Background

In October of 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report emphasizing the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5°C to avoid catastrophic impacts on human health and well-being, sea levels, and ecosystems. The report stated that to achieve this goal, “Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.”[1]

Climate change mitigation is all about reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause the greenhouse effect. For climate change mitigation action to succeed in Guelph, the community and the municipality must both take responsibility for moving the CEI forward in partnership.

Guelph blazed a trail in 2007 with the first-of-its-kind Community Energy Plan (later the CEI).  We updated the CEI in 2018 and, after consulting extensively with the citizens of Guelph, proposed an ambitious new target - to become a Net Zero Carbon community by 2050. We also named next steps to move toward the target. Now that Guelph City Council has accepted that target, our next step is to present a pathway to get from where we are today, to where we want to be in 2050. That’s the purpose of this document.

We’ll start with an overview of the pathway to net zero, some commentary on the actions that make up that pathway, an update on what we’ve accomplished over the past year, and next steps.

Previous page: Executive summary

Next page: The pathway to net zero carbon

[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2018, October 8). Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments. Retrieved February 24, 2019, from https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/

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