February 3, 2017
Released: 1:49 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – The climate change working group established by Executive Policy Committee (EPC) and mandated to assess the City's current climate change plans has completed their work and submitted their report and recommendations to EPC Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.
"I want to thank the working group for all their hard work under the leadership of Councillor Gerbasi," said Mayor Bowman. "Their report provides a comprehensive assessment of the status of various climate change initiatives within the City of Winnipeg, and it underscores we have more work to do. Collectively, as individuals and governments, we need to continue to work at finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint and address the challenges of climate change," said Mayor Bowman.
Mayor Bowman will ask EPC to support a motion directing the Public Service to review the recommendations of the climate change working group, and report back regarding implementation before September 2017.
The working group was chaired by Councillor Jenny Gerbasi and supported by Councillors Matt Allard and Cindy Gilroy. Establishing the working group and having them report to EPC fulfills a commitment Mayor Bowman made in his State of the City address in February 2016.
"I am pleased to have been able to lead and contribute to this important work," said Councillor Jenny Gerbasi. "I want to thank Councillors Allard and Gilroy for their commitment and support as part of the working group. We certainly have more work to do at a municipal level to coordinate and implement initiatives to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to working with the public service, my Council colleagues, and other experts to find ways to move forward with recommendations contained within the report so we can further protect and enhance the health of our environment."
The working group reviewed and assessed the status of various City of Winnipeg Climate Change commitments including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Partner for Climate Protection model, the City of Winnipeg's long-term development plan (OurWinnipeg), as well as new and developing funding sources available across other levels of government.
The final report identifies that the City of Winnipeg is not on track to achieve the targeted 40% reduction of greenhouse gasses from city operations, and that the community-wide target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1998 levels does not have a complementary action plan or strategy in place as to how to achieve this target. The final report identifies a lack of staff and resources as a key factor underlying the City's inability to achieve more significant progress toward achieving climate goals.
A key recommendation among the 11 contained within the report is to establish an Office of Sustainability to work collaboratively with City departments, other levels of government, and the community to achieve the City's goals of sustainability and environmental quality as directed by Council.
The final report also recommends:
- The establishment of a short-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 10% below 1998 levels by 2022;
- That longer-term corporate targets, to 2035 and 2050, be established following more comprehensive analysis by the Public Service;
- That the City proceed immediately with a Request for Proposals to support a comprehensive public consultation to develop a community-wide climate change action plan;
- The creation of a climate change cross-departmental working group to monitor greenhouse gas emissions as well as carbon reduction objectives;
- The establishment of a stakeholder advisory committee made up of representatives from various sectors and with different expertise on climate change issues to guide the development of a community climate change action plan;
- The Public Service review sustainable procurement best practices in collaboration with a newly created Office of Sustainability;
- The Public Service review asset management strategies to look for opportunities for greenhouse gas reductions in collaboration with a newly created Office of Sustainability; and
- Annual reporting to Council on progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The complete report of the climate change working group is available on the City of Winnipeg's Decision Making Information System.