Climate change affects everyone, and everyone can play a role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission.
Climate Change Mitigation
Mitigation refers to strategies or measures that reduce the causes of climate change primarily through the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
What can I do to mitigate climate change?
- Participate in Halifax’s Solar City program to access innovative solar energy options for your home.
- Look for Energy Star high efficiency ratings when shopping for new appliances. Choosing higher efficiency appliances helps to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
- Choose an alternative transportation option such as walking, cycling, taking public transit, or carpooling at least once a week. The transportation sector is Canada’s second greatest source of GHG emissions, accounting for 28 per cent of all GHG emissions nationally in 2015. Check if you are eligible for Halifax Transit’s SmartTrip program through your employer.
- Learn more about energy efficiency programs and incentives for home and business owners through Efficiency Nova Scotia.
- Check out the climate change mitigation resources in the Community Action Guide to Climate Change and Emergency Preparedness [PDF].
Climate Change Adaptation
Adaptation refers to measures to prepare ourselves and our communities for changes in our climate by taking steps that will help us cope with the likely impacts.
What can I do to adapt to climate change?
What is the municipal government doing about climate change?
In 2011 Council adopted a target to reduce corporate GHG emissions by 30 percent below 2008 levels by 2020. HRM’s Energy and Environment Office is tracking progress on this target under the Corporate Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions 2012-2020 [PDF].
HRM has not yet established a community-level GHG emissions reduction target, but plans to do so over time.
Programs and Initiatives
- The municipality has installed solar collectors on 15 fire stations and community centres throughout the region so far. Those collectors provide solar heated water or air, reducing traditional energy consumption, decreasing operating costs and further cutting corporate GHG emissions.
- HRM has almost completed an LED retrofit for the municipality’s more than 40,000 streetlights By late 2018, this conversion could reduce corporate GHG emissions by up to 13,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions (eCO2) – a huge step toward our 2020 target. HRM’s conversion of more than 250 traffic lights to LED technology in 2011 has already reduced emissions by up to 2,300 tonnes eCO2 per year.
- Over time HRM’s building retrofits have reduced corporate GHG emissions by about 900 tonnes eCO2 per year through improved energy efficiency and enhanced energy consumption for space heating and lighting. That includes GHG savings through improvements to the LEED Gold BMO Centre, the LEED-certified Gordon R. Snow Community Centre, Cole Harbour Place and the Centennial Pool. Oil to natural gas conversions for heating have also reduced GHG emissions in HRM buildings.
- Energy performance and GHG savings are being incorporated into new buildings at the early design stages. HRM now builds to LEED standards and incorporates technologies such as geothermal heating, solar water heating, heat recapture and high efficiency boilers where possible.
Partnerships and Collaborations
- In the lead of the historic Climate Change Conference meetings in Paris in December 2015, Halifax was part of a vanguard of Canadian cities that committed to the Compact of Mayors, now the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, demonstrating that cities are at the frontlines of the fight against dangerous climate change. More than 23 cities from Canada have joined the pact, and the list is growing!
- The municipality has received Milestone 5 recognition in the Canadian Partners for Climate Protection Program for its monitoring and reporting of corporate greenhouse gases. Find out how HRM achieved Milestone 5 in the Progress Report on Corporate GHG Emission Reductions 2005-2011 [PDF].
- HRM’s Emergency Management Organization and the Energy & Environment section are working together to address climate change risks and adaptation. HRM’s unique community-based Joint Emergency Management (JEM) Teams provide a critical connection to community leaders who can maintain up-to-date information on sensitive community assets and populations in the face of potential climate change impacts and vulnerabilities to natural hazards.
- HRM is a partner in the Halifax Housing & Homelessness Partnership, a group including nine partners from the three levels of government, private, and non-profit sectors. Among other goals, the Partnership is working to improve the energy efficiency in older affordable housing units.
- HRM has collaborated with Dalhousie University researchers to model forest fire impacts on the municipality’s wildlands-urban interface. In addition to Atlantic Canada’s largest and fastest growing urban centre, HRM features an extensive rural area whose dense forests abut small communities throughout the region.
Plans, Programs and Initiatives
- HRM’s Regional Plan responds to the need for a region-wide growth management strategy following the amalgamation of four former municipalities with separate plans and jurisdictions. The Plan establishes long-range planning policies outlining where, when, and how future growth and development should take place over HRM’s 5900 km2 to 2031 and beyond. The 2014 Plan targets at least 75% of all new housing units to be located in the Regional Centre and urban communities and at least 25% of all new housing units within the Regional Centre by 2031.
- In recent years HRM led a community-based climate change vulnerability mapping pilot project in the coastal communities of Eastern Passage-Cow Bay. This public participation project involved local education and workshops to engage local residents in identifying buildings and homes that could be at risk of climate change impacts due to tropical storms, storm surge or sea-level rise, among other things.
- The Halifax Green Network Plan is a comprehensive ecosystem-based plan for the sustainable use and conservation of the region’s network of green spaces and natural assets. Once finalized, the Halifax Green Network Plan will set out to protect an interconnected network of open space resources for multiple environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits. The Plan identifies essential wildlife corridors and areas important to regional biodiversity, recreation and community livability, economic and community resilience, cultural identity, and growth management through green-belting and natural area protection.
- In addition to a successful Mobile Food Market program, HRM has committed to supporting the establishment and operation of community gardens, where appropriate in the municipality, through an Administrative Order Respecting the Community Garden Program. This innovative, community-driven measure helps the municipality to support the production and distribution of local food while enhancing neighbourhoods and engaging residents in community building activities.
- Through the award-winning Climate SMART program, HRM published a Developer’s Risk Management Guide to Climate Change. This document may be updated over time to reflect new Council priorities, such as Centre Plan, and to incorporate changes to the provincial building code.