Positioning Kingston as a Climate Leader
I’ve heard from many Kingstonians on the importance of climate change recently. As a community we have a great opportunity to show leadership in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. At our next City Council meeting we will be considering a motion on whether or not to declare a climate emergency as a way to draw attention to local environmental efforts. While I’m not convinced that declaring an emergency is the right approach, I am very supportive of making climate leadership a priority this term.
Kingston is already positioned for environmental leadership provincially, nationally and even internationally. As a community we achieved our goal for 2030 of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions more than a decade ahead of schedule! Thanks to huge gains in transit ridership and efforts by local businesses and institutions to better manage energy use, we have made great strides to reduce our carbon footprint. We have the largest municipal network of electric vehicle charging stations, and Kingston was recently recognized as having the best climate plan of any municipality in Canada! You can read more about this progress here (https://bit.ly/2VkQLeW)
So where do we go from here? Climate change is definitely a global issue, so our local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren’t going to move the needle on a global scale. That’s why I’m pushing for a focus on environmental innovation, where Kingston is positioned as a laboratory and a showcase for new green technologies, approaches and pilot projects. I believe our city can be a hub for developing practical and cost-effective environmental solutions, which can then be exported across the country and around the world. That’s the sort of vision that will move the needle on climate change at a global level! So let’s work together to position Kingston for climate leadership and innovation.