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City Energy Use and Climate Change

All Municipalities need to complete and post an Energy Consumption and Green House Gas Emission report before July 1 each year.

Municipalities are required to develop Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans. The City of Owen Sound's 5-Year Energy Management Plan is posted below and also available as a hard copy in the municipal office.

City of Owen Sound Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan

More information about energy management and annual energy use is available.

What is climate change?

Climate change is a change in climate patterns, both globally and locally, caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, produced primarily through the combustion of fossil fuels. This change has been occurring for an extended period of time (decades or longer) and is resulting in a shift in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as well as a change in where these events might normally occur.

Climate change is a risk multiplier, increasing the severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding, heat waves, winter storms, drought, wildfires and high wind events. Extreme weather events will continue to have increasing impacts on the way we live in terms of our health, natural ecosystems, transportation systems, food security, insurance and recovery costs, as well as how we design and build our homes and cities.

Climate Action Strategy

To tackle climate change in our area, the City has developed a Climate Action Strategy that will guide the City in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of a changing climate.  

 The City's climate mitigation plan focuses on minimizing or preventing climate change by taking action to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions

The City has developed a Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan to understand the impact that climate change has on services and infrastructure (stormwater network, roads, and buildings) which the City is responsible for. 

The average (mean) annual temperature in Canada increased by 1.7 °C from 1948 to 2016, about double the global rate. Warming has been even stronger in the north. The average annual temperature in northern Canada (north of 60 degrees latitude) has risen by 2.3 °C over this same period, about triple the global rate.

Future changes in temperature will be determined mainly by the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. There is a large range of possible futures. These are described by different emissions scenarios. In general, higher global emissions scenarios project greater warming.

Compared to the recent past (1986 to 2005), average annual temperature in Canada is projected to increase between 1.8 °C and 6.3 °C1 by the end of the century. However, projected temperature changes vary regionally and by season. Northern Canada is expected to continue experiencing stronger warming than the rest of Canada, especially in the winter.

Graph showing Canada's change in temperature

Rising temperatures will impact many aspects of Canadians’ lives. For example, longer and more intense heat waves are associated with increased heat related illnesses and deaths, especially amongst vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those with existing health conditions. Extended heat also increases the demand for cooling, increasing electricity costs in summer, and the risk of food and water-borne contamination.

Warmer temperatures can allow the spread of forest and agricultural pests and disease-vectors (such as ticks) into new regions. Hotter and drier conditions increase the risk of droughts and wildfires.

In the North, the impacts of higher temperatures are already severe and will intensify in coming decades.  Examples include safety concerns associated with less predictable sea ice conditions, infrastructure damage from permafrost thaw and shortened winter road seasons.

Make a Climate Change Pledge

Simple steps such as carpooling to work or using mass transit can help reduce your carbon footprint. To reduce your emissions further and to better prepare for climate change, pledge to do one or more of the following:

Learn more about your carbon emissions

There is much more you can do to reduce your household carbon emissions. Find out more about your emissions and where you can best reduce them by using an online “carbon calculator.”  

Commute by carpooling or using mass transit

More than a quarter of the vehicle-miles travelled by households are for commuting to and from work—usually with one person in the vehicle. Carpooling and mass transit are among options that offer big reductions in carbon emissions.

Plan and combine trips 

A lot of driving involves frequent trips nearby, to go shopping or run errands, for example. Plan and combine trips to reduce the miles you need to travel. Better yet, take someone with you so they can leave their car behind. Replace your vehicle with one with better mileage.

Drive more efficiently

In particular, observe speed limits and avoid rapid acceleration and excessive breaking. Don’t drive aggressively.

Switch to “green power” 

Switch to electricity generated by energy sources with low—or no—routine emissions of carbon dioxide. Contact your electricity provider to find out about the “green power” options available to you.

Eat Local

Eating local means enjoying more locally grown produce and other foods from farmers and producers in your community. Several benefits come from eating local food, including environmental, economic, social, and health benefits. http://eatlocalgreybruce.ca/

Measuring your carbon footprint will help you understand where it comes from. Having this information is the first step towards taking climate action. Use this tool to calculate your carbon footprint

https://www.collingwoodclimateaction.com/community-carbon-footprint-challenge

Three Seconds is a short motivational piece to get younger and older generations alike to stand up for trees and a clean future. This spoken word piece by artist Prince Ea was designed to put into perspective our existence on earth’s timeline and to excite viewers for the fight against the status quo that too often disregards Mother Nature.

Warming Stripes: Weaving the Weather is a short film by Liz Zetlin featuring Ann Schneider, weaver of willows and wool, and John Anderson, retired marine biologist and climatologist.

Ann weaves both stories and rugs that show how our climate has been warming. Starting with 1880, she wove a coloured stripe to represent the average temperature for that year up to the present in the Owen Sound/Wiarton area. Shades of blue for cold and shades of red for hot. We watch her on the loom and then talking about how this rug could be shared. We can each find our own family stories as we look at the rug. John Anderson provided the data and adds his scientific knowledge and own family stories.

Liz Zetlin

Marine scientist Dr. John Anderson explains how climate change will affect us and what we can do about it. The film is designed to inspire action, using facilitated post-screening discussions.

“It’s so hard to know where to start,” says John. “Change our light bulbs? Drive less? Eat less meat? But the trouble is if we act as individuals, it’s just too little. If we wait for governments to act, it will be too late. But if we work together as a community, it might just be in time.”

Our key message is “Let’s just start. What we share is much more important that what appears to divide us.”

Watch it here! Resilience: Transforming our Community 

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