Climate Change is recognized as one of our most serious global environmental problems, and results from an accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. The growing concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere are resulting in an increase in global average temperatures, which affect climate patterns and ultimately the health and well-being of ecosystems and people. On November 25, 1998, recognizing the importance of dealing with climate change, the City of Winnipeg committed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection (PCP).
The PCP program is a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases and to acting on climate change. It empowers municipalities to take action against climate change through a five-milestone process that guides members in creating GHG inventories, setting realistic and achievable GHG reduction targets, developing and implementing local action plans, monitoring progress and reporting results.
The commitment to reduce GHG emissions is also recognized in 'A Sustainable Winnipeg', the City's guiding sustainability strategy and one of the four Direction Strategies of OurWinnipeg, the City's official development plan. The City is working hard to do its part. A Sustainable Winnipeg includes the following references intended to guide efforts to reduce the City's own corporate GHG emissions:
- Establish corporate GHG reduction targets for 2020 and 2035.
- Maintain a Climate Change Action Plan to reduce the City of Winnipeg's operational GHG emissions by a further 20 per cent below 1998 levels.
- Green the City's fleet operations through a plan that includes direction on anti-idling, efficient vehicles, use of alternate fuels, and right-sizing of the fleet.
- Investigate opportunities to sell GHG emission reductions as carbon-offset credits.
A Sustainable Winnipeg includes the following references to community-wide GHG emissions:
- Create and maintain a Climate Change Action Plan to reduce Winnipeg's community greenhouse gas emission by 6 per cent below 1998 levels. This work is currently underway and slated for completion in 2018.
- Establish a community-wide GHG reduction target for 2020 and 2035.
- Support improved energy efficiency and GHG emission reductions, and move towards compliance with contemporary building code standards.
- Reduce the environmental impact of our activities, through strategies such as planning for sustainable energy use and GHG reduction
In April 2016, the Executive Policy Committee created the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) and provided it with a mandate to review the City's current climate change progress and initiatives. In February 2017, the Final Report was presented by members of the CCWG to provide background on Winnipeg's climate-related policy and Council direction, along with key findings on existing initiatives and recommendations for future direction.
Corporate Climate Change
Like many municipalities, the City of Winnipeg opted to establish a corporate GHG reduction target and action plan in advance of developing a community-wide plan. A corporate climate change plan focuses on emissions generated by facilities and operations of the City of Winnipeg. This includes GHGs from municipal government buildings, street lighting, water and wastewater treatment, the municipal fleet, and corporate solid waste.
In 2006, the Corporate Climate Change Action Plan was adopted by Council targeting a 20% reduction in corporate emissions below a baseline year of 1998. The City successfully achieved its first set of corporate GHG reduction targets in 2008. To keep up the momentum, a further 20% GHG emission reduction target (for a total of 40% below 1998 levels) was adopted by Council in 2009. The approved corporate Climate Change Action Plan is found.
In July 2016, Council received an update on the Corporate Climate Change Action Plan, which highlighted that the ambitious 40% target had not yet been reached. Therefore, the Public Service was directed to work with the Climate Change Working Group on developing timelines and targets for further reducing GHG emissions within the City of Winnipeg.
Community-Wide Climate Change
Although the City has made a commitment to reduce community-wide emissions by 6% below 1998 levels, this GHG target does not yet include an action plan or timeline. To address this gap, the City updated its community emissions inventory and forecast to provide a baseline from which to establish emission reduction targets. The technical report that describes this work is the City of Winnipeg Community 2011 GHG Inventory and Forecast which was presented to City Council in November 2016. This Report identifies that Winnipeggers are responsible for emitting more than 5,300,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) per year. Furthermore, this Report provides a summary of the incremental impact of implementing several emission reduction opportunities via a low carbon path to 2050.
The City of Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan, called the Winnipeg Climate Action Plan: Planning for Climate Change. Acting for People has been under development since October 2017 and represents the culmination of extensive research, analysis and public engagement. For more information on this project, please visit: Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan.
If you would like more information about climate change, here are some helpful resources:
- Climate Change Connection
Climate Change Connection aims to build awareness and to empower Manitobans to take action and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions - both individually and as a community.
- Prairie Climate Centre
This is a joint initiative of the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development,the Prairie Climate Centre aims to help governments, businesses and community members identify and anticipate risks, take advantage of emerging opportunities, build capacity, and enhance economic and environmental resilience to climate change.
- Prairie Climate Atlas
This is an interactive website that includes climate data, geovisualizations, and multimedia. It is the flagship project of the Prairie Climate Centre, providing detailed, state-of-the-art yet easily understood information about our region's changing climate.
- Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
The pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change is Canada's national plan – developed with the provinces and territories and in consultation with Indigenous peoples – to meet our country-wide emissions reduction target of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Manitoba's Provincial Climate Change and Air Quality Branch
This is a 'Made-in-Manitoba' Climate Action Plan is currently under development by the province. Regular updates, progress reports and complimentary information on the province's climate changeefforts can be found here.
- Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative
This is a partnership of the governments of Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba mandated to pursue climate change impacts and adaptation research in the Prairie Provinces. Its objective is to generate practical options to adapt to current and future climate change, and are also charged with fostering the development of new professionals in the emerging science of climate change impacts and adaptation.