CAM gives the District’s new Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan a mixed review

Climate Action Muskoka gives the District’s new Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan a mixed review

Grassroots climate group calls the plan ‘a good start,’ noting that much depends on implementation.

Muskoka, April 15, 2024 — Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) commends the District of Muskoka for its recently-released Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Muskoka.

“This is an important, ambitious, evidence-based plan, developed with broad community input,” say Linda Mathers and Tamsen Tillson, who represented CAM on the Climate Change Mitigation Task Force.

“As a framework, this is a good start. But we need to go further, faster. We need to see this implemented right away. We are counting on our District and municipal leaders to set specific targets and timelines and to allocate staff and source the funding necessary to achieve the climate goals we have committed to here.”

Based on a 2021 audit of the source of emissions, this plan outlines a vision for reductions and key actions required across the three areas that create the most emissions: transportation, buildings, and community systems. The District of Muskoka has committed to achieving a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030—less than six years away—and net zero by 2050.

CAM is concerned that projected emissions reductions in CEERP are too reliant on the adoption of EVs by private citizens and the initiative and leadership of community groups, many of which are volunteer-run. The group calls on the District and municipal governments to set an example by implementing the climate actions in all three areas of the plan: transportation, buildings and community systems.

As the plan enters its implementation phase, CAM calls on the District and municipal governments to provide leadership as follows:

1.     A dedicated climate action department and sufficient staff to carry out the implementation requirements in the plan.

2.     Policy and regulations to meet the plan’s targets that are specific, measurable, costed and funded, with timelines and deadlines.

3.     Adequate funding and investment in climate-resilient infrastructure and community incentives. Every dollar invested today saves six dollars in the future, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

4.     Address the need to phase out ‘natural’ gas in Muskoka, plan for this transition with rebate incentives for residential heat pump uptake, and lead the way by retrofitting all municipal buildings with air source heat pumps.

We cannot afford for this plan to gather dust. With less than six years to cut emissions by 50% CAM calls on the District and municipal governments to move forward with the utmost urgency and looks forward to working with elected representatives and staff on next steps.

Climate Action Muskoka is an inclusive, non-partisan Muskoka-based group formed in 2019 whose mission is to collaborate with individuals, businesses, groups and all levels of government to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

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