Fredericton / News / City stories

The City of Fredericton's Energy and Emissions Plans

The City of Fredericton has been working to address climate change as one of its key priorities for the past 20 years. In that time, we’ve reduced the city’s per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33% through initiatives such as Fredericton’s Green Matters campaign and our Active Transportation Plan, along with community use of more energy efficient appliances and vehicles. It’s a solid start — but only a start. That’s why the City is proud to introduce our new Community Energy and Emissions Plan and Corporate Energy and Emissions Plan.

Crucial goals for the community

Scientists have determined that to substantially reduce the impacts of climate change, global temperatures must not increase by more than 1.5°C and that GHG emissions must be reduced drastically in order to limit that rise in temperature. Municipalities all over the world have declared a climate emergency and are working to reduce the community’s per capita GHG emissions by at least 80% below 2000 levels by 2050. Without action from the City and community, Fredericton’s GHG emissions are projected to increase by 741,000 tonnes by 2050.

Our community has already seen the impacts of climate change in recent years – including an increase in the number of heat waves, extreme weather events and changes in precipitation patterns. Left unchecked, a changing climate means a greater likelihood of wildfire, flooding and wind events that could lead to service disruptions, damage to private and public property, public emergencies and evacuations, and devastating impacts for agriculture and wildlife.

How we move forward

Achieving the 80% target will require more stringent building energy codes, the continued greening of New Brunswick’s energy system and the rapid adoption of less GHG intense forms of transportation. Our energy and emissions plans outline actions that the City will take in the coming years and will inform our decision making going forward.

Realizing deep reductions in GHG emissions will require strong leadership and collaborative action by the City, senior levels of the provincial and federal government, and local businesses and organizations, as well as lifestyle changes by all residents of Fredericton. The proposed strategies and actions for the next 10 years encompass a wide range of approaches, including educational campaigns, increased regulations and standards over time, and new and existing sources of potential funding.

Specific strategies have been identified for the implementation of the first phase of the Community Energy and Emissions Plan and Corporate Energy Plan; they include establishing a green team within the organization; providing appropriate training to City staff; working with industry and government partners to encourage commercial building owners to track energy consumption; begin regional discussions; work to identify barriers; developing outreach based initiatives; and, developing climate action performance measures that will be integrated into the City’s annual budget. An overarching implementation plan is the priority for 2021.

Engagement Process

The plans were designed through a combination of staff engagement, a best-in-class review of other municipalities and input from subject matter experts. Both plans are designed so that as we implement them, they can be adapted to address new and changing opportunities, and to monitor and improve the steps taken, as necessary.

Investing in our future

Some of these efforts involve upfront costs, but they are investments in the future. Public Safety Canada estimates that every dollar invested in GHG mitigation will save $3 to $5 in recovery costs. The Corporate Energy and Emissions Plan, for example, will lead to a cumulative savings in energy costs of $67 million between now and 2050. And according to a Nova Scotia study, every dollar saved on energy in the community can generate $2-$5 in local economic investment.

The plans also ensure that these efforts will consider our most vulnerable citizens. They are focused on finding ways to support individuals and organizations to help them decrease their energy usage, allowing them to save money in the long-term and live more affordably.

In the short term, these efforts will contribute to cleaner air and a more livable city. In the medium and long-term, it decreases our risk of climate-related disasters and associated recovery costs. But this is a crucial issue and time is running out. That’s why Fredericton is acting now.