Climate Emergency Declaration Update


At the Town of Gravenhurst Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 20, 2021 the following resolution was passed:

WHEREAS the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 Report ‘Global Warming of 1.5C’ states the urgency of keeping global heating below the 1.5C goal and also acknowledges that the world is currently on track for more than 3C increase in temperature rise based on policies that are now in place; and

AND WHEREAS this current track of climate heating will lead to catastrophic social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts in our community and elsewhere and that the IPCC estimates less than 10 years to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; and

AND WHEREAS many municipalities across Ontario and Canada understand the major benefits of and the need to be at the forefront of action on climate change, with many having declared a climate emergency already, including the Township of Georgian Bay and the District of Muskoka; and

AND WHEREAS much of the financial damage associated with climate change will come from impacts to municipal core infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water, wastewater and storm water systems and from destruction of natural infrastructure; and

AND WHEREAS it is necessary not only to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also to increase community resiliency in the face of climate change, and that these approaches can offer multiple benefits including improved health and air quality, increased innovation, economic development and reduced costs in the long run; and

AND WHEREAS many people in Muskoka have demonstrated a strong interest and commitment to address climate change and continue to make Muskoka a leader in environmental action and protection;

AND WHEREAS the District of Muskoka has declared a Climate Emergency and adopted the goal of GHG emissions reductions of 50% by 2030, reaching zero by 2050;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Town of Gravenhurst officially:

  1. Declare a Climate Emergency immediately and join other municipalities to name and deepen the Town of Gravenhurst’s commitment to protecting our economy, our community, and our ecosystems from the impacts of climate heating; and
  2. Develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  The CAP would include: identification of firm, ambitious targets to reach the goal of greater than 50% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and achieving zero GHG emissions by 2050; commit to becoming a drawdown/regenerative community, taking an active role in the repair and regeneration of our systems, including in the areas of the built environment, natural infrastructure, land use, transportation, energy, waste, health, and food security; and
  3. Support and participate in the establishment of a Community Climate Working Group, which will provide input to the municipal CAP and will assist in the regular review and updating of the CAP as the science evolves.  The Community Climate Working Group should be representative of the diversity of the community in the Town of Gravenhurst and include at least one councillor who will act as a liaison with the Council; and
  4. Collaborate with the District of Muskoka, other municipal governments, institutions, industry associations, and the community to improve standards and protocols that can positively address climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  5. Seek and secure funding opportunities from both internal and external sources for 2021 and beyond to adequately finance climate actions necessary to meet 2030 and 2050 emission reduction targets; and
  6. Commit to putting climate action at the forefront of all decision-making, large and small, working to achieve community wellbeing and resiliency, equity, reconciliation, and leaving no one behind.  Require all future reports to Council to include a section titled Climate Change Implications that will identify how the recommendations will contribute to meeting the objectives of the CAP; and
  7. Work with other community stakeholders to educate the public at large about steps that can be taken by individuals and businesses to reduce GHGs; and
  8. Urge both Provincial and Federal governments and opposition parties to work rapidly to deliver the GHG emission reductions needed to keep global heating below the 1.5C goal to minimize the life-threatening impacts of climate change.  Forward the resolution to the Premier of Ontario, the Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Parry Sound Muskoka representatives Hon. Norm Miller MPP and Hon. Scott Aitchison MP, and the leaders of the other political parties; and
  9. That Committee directs the Gravenhurst Environmental Advisory Committee to seek Community Engagement in the development of a community climate action plan and that GEAC reports back to Committee on preliminary progress within 90 days, and finally
  10. That Committee directs staff to develop a plan to address corporate GHG emissions in the Town of Gravenhurst and to work to develop a coordinated plan of action with other municipalities in the District of Muskoka on Climate Change, reporting back to Committee on preliminary progress within 90 days.

Return to the Climate Emergency Declaration page – here