March 13, 2019 11:59 pm

Now that Kingston has declared a climate emergency, what does it mean?

Last tuesday Kingston City Council unanimously passed a motion to declare a climate emergency.

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Last week Kingston made history by becoming the first municipality in Ontario to declare a climate emergency.

But what does that mean for residents of the Limestone City?

For one, it means “looking at different things we can do here as a city to continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kingston mayor Bryan Paterson. 

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READ MORE: Kingston first Ontario municipality to declare climate emergency

But despite the recent declaration, the city has already started doing its part to tackle climate change — adding electric vehicles to its fleet, generating renewable energy through solar panels, and even heating homes with sewer gas. But that’s not all.

“We’ve been investing heavily in [the] retrofitting of existing municipal buildings and building new buildings to high green standards like LEED and net zero,” said City of Kingston Environmental Director Paul MacLatchy.

READ MORE: Vancouver City Council votes to declare ‘climate emergency’

While city staff and politicians look into other initiatives to reduce Kingston’s carbon footprint, they’re also hoping that the climate emergency will inspire Kingstonians to do their part too — whether by following the city’s lead in their own homes or contributing financially.

“[Council] is talking about establishing a climate fund that individuals and businesses can contribute to,” Paterson said. “Which would allow us to be able to do even more locally.”  

In the immediate future, exactly what will come of the climate emergency declaration will become more clear during strategic planning sessions later this month.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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