City to Accelerate Climate Change Initiatives

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Tackling climate change continues to move up Windsor’s list of priorities.

On Wednesday, a city committee approved a plan titled the "Acceleration of Climate Change Actions" which will be directly tied into the city’s Climate Change Emergency Declaration issued in November 2019.

Supervisor of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Karina Richters says the first step is establishing a climate change reserve fund to help the city pursue grant funding.

She says acting quickly is a must.

"Council, back in 2017 when they approved the Community Energy Plan, basically set targets for emissions reductions of 40% by 2041, but we know that the science is saying we need to even further reduce. We're just trying to move that needle right now to say, "How do we get these wins?"

Richters says it's estimated every dollar invested will save the city $4 in mitigation costs which, in turn, save on recovery costs as well.

"For mitigation, trying to reduce emissions, so we don't see the worst effects of climate change in the future. On the adaptation side, we know that for every dollar we proactively invest in adaptation we could probably save $4 to $5 on response to deal with the impacts that were not planned for."

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Windsor's Supervisor of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Karina Richters seen on February 19, 2020 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

She says the goals are ambitious, but with the right initiatives they're attainable.

"They're lofty goals, but if we can achieve them there's great rewards. So we have to look at what can we actually do? How do we move this forward? How do we become a leader? How do we make that transformational change that basically every municipality across this country and across the globe are all striving for at this point?"

The "Acceleration of Climate Change Actions" plan now heads to city council for final approval.

If given the go-ahead, $150,000 will be transferred from the city's budget stabilization reserve to form a climate change reserve.