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New Report Offers More Than 20 Strategies for Local and Regional Governments to Fight Climate Change

Jun 11, 2010

(TORONTO, June 11)  Cities around the world are facing an enormous challenge of responding to climate change, but they have the capacity to sharply reduce their carbon footprint and lower the risks of climate change.  To assist cities across Canada with their efforts at mitigating this global threat, Toronto and Region Conservation's Community Transformation Group has commissioned two new reports: a technical document, Getting to Carbon Neutral: A Guide for Canadian Municipalities, and the companion piece, Climate Change Mitigation: A Strategic Approach for Cities.  The papers were produced in collaboration with researchers from the Sustainable Infrastructure Group at the University of Toronto (www.utoronto.ca/sig) to help municipalities understand their options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The technical report quantifies the major sources of municipal GHGs in four categories: buildings, transportation, energy supply, and municipal services.  It offers 22 possible technical and policy strategies that could be employed to reduce carbon emissions; the companion document summarizes the strategies and explores how a city could use them.

Through the research, it was found that there are no generic, one-size-fits all solutions for addressing climate change at the local level. "It is important for cities to have an inexpensive way to develop an understanding of where they can make the most effective and significant greenhouse gas emission reductions," said Bernie McIntyre, Manager Community Transformations Programs, Toronto and Region Conservation. "Municipalities need to understand the origins of their primary GHGs to generate an approach that makes sense for their unique circumstances."

A key finding from the report is that municipalities already have many of the tools they need.  By using readily available, proven and affordable technologies, municipalities could cut their GHGs by 70 per cent or more.  The report also demonstrates how communities around the world are tackling the root causes of climate change in more than 70 case studies. Canadian examples include Calgary's wind-powered C-train, Toronto's deep lake water cooling project, and a bike-to-work initiative in Whitehorse.

The report is also the foundation of an interactive software tool, the Carbon Neutral City Planner.  Available online in fall 2010, this application will assist municipalities with developing and evaluating carbon mitigation scenarios.

"The Carbon Neutral City Planner allows municipalities to analyze many different climate change mitigation strategies in order to find the best fit for their community," says Mr. McIntyre. Users can experiment with different combinations of the strategies presented in the guide to view their potential impact on overall municipal greenhouse gas emissions and support planning and decision making for infrastructure projects.

"This tool gives Canadian cities an edge over international competition in developing low carbon infrastructure," said Professor Chris Kennedy, University of Toronto.

The reports are being distributed to government ministries and agencies, municipal associations and other interested stakeholders. They are available for free download at: http://www.carboncompetitivecities.com.

 

Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

 

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856
media@trca.on.ca

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