Waterloo Region's Climate Action Strategy

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A circle containing the words "ClimateActionWR: Transforming Waterloo Region, #WR80by50" is surrounding by four local scenes: a transit bus in a core area, a red barn on a farm, a historic building, and a pond with children playing at the edge.

Climate change is affecting our community, so our plans are changing, too. Share your vision of the future for Waterloo Region.

ClimateActionWR is working with all eight municipalities within Waterloo Region (the cities, the townships and the Region) to create a 30-year Climate Action Strategy to achieve an 80 per cent greenhouse gas reduction by 2050.

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) that trap heat from the sun inside the earth's atmosphere. As more GHGs are released into our atmosphere (largely through the burning of fossil fuels), more heat is trapped by them. This raises the temperature of the air, ocean and water, changing the conditions in which we live, and causing more extreme weather events both globally and locally.

To reduce our GHGs locally, it’s critical that this strategy represents the insights and ideas of our community members. Share your voice! Complete the survey to tell us what you think.

ClimateActionWR is a collaborative partnership that includes: Reep Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region, City of Cambridge, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo.

Climate change is affecting our community, so our plans are changing, too. Share your vision of the future for Waterloo Region.

ClimateActionWR is working with all eight municipalities within Waterloo Region (the cities, the townships and the Region) to create a 30-year Climate Action Strategy to achieve an 80 per cent greenhouse gas reduction by 2050.

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) that trap heat from the sun inside the earth's atmosphere. As more GHGs are released into our atmosphere (largely through the burning of fossil fuels), more heat is trapped by them. This raises the temperature of the air, ocean and water, changing the conditions in which we live, and causing more extreme weather events both globally and locally.

To reduce our GHGs locally, it’s critical that this strategy represents the insights and ideas of our community members. Share your voice! Complete the survey to tell us what you think.

ClimateActionWR is a collaborative partnership that includes: Reep Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region, City of Cambridge, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo.

Do you have questions about the creation of our long-term (30-year) community Climate Action Strategy? You can ask them here. We will do our best to respond to questions within three business days. Please note that response times will be longer over the December/January holidays.

Q&A

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    As we know buildings (residential/commercial) represent a large portion of the regions GHG emissions. While new building codes continue to improve to address new building stock, by volume our existing buildings are the biggest problem. My understanding is that FCM has financing coming online for municipalities to use for LIC type programs. Specifically, to address GHG emissions from residential buildings it is widely known in the HVAC industry that Geothermal Heat Pumps systems are by far the most efficient type of system for any building. At point of use, Geothermal Heat pumps emit no emissions, require no backup systems, and eliminate any outdoor HVAC equipment. Unfortunately, due to the fact that each system needs the ground loop energy source installed, it is costly. Consumers need programs such as LIC financing to help adopt these systems. Has Waterloo region been exploring LIC program options, to fund such improvements to building HVAC such as geothermal?

    jhunter2011 asked 9 months ago

    From ClimateActionWR:

    Thanks for a great question. As part of the FCM funding granted to ClimateActionWR, to work with all 8 local municipalities on the development of our long-term community Climate Action Strategy, we are required to provide a series of events to build our local knowledge and capacity on topics related to long-term climate action planning. Financial tools for climate action (including LIC's) has been a topic of strong interest across all 8 municipalities, and therefore we will be providing programming for municipal staff on this topic over the coming months to help with local decision making in this respect.  


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    Research studies have demonstrated that expanding road capacity induces more driving (a concept known as induced demand) – and that, conversely, reducing road capacity can reduce traffic by making driving less convenient. Given that transportation accounts for 49 per cent of GHG emissions in Waterloo Region, why is the Region forecasting to spend more than $300 million on road expansion over the next 10 years? Wouldn't this money be better invested in more transit and active transportation infrastructure, to get people out of their cars?

    ajreinhart asked 12 months ago

    From the Region of Waterloo:

    The Region’s 2018 Transportation Master Plan (TMP) carried forward some of the recommendations from the  2010 Regional Transportation Master Plan (RTMP) taking it a step further to recommend more investments in Active Transportation (AT) and Transit. More information about how the network for the 2018 TMP was assessed and developed is available in the Network Assessment Report.

