What is climate change?
Climate change is defined as a long-term shift in average and variable weather conditions measured by changes in temperature, precipitation, wind, snow cover, and other indicators. For example, a precipitation system may stay longer and cause flooding. A heat wave may be more prolonged, causing drought.
Climate change can be the result of natural processes, such as changes in the output of the sun and in the amount of volcanic dust in the atmosphere. It can also be affected by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases and other substances.
What is the difference between climate change and global warming?
Climate change refers to a long-term shift in weather conditions, including temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators.
The effects of climate change may vary from region to region. Temperatures may increase in one region but not another. Precipitation may increase in some regions but decrease in others.
Global warming refers specifically to an increase in the global average surface temperature and is an indicator of climate change.
Global warming does not mean that the world will warm uniformly. Some areas of the world will warm more, while others will warm less than the global average.
Why should we be concerned about climate change?
Global greenhouse gases are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. These emissions, which are mainly due to human activities, are widely held by climate scientists to be the main cause of increases in temperatures worldwide.
The average global temperature for 2015-2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record.
Increases in temperature are leading to an accelerating rise in sea levels, changes to patterns of precipitation, increases in the frequency and duration of droughts and heat waves, more intense hurricanes and many other ecological and social impacts.
What is the Greater Sudbury Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP)?
Municipalities are thought to be in direct or indirect control of 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In Canada, many municipalities are facing the energy and associated greenhouse gas emission challenges through the development of CEEPS. These plans document local priorities on how energy should be generated, delivered and used in the community now and into the future in ways that reduce or eliminate emissions.
Greater Sudbury’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) will determine required actions and investments to achieve a net-zero emissions target by the year 2050.
The goal is to reduce carbon emissions to as close to zero as possible and to offset any leftover emissions through renewable energy production, reforestation and new technologies.
What does net-zero emissions mean?
While it is impossible at this time to achieve zero emissions, a “net-zero” goal is achievable by reducing emissions and counteracting those we do emit.
For example, a building with net-zero energy emissions uses solar panels instead of fossil fuels. Planting trees can absorb any remaining carbon emissions.
Why was Greater Sudbury’s CEEP developed?
Greater Sudbury’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan has been developed in response to a strategic priority of Council to provide leadership in the development and promotion of ideas, policies and actions that will mitigate the impact of climate change.
Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency to protect the local economy, ecosystems and community from climate change.
Staff has been directed to present a report by year end that describes an adaptation and mitigation plan with input from residents.
What are the current rates of greenhouse gas emissions in Greater Sudbury?
Total per capita emissions in Greater Sudbury are more than 1.5 times the global average.
Emissions per person in Greater Sudbury are estimated at 7.4 tonnes of CO2e compared with the global average of 4.8 tonnes per person.
CO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of the six greenhouse gases by a 100 year global warming potential.
What are the six greenhouse gases?
The Kyoto Protocol covers six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Of these six gases, three are of primary concern.
Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to climate change, especially through the burning of fossil fuels.
Methane is produced naturally when vegetation is burned, digested or rotted without the presence of oxygen. Large amounts of methane are released by cattle farming, waste dumps, and the production of oil and gas.
Nitrous oxide, released by chemical fertilizers and burning fossil fuels, has a global warming potential 310 times that of carbon dioxide.
What are the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Greater Sudbury?
Transportation accounts for 43 per cent of emissions.
Light trucks (pickups, vans SUVs) account for 51.9 per cent of vehicle emissions.
Cars account for 39.6 per cent of vehicle emissions.
Residential buildings account for 51.9 per cent of building emissions.
Space and water heating account for 65 per cent of building emissions.
Wastewater treatment accounts for 66 per cent of waste sector emissions.
What can residents do now to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions?
Small actions, like converting to high efficiency lights, recycling and using transit instead of personal vehicles, can make a difference. Visit www.greatersudbury.ca/EarthCare for more environmentally friendly tips.
For maximum impact, residents are encouraged to:
Complete home retrofits to maximize energy efficiency.
Reduce household waste by purchasing only low waste products and buying in bulk
Purchase an electric vehicle or make transit a primary mode of transportation.
