Our Municipality is under a Climate Emergency. In September 2019, Municipal Council declared a climate emergency on October 22, 2019. By the declaration, we are committed to act on climate change by joining the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program, which mandates the creation of a Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP).
We need your input! In order to create a LCCAP, the MODL needs to hear from our residents. You can get involved by joining our EngageMODL website (https://engage.modl.ca/) to get the latest news on progress towards the LCCAP, as well as participate in surveys and share your thoughts on the online forum. Municipality has also created a new Sustainability Committee, which is looking for members. The role of Sustainability Committee is to provide advice on creating the LCCAP document, as well as to bring residents ideas to Council.
Climate Change in the Municipality
The effects of climate change vary depending on how quickly and by how much we reduce our current emissions. Although the scale of impacts may vary, it is widely agreed that the future climate of MODL will be warmer, have more frequent extreme weather events, and will receive precipitation in less frequent but larger occurrences. For example, changes to the municipal climate may include:
• An increase in hot days (days with a temperature 30ᵒC or higher) from 3.6 to 10.7 per year.
• The hurricane season is expected to grow in length and more powerful hurricanes are predicted due to warmer and higher oceans.
• Precipitation will increase slightly but will evaporate faster due to higher temperatures. Similarly, rain may fall less frequently which could lead to drought conditions.
• Forest fires may become more frequent as the conditions necessary for the fires (dryness and lightening strikes from large storms) become more frequent.
• Coastal flooding is more likely to occur with rising sea levels bringing higher storm surges. Similarly, more powerful storms of rainfall events can lead to inland flooding.
A good resource is the Canada Climate Atlas which allows users to look at potential climate change effects by area. Follow the link to see predictions for MODL. https://climateatlas.ca/
Local Climate Change Action Plan
MODL is currently developing our Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) as part of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) Program. The new LCCAP is the 3rd action plan of the Municipality created to mitigate climate change. The previous climate change action plans are:
The PCP program was created in 1994 to guide municipalities through a 5-milestone framework to reduce their GHG emissions and the impacts of climate change. PCP Program is managed and delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), which currently has over 350 members. The five milestones are:
1. Create a baseline emissions inventory and forecast
2. Set emissions reduction targets
3. Develop a local action plan
4. Implement the local action plan
5. Monitor progress and report results
We have finished our Corporate and Community GHG inventory (https://engage.modl.ca/local-climate-change-action-plan) and are now working to set a target for both Corporate and Community GHG emissions reductions. More information on the PCP program can be found at https://fcm.ca/en/programs/partners-climate-protection.
Frequently Asked Questions & Important Links
This is a direct reference from the Government of Canada website.
What is climate change? Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns measured by changes in temperature, precipitation, wind, snow cover, and other indicators. Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions, such as annual precipitation, as well as changes in variability, including for example extreme conditions or weather events.
What is the difference between climate and weather? Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and its short-term variation in minutes to weeks. For example, we may say “it is hot today” or “will it rain tomorrow?” when referring to the weather. Climate is the weather of a location averaged over a period of time, often 30 years. When we talk about climate, we are referring to what you might expect in a given place and time. For example, winters in Nova Scotia are cold, summers in Florida are hot. While not every day in winter is necessarily cold, the general trend we expect is that the average day in winter will feature low temperatures.
What is causing climate change? Changes in climate can be caused by natural events and processes and by human influences. However, since the Industrial Revolution, climate change due to human influences has increased significantly. Key human influences include increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and alterations in land use. These influences both affect the amount of heat energy escaping to space, and change the amount of sunlight reflected to space. The overall effect of these activities since the Industrial Revolution has been a warming effect which in turn alters the climate. The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the primary cause for concern about climate change over the coming century.
The burning of fossil fuels – primarily coal, oil, and natural gas – currently accounts for between 70-90 % of all human emissions of carbon dioxide, which is a major greenhouse gas. Fossil fuels are used for transportation, manufacturing, heating, cooling, electricity generation, and other applications. The remainder of the carbon dioxide emissions comes from human land use activities such as ranching, agriculture, and the clearing and degradation of forests. Other primary sources of greenhouse gases include the production and transport of fossil fuels, agricultural activities, waste management, and industrial processes.
Can it not be other causes? Key natural factors that can influence climate change include changes in the intensity of sunlight reaching the earth and in the concentration of volcanic dust in the atmosphere. Both of these factors alter the amount of sunlight that is absorbed by the earth's climate system. However, these changes operate on scales of centuries not decades and therefore cannot be responsible for the rapid changes we are experiencing. Similarly, the influence of solar irradiance changes and volcanic eruptions since the Industrial Revolution has been very small and us unlikely to have contributed significantly to any changes in climate.
What are greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)? Greenhouse gases refer to gases in the atmosphere that absorb heat radiated from earth. Together, greenhouse gases act like a blanket reducing heat loss, similar to the way the glass of a greenhouse warms the air inside the greenhouse. This greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that creates warmer conditions on Earth and makes life, as we know it, possible. Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have grown significantly since pre-industrial times largely because of the burning of fossil fuels and permanent forest loss. The rise in greenhouse gas concentrations is amplifying the natural greenhouse effect and warming the planet, affecting wind patterns, precipitation, and storm events, leading to climate change.
• Canada, E. (2020). Frequently Asked Questions About Climate Change. Government of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/frequently-asked-questions.html [Accessed 24 August 2020].
• MODL declares climate emergency: https://www.modl.ca/news-release-the-municipality-of-the-district-of-lunenburg-declares-climate-emergency-joins-national-climate-protection-program.html
• United Nations, facts about climate change: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/climate-change/facts-about-climate-emergency
• BBC News, climate change explained: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772
• Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Learn about the PCP program: https://fcm.ca/en/resources/mcip/video-series-climate-in-focus