Dufferin County Declares Climate Emergency

Sep 12th, 2022
By tchan
A copy of the Dufferin Climate Action Plan 2021 laid on the ground among painted rocks.

Dufferin County Council has passed a motion to declare a climate emergency. The motion, brought forward by Councillor Janet Horner, was adopted at Council’s September 8 meeting.

The declaration of a climate emergency signals a commitment to urgent climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. With this declaration, Dufferin County is joining 644 Canadian municipalities and over 1,200 jurisdictions globally in acknowledging that climate change poses a serious risk to the environment, infrastructure, and people.

“In recent years, Dufferin County residents and businesses have experienced more frequent and extreme weather events, such as the historic 2017 flood, and climate projections show that our community will continue to get wetter, warmer, and wilder,” says Councillor Janet Horner. “The adoption of the Dufferin Climate Action Plan, which set a goal of net-zero by 2050, was an important milestone for the County. Through this declaration, we are reaffirming and strengthening our commitment to addressing the climate emergency.”

Adopted by Council in March of 2021, the Dufferin Climate Action Plan outlines a series of actions that support a low-carbon and resilient future. In the first year of implementation, over 27 actions have been initiated, such as the installation of an electric vehicle charging station network. Over a period of nine months the network has seen over 1,989 uses, resulting in a reduction of approximately six tonnes of carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions.

To further strengthen the response to climate change, the County is committing to:

  • Supporting the development of local municipal climate implementation plans
  • Incentivizing better building efficiency through Green Development Standards and a Home Energy Retrofit Program
  • Increasing public accessibility to electric vehicle charging infrastructure through a rural electric vehicle fast-charging network
  • Launching a volunteer program to empower Dufferin youth to take climate action
  • Continuing to share an annual report card to the public on the progress of the County’s climate commitments
  • Creating a community Climate Adaptation Plan
  • Completing a greenhouse gas budget to support the 2025 update of the Dufferin Climate Action Plan
  • Developing a corporate climate plan and incorporating climate priorities into future strategic plans
  • Ensuring the Climate Emergency Declaration is at the heart of all future staff reports and operations
  • Continuing to investigate new opportunities for additional climate actions

“Today Dufferin County is joining municipalities across the world in declaring a climate emergency and committing to further climate action,” says Sonya Pritchard, Chief Administrative Officer. “As the County continues to integrate climate considerations in policies, strategies, and budgets, this climate emergency declaration will help us respond with the necessary urgency to ensure Dufferin County continues to thrive and embrace new opportunities in a changing climate.”

Residents can learn more about the County’s climate initiatives by connecting with Climate Action in Dufferin through the County website, newsletter, and Facebook, and Instagram channels. The County encourages residents to visit the Climate Hub to discover how they can take action and support local climate goals.