Today, the Niagara Region, in partnership with representatives from the 12 local municipalities, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and the private sector made a commitment to actively do more to address climate change in Niagara.
After hearing from keynote speaker Karen Farbridge, and a number of expert discussion panels, summit attendees were invited to sign a call to action as a demonstration of their commitment to form partnerships, share critical data and accelerate action on climate change and green house gas emissions in Niagara. Over 100 individuals, representing dozens of local organizations, signed the pledge.
The pledge forms a foundational first step for Niagara’s municipalities, institutions and businesses as it is widely accepted that meaningful action on climate change will require all sectors of society working together. It is anticipated that today’s call to action will be a precursor to a formal emissions target that will be established in the future.
Summit attendees also participated in facilitated discussions for the majority of the afternoon. The feedback collected during these sessions will be utilized to develop a more cohesive climate change action plan for the Region.
The summit comes after a motion was passed last September by Regional Council to declare a climate change emergency and host a summit. The motion also allotted financial resources solely dedicated to addressing the impacts of changing climate, a first in the Niagara Region’s 52-year history.
Regional Council’s direction to take more action on climate change was partially informed by a 2020 report issued by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Insurance Bureau of Canada that estimated climate change will cost municipalities across the country $5.3 billion annually. That same report found that local government in Canada is responsible for, or could influence, 50 per cent of all green house gas emissions. These studies, and others, show that local communities are directly impacted by climate change, and have a responsibility to act.
From a fiscal perspective, summit attendees learned that over 80 million jobs world wide are at a risk from rising global temperatures, and could erase as much as 18 per cent of global GDP by 2050. At the same time, studies show that for every $1 spent on climate change action there will be a return of $6.
The inaugural Climate Change Summit was hosted by Niagara Region, in partnership with Brock University and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
"It is within our power to undertake the activities that are needed to help slow the increase of global temperatures. The organizations, institutions and municipalities that were represented at today’s summit are not just innocent bystanders – we must all commit to work together to start making the changes and investments that are necessary before it is too late. It is important for all of us to recognize that today’s summit will be foundational to our future, and I want to thank everyone who made the commitment to attend. I am confident that the summit will result in stronger partnerships that will aid in our efforts to combat climate change."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
"Evidence of the dramatic impact of climate change on our planet can be seen all around the world, from increased storm severity and flooding to droughts and wildfires becoming more common and intense. We in the Niagara region must do our part to take action to mitigate climate change and prepare for its impact on our community. Brock is proud to be working together with our partners across the region on this important initiative."
~ Lynn Wells, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University
"Climate change action is a critical priority for the NPCA. Our role in watershed-based flood forecasting and monitoring, water and climate science, and green infrastructure transcends municipal boundaries. Collaboration will be imperative to build resiliency and adaptation capacity across the watershed. We are pleased to partner on the Climate Summit to create a foundation for on-the-ground action."
~ Chandra Sharma, CAO/Secretary-Treasurer, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
Janine Tessmer (media only)
Climate Change Specialist, Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3654