Municipalities are proven climate action leaders. Local solutions to a global challenge are necessary for our health, communities and economic prosperity.

This year is on track to be the warmest ever in recorded history. Ontarians can be excused if they didn’t notice it. With our winter that never seemed to end, our spring that never really seemed to start and an overall cool summer it didn’t seem like one of the warmest years on record. But the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it is likely that 2015 will beat 2014 as the warmest on record globally. As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on why.

The reason NOAA gives for this warming trend is one you’ve heard before: a changing climate and warmer average global temperature. I don’t have to tell municipal leaders that our weather is becoming more severe and the patterns we see are changing. You see it every day in roads that have washed out and need repair, overwhelmed storm sewers, low water levels and unpredictable ice pad and pool seasons.

Ontario municipal governments have made dealing with climate change our business for decades. We have worked to plan more integrated and safer communities, separated legacy combined sewers, provided transit and active transportation systems, invested in energy efficiency and promoted waste diversion. These actions form the basis of the AMO Climate Change recommendations earlier this autumn.

With the Ontario government’s commitment to develop a Climate Change Strategy that reduces emissions and makes our economy more resilient, Ontario’s municipalities will need to engage in more innovative actions and services for our communities to meet climate goals. Municipalities are proven leaders in climate action. AMO is committing to make this a priority in the years to come and to work to help ensure municipal governments have the tools to do the job.

Stay tuned for more as we develop this approach and think about how your community can contribute to our common goals.

Gary McNamara
AMO President
Mayor, Town of Tecumseh