Vaughan in 2026 – a climate-friendly city

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Combating climate change

The United Nations has called climate change “the single greatest challenge… a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security and other dimensions.”

In the five years since Green Directions Vaughan was initiated, Vaughan has made tremendous progress in combating climate change. Municipal governments, like Vaughan, are taking action and rightly so: communities are the places we live, work and play and the effects of climate change will be most acutely felt at the local level.

It has been estimated that up to half of Canada’s climate-changing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — gases like carbon dioxide and methane — are under the control of municipal governments.

So what can Vaughan do?

Vaughan is committed to reducing GHG emissions that contribute to climate change and adversely affect our local air quality. In May 2011, Vaughan joined the Partners for Climate Protection program and committed itself to a voluntary five-milestone framework to help guide our community towards reducing our GHG emissions. We have successfully achieved the first and second milestones.

Taking action through this program, the City conducted a comprehensive audit of the GHG emissions in Vaughan from residential, commercial and institutional, industrial, solid waste and other community sources. Using data from 2006 — the year when the most complete data was available — it was estimated that Vaughan produced about 1.7 million tonnes of GHG emissions.

Prairie panorama in Saskatchewan, Canada

How much is 1.7 million tonnes anyway?

That’s the same amount of GHG emissions produced by 353,253 cars in one year.

That’s the same amount of energy used by 84,696 homes in one year.

We’d need 20 forests the size of Vaughan to be able to capture and store all of those GHG emissions we produced in 2006.

That’s a lot. So what’s next?

ACTION! Action is the next step to reducing GHG emissions.

Turning to the community to help drive this effort, the City — in partnership with a multi-disciplinary team at Lura Consulting — initiated this action. From September 2013 to January 2014, the City engaged a wide variety of local stakeholders, from businesses to community groups to engaged citizens, seeking valuable input to help craft a successful “made-in-Vaughan” approach to tackling climate change.

green grass field and a bunch of trees

And the result? Vaughan’s community Climate Action Plan!

The purpose of the Climate Action Plan is to provide our community with practical ways to reduce GHG emissions from community sources. The plan establishes a mission for climate action and sets a target for reducing community GHG emissions by 20 per cent below the 2006 levels by the year 2026. To achieve this target, the plan outlines a number of actions and opportunities to reduce our GHG emissions at home, work and as we move around our City. In the months ahead, we are leveraging the Climate Action Plan to produce a Municipal Energy Plan that will see energy efficiency integrated into our planning and energy supply/delivery systems.

What impact will this target have?

Reducing our GHG emissions by 20 per cent would be the same as:

  • Taking 121,292 cars off the road each year.
  • Turning off the energy used in 29,081 homes in one year.
  • The work of 14-million trees capturing and storing carbon for one year.

These are major impacts.

Under Green Directions Vaughan, we are taking great strides to cut our GHG emissions and build a climate-friendly city by 2026.

We need your to help make this happen. To get involved, contact environment@vaughan.ca.

Chris Wolnik, manager
Environmental Sustainability Office

 

 

Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at www.vaughan.ca.

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