Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 12:30 PM

Understanding Climate Change

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Climate change continues to be the biggest challenge of our generation. While we are still grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19, it is important we continue to identify and address the impacts of climate change to ensure a long-term recovery, a successful energy transition, and the resilience of our community.
But, What is Climate Change?
Climate is the average weather in a location over a long period of time. 

Climate change is the persistent change to this average climate in the same location. Climate has changed on all time scales throughout the earth’s history. Some things about the current change are not unusual, however, many observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. 
The current climate change is mostly known from the effect it has had in warming the earth. This effect is primarily driven by changes in greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases happen naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. They help the earth stay warm by trapping heat from the sun, allowing things to grow. However, since the Industrial Revolution, human activity increased greenhouse gases beyond concentrations humans have ever seen. This comes from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, natural gas, and changes in the environment (like unsustainable removal of trees, wetlands, and other matter that naturally remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere).
Since the early 1900s earth’s temperature has risen about 1 degree and is continuing to warm. Impacts from current changes in climate are expected to worsen as more greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere.  


We are developing a “Resilient St. John’s Plan”, focused on addressing the transition to low-carbon energy and impacts from climate change.  The plan will support the community to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), stabilize energy costs to residents by supporting energy efficiency, and preparing the City to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the impacts from climate change.

To date, the City has:

  • Joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) and completed Milestone 1 of 4
  • Declared a Climate Emergency, directing staff to develop and implement the framework to plan for climate change - November 4, 2019 
  • Joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy Canada Chapter
  • Completed the exercise of analyzing all energy consumed in our Community and the greenhouse gas emissions from these activities.
  • Completed a review of possible hazards that climate change will present to our community
  • Established an Expert Panel to ongoingly advice City Council on matters of Sustainability and the Environment.
  • Established a Community Multi-Stakeholder Team which will be actively engaged in the development of the plan
  • Developed and initiated a communications and public engagement campaign that will directly inform the plan.
  • Initiated the scoping of an economic analysis to inform the plan’s implementation climate action to realize their economic benefit in our community.
  • Completed a variety of funding applications for “momentum” initiatives to reduce long-term greenhouse gas emissions from our City’s transportation and recreation programs.

What can I do?
Stay informed. Action on climate change will take a community effort. By reducing your use of fossil fuels – using energy wisely, eating and buying local, and supporting your city as it works towards being more resilient – you are doing your part.
Share your vision for the Resilient St. John's of the future.

Join the conversation. Use the mapping tool to share your experience with climate hazards and how you have seen changes happening in our community, participate in the quick polls and tell us  what you need to know more about to fully participate in public engagement related to this topic.