Energy and carbon reduction key topics of 2023 Niagara Climate Change Summit

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On Oct. 25, Niagara Region partnered with Brock University, Niagara College and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to host the 2023 Niagara Climate Change Summit. Event participants included energy leaders, municipalities, organizations, environmental groups and businesses in Niagara.

The Summit focused on energy resilience and advancing carbon reduction efforts to inspire and encourage climate action. This was achieved by creating a collective understanding of the key role energy plays in slowing down climate change impacts.

“I am proud to have been a part of the 2023 Niagara Climate Change Summit. The innovative ideas shared and learned experience of others will be critical to the development of a new Community Energy Plan for Niagara. This plan will help Niagara Region move towards building a more sustainable and prosperous future by exploring available provincial funding and other funding streams to meet our goals. This is yet another example of how we are growing better together to set Niagara on a path to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and prepare for a changing climate.”

Jim Bradley, Regional Chair, Niagara Region

During the Summit, participants were given a summary of some clean energy initiatives currently taking place in Ontario, and how leaders and organizations are working together to support climate action. Speakers also shared valuable insights, expertise and experiences related to the creation of a Community Energy Plan.

Information taken from the Summit will be transformed into a Niagara Region Community Energy Plan; thus, working towards a greener and more resilient future. Community Energy Plans are created by a local community to manage its energy use and transition towards more sustainable and efficient energy sources. It typically outlines goals, targets, and actions for reducing energy consumption; increasing the use of renewable energy; and minimizing environmental impacts within the community.

“Climate change continues to be top of mind and is evident in the extreme weather-related events we continue to see unfold across the globe. The focus of this year’s Niagara Climate Change Summit on community energy planning directly aligns with the work we’ve taken on at Brock through retrofits to increase the energy efficiency of our district energy system over the past decade. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with community partners through the Niagara Climate Change Action Network to bolster the climate resiliency of the Niagara region and beyond.”

Lesley Rigg, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University

A Community Energy Plan can also include initiatives such as energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy projects, transportation strategies, and public outreach efforts to engage residents and interested parties in the process.

“The Niagara Community Energy Plan is an exciting opportunity for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to exemplify our corporate commitment to climate action and net zero goals through our own operations. Through strong multi-jurisdictional community connections, technical expertise, and demonstrated success in nature-based solutions, we will have an integral role in accelerating transformative outcomes to support this initiative. We congratulate the Niagara Region and the Niagara Climate Change Action Network on committing to this important endeavour.”

Rob Foster, Board Chair, NPCA

Since last year’s Summit, past participants formed a new Niagara Climate Change Action Network. The Action Network is a collaborative, community-based group focused on creating a pathway to becoming net zero in Niagara as well as building climate resilient infrastructure and biodiversity. The Action Network will play an important role in shaping Niagara’s Community Energy Plan. 

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