What are the goals of the Greater Sudbury Community Energy and Emissions Plan?
Greater Sudbury Climate Change #Zero2050 has identified eight sectors to achieve a low-carbon community by reducing energy consumption, improving energy efficiency and using low-carbon energy sources.
Sector 1: Compact, complete communities
Goal: Achieve energy efficiency and emission reductions by creating compact, complete communities. This can be achieved by developing vacant or under-used land within existing urban areas, decreasing dwelling size with multi-family buildings and increasing mixes of building types.
Sector 2: Energy efficient buildings
Goal: Periodically increase the energy efficiency of new buildings until all new buildings are Passive House energy efficiency compliant starting in 2030. Passive Houses require very little energy to maintain a comfortable temperature, making conventional heating and air conditioning systems obsolete.
Goal: Retrofit existing buildings to achieve 50 per cent increased energy efficiency by 2040.
Goal: Achieve net-zero emissions in municipally owned buildings by 2040.
Sector 3: Water, wastewater and solid waste
Goal: Decrease energy use in the potable water treatment and distribution system by up to 60 per cent by 2050.
Goal: Achieve 90 per cent solid waste diversion by 2050.
Goal: Have an organics and biosolids anaerobic digestion facility operational by 2030.
Sector 4: Low-carbon transportation
Goal: Enhance transit service to achieve a 25 per cent share of all modes of transportation in Greater Sudbury by 2050.
Goal: Encourage active transportation to achieve a 35 per cent share of all modes of transportation in Greater Sudbury by 2050.
Goal: Electrify 100 per cent of the GOVA Transit fleet and municipal vehicles by 2035.
Goal: Achieve 100 per cent electric new vehicle sales by 2030.
Sector 5: Industrial efficiency
Goal: Increase industrial energy efficiency by 35 per cent by 2040.
Sector 6: Local clean energy generation
Goal: Establish a renewable energy cooperative to advance solar energy systems and other renewable energy efforts.
Goal: Install 10 megawatts of ground mounted solar photovoltaic systems each year, starting in 2022.
Goal: Install net metered solar photovoltaic systems on 90 per cent of new buildings and 80 per cent of existing buildings to supply 50 per cent of their electric load. Net metering allows property owners to send electricity generated from renewable energy technologies to the Hydro One distribution system for credit towards electricity costs.
Goal: Expand the downtown district energy system to 23 megawatts capacity.
Goal: Install 50 megawatts of renewable energy storage.
Sector 7 Low-carbon energy procurement
Goal: Procure 100 per cent of community-wide grid electricity and 75 per cent of natural gas demand from renewable sources by 2050.
Sector 8 Carbon sequestration to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide
Goal: Increase reforestation as part of Greater Sudbury’s regreening program.
What are the timelines for the plan?
Council approved community consultation for the Greater Sudbury Community Energy and Emissions Plan on November 12, 2019. The final version of CEEP is to be ready by the second quarter of 2020. The implementation plan is to be ready by the end of 2020.
Once the Draft Community Energy and Emissions Plan is revised based on resident feedback, the document will be presented as a final version.
As part of the final version, the plan will contain a five year strategy that will prioritize the goals of the CEEP and provide a guide for implementation.
How was Greater Sudbury’s CEEP developed?
Greater Sudbury’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan began in June of 2017 when Council directed staff to apply for federal and provincial funding for the CEEP’s development.
Funding was secured from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and from Ontario’s Municipal Energy Program. The City is contributing eight per cent of the funds through EarthCare Sudbury’s operating budget.
Local stakeholders with an energy interest, including Greater Sudbury Utilities, Hydro One, Enbridge Inc., Vale, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (a Glencore company), Sudbury & District Home Builders’ Association, reThink Green, four local school boards, post-secondary institutions and many others, were assembled in the fall of 2017 as the Stakeholder Working Group to assist with Plan preparation.
A consulting firm was retained in early 2018 to lead the CEEP’s preparation, including the required modelling and public engagement components. CEEP development was ongoing from early 2018 to early fall of 2019 and involved the comprehensive collection, review and analysis of energy-related data, energy modelling, and development and assessment of future energy scenarios.