your ideas, actions, and suggestions of where and how we must take action together in our community. Feedback can be provided online. 

A Climate Change Town Hall took place in March 2011 that had an interactive discussion with various stakeholders in Hamilton on climate change, linkages to issues, and taking action. A video of the Town Hall presentation is available. 

The topics discussed at the Town Hall were Moving People, Moving Goods, Local economy and Business, Housing and Buildings, Food, Water, Education and Skills, and Consumption. Click on the following links to obtain downloadable Fact sheets and the Discussion Notes to help you to continue the conversation. These discussions help create a Community Climate Change Action Plan.

Climate Change discussions are taking place in the Hamilton Community! If you are interested in hosting a presentation and discussion on greenhouse gas emissions in the community, please contact

What can you do to address climate change?

    • Take personal action — The Hamilton Climate Change Champions can provide information on taking personal action and has an on-line emissions calculator.
    • Join an existing group — Join Green VentureEnvironment HamiltonDundas In Transition or Clean Air Hamilton to take action right away
    • Spread the word — Youth, seniors, school councils, faith groups, businesses, hospital and education administrators, employees, parents, NGOs, neighbourhood associations, teachers, and interested citizens all have a place at the table and a voice in discussions.
    • Work with others on a community process for taking action — Options include a Climate Change Roundtable; a steering committee; an annual “Citizens Summit”; one-on-one presentations to groups to gauge interest; and a monthly Climate Change Cafe to create opportunities for informal discussion. The City of Hamilton will be a key partner and we want to hear from you.
    • Look at the Community Inventory and help fill in the missing information, conduct research and explore the existing data
    • Provide Feedback, we want to hear your ideas, suggestions and what actions you are taking to address climate change in our community.

VISION 2020 Goals for Climate Change: 

    • To ensure the City has the best air quality of any major urban centre in Ontario
    • To have effective plans that identify, reduce and manage risks
    • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions

See the full list of Hamilton’s VISION 2020 Goals


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.

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This entry was posted on September 14, 2011 by in climate change, community action and tagged , .
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