County sets ambitious goals to address climate change

Garden Court in Windsor flooded to to heavy rain, Submitted by Michelle Marcus. (August 29, 2017)

The County of Essex has approved in principle a plan to address climate change and cut energy consumption and directed its administration to come up with recommendations.

The Regional Energy Plan was developed over 18 months by a task force that included community and industry stakeholders.

The plan sets out five priorities with a timeline for completion by 2025.

“The cost of doing nothing far outstrips the cost of meeting the climate change challenge head-on,” said Warden Gary McNamara, who chaired the task force. “The status quo is not an option. This plan sets ambitious energy efficiency targets and will serve as both a road map and vehicle to help us achieve them.”

The plan calls for an increase in community-wide energy efficiency of at least 50 per cent by 2041 over 2019 levels, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2041 over 2019 levels. It is driven by a growing urgency to address and mitigate the causes and impacts of climate change, including flooding, shoreline erosion, and frequency of severe weather events.

By the end of 2025, the county intends to improve energy efficiency in up to 80 per cent of homes, have a strategy to achieve $28-billion in cumulative energy savings by 2050, and coordinate all county and municipal energy and land-use plans.

“We are ready. We can do this,” said member of the Windsor-Essex Youth Climate Council, Cara Braun. “We already see the worsening effects of climate change happening around us and worry about what this means for us all in the years to come.”