    The 2018 TMP guides how roads, public transit, and walking and cycling access will be improved, now through 2041. The plan also provides direction for new policies to support more sustainable and healthy modes of travel, and improved transportation choices. Among several strategies developed for the 2018 TMP, the timing for road widenings are strategically proposed at locations to support future growth and development to ensure the road network is not “overbuilt.” Emphasis was placed on widening roadways that will enhance and accommodate all modes of transportation – active transportation and transit included.  The cost for road widenings includes the cost for adding lane-kilometers of roadway for motor vehicles and includes the cost to implement AT access recommended in the 2014 ATMP. In addition, the road expansion cost also includes the cost for providing some transit features like dedicated transit lanes along some corridors.

    The 2018 TMP also identified funding needed to implement “in-fill” AT projects (which are stand-alone AT facilities such as trails), as well as improving connections at intersections (especially those across barriers such as Rivers and Provincial Highways). The 2018 TMP recommends “road diets” (converting general travel lanes meant for motor vehicles, to lanes that could be used for AT or Transit). A separate fund has also been estimated to provide for transit expansion needed to accommodate future growth.

    Details about the 2018 TMP is available through the following link: https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/exploring-the-region/transportation-master-plan.aspx.


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    If we’re all very concerned about the environment, why hasn’t the city/region looking to improve traffic flow? It seems more often traffic is idling waiting for traffic to move, from stop lights, roundabouts, merging due to construction or lanes ending. Often to avoid traffic you have to go to the outskirts of the city.

    Resident261 asked about 1 year ago

    From the Region of Waterloo:

    Thanks very much for taking the time to comment. We are continually working to manage and improve traffic flow. The Region manages almost 500 traffic signals, which are in place to give the right of way to competing traffic needs at many intersections. At other intersections, we use roundabouts, which reduce traffic delays and improve safety. While road maintenance can delay traffic, it is often necessary to prevent longer, more expensive delays in the future. We provide information on road work and a map to help people avoid delays. On a larger scale, the Regional Transportation Master Plan (RTMP) identifies how we will meet Waterloo Region’s  long and short term transportation needs over the next 25 years, and aims to reduce both traffic delays and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. We welcome additional suggestions to improve traffic flow and decrease GHG emissions from transportation.

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    Under traffic, it’s a fairly large group. What portion of the percentage is from the airport, and aviation

    Resident261 asked about 1 year ago

    From ClimateActionWR:

    Waterloo Region's community greenhouse gas inventory reporting followed the Local Governments for Sustainability’s (ICLEI) International Local Government Emissions Analysis Protocol (IEAP).

    Air travel reporting is optional under this framework, and therefore was excluded from our reporting, as the IEAP indicates that while air travel can be a significant source of emissions, these emissions are hard to capture within one specific geo-political boundary. Additionally, the IEAP indicates that air travel is not reported as part of the national inventories under the UNFCCC guidelines. Finally, the IEAP indicates that airports often serve the needs of a larger region than that of the community completing the emissions inventory.

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    Why are we so slow to recognize what's going on with the climate and how it might affect us?

    Hoping asked about 1 year ago

    From ClimateActionWR: 

    Worldwide we are challenged with conflicting views, opinions, and politics, which interfere with effectively communicating the science behind climate change, its effects, and appropriate actions to take. This can make the spread of information slow, and therefore the rate at which solutions are developed and more importantly, adopted, can be even slower. 

    Here in Waterloo Region, we have been working on community-wide, and community-scale climate action since 2009. Many projects and initiatives have been implemented over that time, and can be discovered on the climateactionwr.ca website in our current Community Climate Action Plan document, and the Progress Report that was released in 2016. Bringing together municipalities, public and private organizations, community groups, and private citizens, to decide on a unified strategy, takes a tremendous amount of effort and time for discussion and decisions to be made, but we are making significant progress as a result of this work.