What methodologies are you using to calculate carbon sequestration loss when trees are lost?

    We will be modelling the GHG sequestration changes associated with land use change in our future scenario model. To do so we will use the methodology laid out in Volume 2 of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and the 2019 Refinement. 

    This will involve classifying land in Halton Hills by land type (e.g. forest, agriculture, settlement), applying sequestration values by land use type (using either default data from the IPCC Guidelines or data specific to Halton Hills, if available), then simulating land use changes over time (e.g. area that moves from agriculture to settlement) to quantify sequestration impacts.  

    The Town will also be undertaking a natural asset assessment in 2021 which may include an evaluation of the sequestration value of existing trees. Any such evaluation would likely consider the aggregate sequestration value of natural heritage systems and existing tree canopy, rather than the impact of individual trees that may be lost.

    What input does carbon management have into current planning activities? What is the process? Who from the Town is involved in this?

    We have a Climate Change and Asset Management Department that is directly involved in leading projects relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Other departments are also involved in these projects as appropriate.

    The Town has declared a climate emergency. What concrete actions have been taken since that announcement to demonstrate that the Town is taking this seriously?

    Since the climate emergency declaration, the Town has created the Climate Change and Asset Management Department, and hired two new staff members in that department. 

    The Town has also created the Climate Change Action Task Force (CCATF) with representation including the Mayor, Council, and senior management. The CCATF has two subcommittees – the Low Carbon Transition Steering Committee and the Climate Resilience Steering Committee that advise on different areas of climate change action at the Town.

    The creation of the Low-Carbon Transition Strategy also represents a serious effort on the part of the Town to address the climate emergency and while this strategy is being developed, other projects are ongoing.

    Recently, the Council committed to implementing the Low-Carbon Design Brief for Town Hall. An ambitious strategy that aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the Town Hall. This approach will form the template for similar strategies to be developed for all the Town’s facilities. 

    Visit the Town’s Climate Change webpage

    How is climate action or inaction affecting the Town's insurance?

    Climate change affects the Town's insurance premium even if it is not due to Town specific issues. In recent years there has been an increase in catastrophic events, BC and Alberta have seen an influx of forest fires and major floods.

    The global insurance market started to harden significantly since 2018, in part due to weather-related catastrophic losses.

    Year to date in 2020 has set a record as the hottest on record and two of the last three years have set records for global temperatures, spawning these catastrophic weather events. These external factors affect the Canadian insurers as they must purchase reinsurance from the international marketplace to cover their exposure to catastrophic losses that may occur in Canada

    Weather events are not the same as they were 15 or 20 years ago. The storm that hit central Etobicoke and East Mississauga in July 2013 dropped the same amount of rain over a 2-hour period as Hurricane Hazel did over a 24-hour period. Municipal infrastructure was never designed to handle these deluges. 

    According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, it reports that in Canada, severe weather losses averaged about $1.9 billion a year from 2009 through 2019. This compares to $422 million a year from 1983 through 2008.

    Has the Town considered how its actions or inactions will affect its credit rating?

    The Town does not have a credit rating. As a lower tier municipality we cannot issue debt as per the Municipal Act – and therefore we are not able to establish a credit rating. 

    The Region does the borrowing on our behalf and as such carries the risk and builds the associated credit rating.

    Which bank does the Town currently use for its financials?

    This information is available on page 12 of the Town’s publicly available Financial Reports

    The Town has limited power, so beyond the Town equipment and property, what is the scope of the strategy that needs to be developed and sold to its residents?

    The scope of the strategy needs to encompass all emissions producing activities within the Town. It needs to be comprehensive in addressing everything from how we heat and power our buildings, to how we get around, to how businesses, farms, and industry use energy.

    Is Halton Hills Hydro part of the strategy?

    Yes, Halton Hills Hydro is part of the Multi-Stakeholder Governance Committee and we work closely with them on a number of climate change mitigation strategies.

    Given the significance of carbon capture within scientific research, will Halton Hills shift away from the current carbon intensive processes found within ground maintenance and waste wood management?

    We will be looking into strategies to enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of soils and natural areas.

    There are too many trucks on the road and there should be an incentive for people to dispose of old gas guzzling vehicles, especially bad running diesels.

    Agreed! The government should reintroduce worthwhile incentives for purchasing hybrid or electric vehicles if they want this to work. 

    Those manufacturers of non hybrid/electric vehicles should have the reverse of an incentive for non bothering to "get with the program." 

    In the Low-Carbon Strategy, we will examine opportunities to influence these trends, from lobbying higher-levels of government to establishing more EV- charging infrastructure. 

    Will the Halton Hills CC strategy relate only to Town properties and facilities, or will residents and business property issues and opportunities be addressed as well?

    The Net-Zero by 2030 target and the associated Low-Carbon Transition Strategy strategy are community-wide. In fact, because close to 99% of the community’s emissions come from sources beyond the Corporation of the Town of Halton Hills, the strategy will be focused primarily on community emissions – from residents and businesses.

    Are we finally starting to move on from emissions reductions to also include adaptive mitigation strategies? The Town has recently completed a Climate Change Adaptation Plan and is actively implementing a Climate Change resilience strategy alongside our mitigation work – we are aiming where possible to find synergies between these two important areas.

    How are the proposed developments being reviewed against climate emergency concerns?

    We are in the process of completing an update to our Green Development Standards which aim to reduce environmental impacts and GHGs associated with new developments – the Low-Carbon Transition Strategy also evaluates potential impacts of new developments and will develop additional strategies to mitigate impacts.

    Is there a reason why agricultural emissions from fertilizer and fuel use is not being considered, appreciating that a high percentage of the land base is zoned Ag?

    Estimates of agricultural sector energy use are included in the baseline and reference scenario emissions projections. 

    As for pesticides, any related greenhouse gas emissions are associated with their manufacturing and then transportation. These emissions would be associated with the jurisdiction in which they occur. 

    The overall impact of Agriculture on our GHGs is fairly low as we do not have high emitting activities like intensive cattle farming.

    How do we account for Premium Outlet car traffic? Thousands of cars daily. Surely we are not attributing their emissions to their originating location. There must be a cost to creating an attraction that adds jobs and taxes.

    For cross-boundary trips, the model allocates 50% of the distance of those trips to the Town, as determined by the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories. 

    In other words, trips that originate outside of the Town and arrive at the Premium Outlet, would be attributed 50/50 to the Town.

    What incentives are being proposed for promoting Geothermal heating as a replacement for natural gas?

    We will be describing the proposed low-carbon actions in the next phase of the strategy development. Fuel switching and strategies to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for heating will be a key area of focus.