What do you get when you corral representatives from industry, labour, non-profits, First Nations, academia, and healthcare in a room to discuss climate strategy? Believe it or not, you can round up a pretty clear consensus on how to tackle climate change in Ontario.
That’s just what the Clean Economy Alliance did when it convened the Ontario Climate Change Lab back in early July. Drawing on facilitated discussions with expert panelists on various climate-related themes such as electricity, buildings, and transportation & land use, workshop participants voted for their priority recommendations under each theme. The result is a series of recommendations for the province to consider as it develops its forthcoming climate change strategy.
The Role of Cities & Municipalities
One of the illustrations from graphic facilitators.
TAF’s CEO Julia Langer moderated a panel discussion on the critical role of cities in reaching Ontario’s climate targets. We were pleased to see widespread support for strong mandates—supported by the provincial government—for regions and municipalities to set targets for energy use and GHG emissions. Access to financing from the province (e.g., through Infrastructure Ontario) and capacity building for city staff were the other key policy suggestions.
Emissions from Buildings
Have we mentioned building emissions lately? To help tackle this huge source of emissions, lab participants favoured mandating energy reporting and benchmarking for large buildings province-wide – something TAF has been pushing for (successfully) in Toronto in recent months. Participants also showed strong support for energy audits and report cards for homes, innovative financing models like local improvement charges to facilitate efficiency retrofits, and improved building energy codes.
Overall, the Climate Change Lab reinforced that climate action offers so many co-benefits across sectors that it’s possible to plan a way forward with strong support from a diverse group of leaders. You can read more about the recommendations from the Lab in the executive summary or the full report.