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.
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.
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.
2013 GHG Emissions Trend in City of Winnipeg Buildings and Operations
Source: 2016 update on Corporate Climate Change Action Plan
Community-Wide Climate Change
Although the City made a commitment to reduce community-wide emissions by 6% below 1998 levels, this GHG target did 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 identified that Winnipeggers are responsible for emitting more than 5,300,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) per year. Furthermore, this Report provided a summary of the incremental impact of implementing several emission reduction opportunities via a low carbon path to 2050.
Summary of Total Community GHG Emissions in 2011
Table 4, Winnipeg’s Community 2011 GHG Inventory and Forecast
Summary of Total Community GHG Emissions in 2011
Figure 2.1, Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan
Using the inventory and forecast as a starting point, the City of Winnipeg developed its Climate Action Plan, called the Winnipeg Climate Action Plan: Planning for Climate Change. Acting for People. The Plan includes a community vision for climate change mitigation, renewed targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions (2030 and 2050), opportunities for the City and community to work together, recommendations regarding new policies and an implementation strategy. The greenhouse gas emission reduction targets included in the Plan are:
- 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 relative to 2011 levels.
- 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 relative to 2011 levels
Winnipeg’s Climate Action Plan: Planning for Climate Change, Acting for People received unanimous support from Council on September 20, 2018 and it was approved for implementation. If you would like to learn more about 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.
- Climate Atlas of Canada
The Climate Atlas of Canada is an interactive tool for citizens, researchers, businesses, and community and political leaders to learn about climate change in Canada. It combines climate science, mapping and storytelling to bring the global issue of climate change closer to home, and is designed to inspire local, regional, and national action and solutions.
- 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 Climate and Green Plan
The 'Made-in-Manitoba' Climate Action Plan was released by the Province in October 2017. Regular updates, progress reports and complimentary information on the province's climate change efforts 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.