Town of Amherst declares climate emergency

Amherst town council has declared a climate emergency.

The resolution proclaiming the emergency was passed during council’s June 24 meeting.

In passing the resolution, the council noted the town has identified environmental stewardship, including adaptation, mitigation and sustainability, as one of the key pillars of its strategic plan. They also acknowledge the importance of incorporating climate-change implications into the town’s long-term strategic planning and budgeting.

The council further noticed they have taken steps towards making Amherst a greener community by participating in the Nova Scotia government’s Solar for Communities Pilot Project, which will see the installation of solar panels on the Amherst stadium roof that will create 75 kilowatts of solar energy.

In addition, the town is currently partnering with Nova Scotia Power on the Smart Meter Pilot Project and has a strong Active Transportation Plan.

As part of the declaration of a climate emergency, the council directed town staff to develop a report outlining:

  • Steps the Town of Amherst can take to reduce its carbon footprint in order to meet the IPCC target of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as described in the 2018 IPCC report
  • Steps the town can take to support businesses and residents of the Town of Amherst to further reduce or eliminate the community’s carbon footprint
  • Related budgetary implications.

Council believes declaring the climate emergency will ensure that minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and the threat of sea level rise are always at the top of council’s mind when making decisions.

The resolution, which was drafted with the assistance of the Amherst Youth Town Council, reads:

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst is working to meet all provincial targets in terms of renewable energy, and as such is a leader amongst town governments in Nova Scotia; and,

WHEREAS we – along with all residents of Earth – are faced with a climate emergency, as recently recognized by a variety of municipalities across Canada; and,

WHEREAS the IPCC has issued a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above the preindustrial levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions; and,

WHEREAS foreseeable and preventable climate-change related outcomes are of grave importance to the Town of Amherst; and,

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst will be ensuring that minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and the threat of sea level rise are top of mind in council decision making and climate change mitigation and adaption issues will be important criteria in project prioritization; and,

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst has and is continuing to invest in major capital projects and is presented with opportunities to institute climate neutral building and long-term management practices; and,

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst has recently entered a contract with the Nova Scotia Government’s Solar for Community Buildings Pilot Program which will see the installation of 75 kW of solar on the roof of the stadium and is currently partnering with Nova Scotia Power on the Smart Meter Pilot Project; and,

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst has identified environmental stewardship, including adaption, mitigation and sustainability as a key pillar of its strategic plan, which is an acknowledgment of the importance of incorporating climate-change implications into the Town’s long-term strategic planning and budgeting; and,

WHEREAS the Town of Amherst is uniquely equipped to act as a role model and change maker for other Canadian communities; and,

WHEREAS in the Town of Amherst has a strong Active Transportation Plan and currently is expanding the infrastructure;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Amherst town council declare that we are in a state of climate emergency.