Citizen Action Monitor

Hamilton’s Climate Change Action Charter — Collaborative City-Citizen effort

No 276 Posted by fw, September 15, 2011

The content of this post was drawn from the Hamilton Information Report: Hamilton Climate Change Action Charter, September 12, 2011. The purpose of the report was to provide the Mayor and Members of the General Issues Committee with some background information on the Hamilton Climate Change Action Charter prior to its presentation by the Hamilton Climate Change Action Working Group to the September General Issues Committee meeting.

Council will be approached to endorse and support this Charter. By endorsing it, the City signals to the community that it is committed to local action on climate change but is under no obligation to provide supportive funding. However, in 2011, the City of Hamilton contributed $18,600 to host on its website Charter information and supporting tools, including information on climate change and actions under the Charter. There are no penalties for not meeting the commitments set out in the Charter.

The Charter is presented at the end of this post.

Charter Background

The Hamilton Climate Change Action Charter, which is presented below, was prepared by a volunteer working group of individuals formed under Clean Air Hamilton. The group was tasked to identify education, research and partnership needs and actions to address climate change in the community.

The Charter has the support of Clean Air Hamilton, Green Venture, Environment Hamilton, Hamilton 350, McMaster University, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Dundas in Transition, Sustainable Hamilton, Horizons, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Corr & Associates, Mohawk College, and McKibbon & Wakefield.

The purpose of the Climate Change Action Charter

The Charter is meant to increase citizens’ awareness on climate change, seeks leadership and commitment to act from key organizations in the City, and provides a starting point for community action and measurements of progress on combating climate change in Hamilton.

The significance of the Charter

The Charter is a voluntary agreement with no pre-signing requirements. It represents a broad public statement that any Hamilton individual or organization can make. The document outlines the need for local action and asks individuals, organizations and businesses of all types and sizes in Hamilton to commit to take action on climate change.

The Charter commits signatories to undertake six actions

The Charter commits signatories to undertake six actions that the City of Hamilton has already begun to undertake through the Corporate Air Quality and Climate Change Strategic Plan adopted by Council in 2008.

1) Keeping informed of new information on climate change and its impacts in order to understand risks and effects on us as individuals and organizations. The City of Hamilton keeps informed on climate change through our partnerships in the community and associations. The Corporate Air Quality and Climate Change Strategic Plan recognizes the need to continually keep informed on climate change in order to take appropriate actions and responses in City operations and services to the community.

2) Establish a baseline measurement of our current contribution to climate change through our activities. In 2009, the City of Hamilton undertook a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory and tracks and reports to the community on these emissions every year.

3) Set significant specific targets for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, identifying where we will focus our efforts to achieve those targets. In 2008, the City adopted Corporate emission targets of a 10% reduction of 2005 greenhouse gas levels by 2012 followed by a 20% of 2005 greenhouse gas levels by 2020 under the Corporate Air Quality and Climate Change Strategic Plan.. The Corporate Air Quality & Climate Change Strategic Plan Phase II identified areas that the Corporation should address to combat climate change.

4) Take personal responsibility for these climate change commitments, and, in the case of businesses or organizations, assign responsibility to a senior individual. Collaborate with other groups, individuals, organizations, and businesses to address causes and consequences of climate change. The City of Hamilton collaborates with a number of groups in addressing climate change both in the community and through associations.

5) Report annually to the community and celebrate successes in reducing emissions and/or creating resiliency in response to climate change impacts during Hamilton’s Climate Change Action Month in October. In 2008, the City of Hamilton declared October to be Climate Change Action Month. Since 2008, the City has declared this annual event as a means to report back to the community on community and Corporate actions in addressing climate change and to educate the community on climate change. To launch the 2011 Climate Change Action Month, signatories will be asked to attend a breakfast launch to formally sign and commit to the Charter.

6) Engage, educate, and involve individuals, families, groups, businesses, organizations, and other entities to also commit to this Charter and work collectively to address climate change. Everybody has a role to play in addressing climate change. The City of Hamilton recognizes this role through its work on addressing climate change and encouraging others to take action. Endorsing the Charter will help continue to support the education and engagement on climate action in the community.

HAMILTON CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION CHARTER

We …………………………………………………………………….the undersigned agree that:

a) Scientific evidence shows climate change is happening now. There is consensus that greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity are seriously affecting Earth’s climate.

b) Climate  change  is  having  increasingly  negative  impacts  on  all  of  Hamilton’s residents, environments, and economy.

c) We need to take responsibility and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate change impacts in ways that promote economic prosperity, health and environmental benefits for all.

d) It is important for individuals and organizations to share ideas and best practices and coordinate efforts to accomplish these goals as effectively as possible.

 We……………………………………………………………………………………… commit to:

1) Keep informed of new information on climate change and its impacts in order to understand risks and effects on us as individuals and organizations.

2) Establish a baseline measurement of our current contribution to climate change through our activities.

3) Set significant specific targets for  reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, identifying where we will focus our efforts to achieve those targets.

4) Take personal responsibility for these climate change commitments, and, in the case of businesses or organizations, assign responsibility to            a senior individual. Collaborate with other groups, individuals, organizations, and businesses to address causes and consequences of climate change.

5) Report annually to the community and celebrate successes in reducing emissions and/or creating resiliency in response to climate change impacts during Hamilton’s Climate Change Action Month in October.

6) Engage, educate, and involve individuals, families, groups, businesses, organizations, and other entities to also commit to this Charter and work collectively to address climate change.

………………………………………………… …………..… (Name, Signature & Organization)

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2011 by in climate change, community action and tagged .
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