Low carbon city.

SSG partners with CDP to support the transition to low carbon cities

SSG has partnered with CDP to support European cities in reporting on GHG emissions and climate risk. Both SSG and CDP recognise the critical role of cities in advancing a low carbon future.  

CDP has worked with over 300 cities globally to manage over 1.67 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. CDP’s cities program demonstrates that cities are better managing their risk and increasing resiliency through more than 4,800 activities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“CDP has had a pivotal role in advancing climate action, firstly amongst corporations and now with cities. CDP’s work compliments SSG’s efforts to identify and implement low carbon pathways, using the lens of city planning”, says SSG Director Yuill Herbert.

SSG has fifteen years of experience working with cities, including undertaking GHG inventories using the GHG Protocol for Cities, performing emissions projections, and assessing emissions reductions strategies that consider financing, economic development, and quality of life. In Paris at COP21, SSG launched a new energy, emissions and finance model, CityInSight, designed to help cities evaluate and implement decarbonisation paths.

“SSG develops and implements comprehensive sustainability solutions for cities focused on climate action,” says Conor Riffle, Cities Director at CDP. “We are excited to welcome SSG on board as the first CDP cities consultancy partner for Europe and are confident they will continue to provide high quality services to cities responding to CDP.”

CDP offers a voluntary climate change reporting platform for city governments. The Cities program provides the world’s first global platform for municipal governments to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, climate change risks, and mitigation and adaptation strategies.  CDP collects and delivers materially relevant data for cities, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

International Co-operative Alliance & SSG Present: Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook, prepared by SSG for the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), explores the different types of reporting frameworks used by co-ops globally, the process of developing a chosen framework and how a co-op can then communicate results to members and interested stakeholders.

The Guidebook also provides guidance on how co-operatives can track their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read more about the report on ICA’s website, or you can download the report directly.

Paddling along Toronto's Waterfront

SSG engaged to set direction on Toronto’s low carbon future.

The City of Toronto has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Reaching this goal will require major changes in the way that residents live, travel, work and consume goods and services.

TransformTO is a project that will engage Toronto residents and businesses in imagining the transformative changes needed to reach the goal, while at the same time improving public health, enhancing the local economy, and reducing social inequalities.

TransformTO cited SSG’s energy, emissions and climate change modelling expertise in engaging SSG to model scenarios that achieve the 80% target. SSG has partnered with whatIf Technologies and ARUP on this project. The team will assess a host of different emissions reduction strategies and actions that may be used to pursue the target, including new renewable energy production possibilities, energy efficiency programs, public transit options, bicycling infrastructure, neighbourhood development patterns, and solid and liquid waste diversion and treatment options.

SSG and partner whatIf Technologies will apply their cutting edge energy, emissions and finances model, CityInSight, to the task. The modelling process and outputs will contribute to establishing a decision-making framework for the City to use in identifying the best path to a low carbon future. The project will result in suggestions for key starting points and priority actions, summarized in two reports:

  • A short-term strategy (2017-2020) outlining the actions that will allow Toronto to meet its 30% emissions reduction by 2020 target through policy and programming.
  • A long-term (2020-2050) approach that will identify how to meet the 80% emissions reduction by 2050 target while generating a healthier, more prosperous, and equitable city.

SSG is excited to be working with Canada’s largest city on a project that will lead to amazing positive change, and one that will hopefully be a herald to other city sustainability planning projects.

SSG is helping towns and cities across Canada develop and implement strategies to address climate change. SSG has been actively involved in UN climate change negotiations with a particular focus on the role of cities, including most recently in Paris.  

Communiqué of Canada’s First Ministers

From the Prime Minister’s Web Site (http://pm.gc.ca/)

Canada’s First Ministers today issued a joint communiqué following the First Ministers’ Meeting and released a declaration on clean growth and climate change:

“In the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, we met today to discuss the economy and actions to address climate change and agreed on immediate work to support growth and create new jobs.

“Building on commitments and actions already taken by provinces and territories and the momentum from COP21 in Paris, we are moving toward a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change that will meet or exceed Canada’s international emissions targets, and will transition our country to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy – while also improving our quality of life.

“We know that a fair transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy is necessary for our collective prosperity, competitiveness, health, and security. Taking smart and effective action today is essential for future generations. These decisions will put Canada at the forefront of the global clean growth economy, and will create opportunities to diversify our economies, open up access to new markets, reduce emissions, and generate good paying, long-term jobs for Canadians. Read more

SSG February Newswire

Our monthly newsletter on news and inspiration at the nexus of sustainability

[Recently completed]

FCM Guidebook for Brownfield Strategies makes top 5 resource for municipalities

The Brownfields Strategy Guidebook has been selected by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as one of their top five resources for municipalities in 2016. The guidebook is to inspire municipalities with plans to revive abandoned and contaminated spaces in their communities, with sustainability at it’s heart. These resources are designed to help municipalities learn and share from one another. Read more here.

Can you plan for good healthy communities?

SSG assembled a set of land use scenarios and their potential health outcomes as part of the District of Squamish’s Learning Lab – Exploring Health Tools for OCP Review Project. The purpose was to explore the potential impacts of different land use decisions on community health in the District using SSG’s new ModelHealth tool. Read more

A carbon budget for Canada

A collaborative framework for federal and provincial climate leadership

Last month,  we recommended the analysis of carbon budgets coming out of Simon Fraser University. West Coast Environmental Law practice, an organisation we equally admire and support, also bring their analyses to the table. Again, with the carbon budget for Canada, they propose ideas on how to deliver it, looking at the responsibilities of the Federal and provincial governments, their communications, the legal and financial requirements to ensure targets are met. Looking at conditions for best practices in other countries like the UK, the new government is at a ripe time to show leadership and gutsy policies.

We’re recruiting!

SSG is looking for two inspiring additions to our team as we expand and require additional support.

  1. Finance Coordinator and Administrator: 3 days a week* to start on Thursday 10th March 2016
  2. Communications Specialist: 5 days a month to start Monday 14th March 2016

*Candidates in Ottawa interested in a full-time position should specify this in their covering letter. One of SSG’s partners La Siembra is hiring a part-time bookkeeper as well and opportunities exist to build full-time hours between the two organisations: http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/careers

The deadline for applications is 26th February 2016 midnight in Eastern Time.

Please contact rebecca@ssg.coop if you have any queries.

As a workers cooperative, we believe it is the most equitable, accountable and active business model that enables cultural change from within. Our members’ expertise crosses disciplines, cultures and generations to create a different working experience that makes essential sustainability impacts possible.

Wrap up of Paris, COP21

Friend of SSG, Kevin Anderson at the Tyndall Centre, provides this neat synopsis of the Paris Climate Agreement in an article for Nature Magazine. Impressed and staggered as we all were by the ease of international diplomacy to deliver an ambitious agreement, he shines light on the enormous assumption this is all based on. That to achieve 1.5C in the long term, and thus draw in carbon from the air, will require vast negative-emissions technologies, one being BECCS programs (biomass energy carbon capture and storage),

“The scale of the assumption is breathtaking. It would be the equivalent of decades of planting and harvesting of energy crops over an area of one to three times that of India.”

A sobering read on the political and economic ideologies we have in place that have muscled out what could be an opportunity for zero carbon solutions to get us to 2C.

Another piece from the Wupper Institute in Germany, Phoenix from the Ashes,  published in January agrees with the lack of a legally binding agreement. 

A facetious detail perhaps, but the writer also notes how the purpose of the committee has shifted, which was ‘to avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change’, to now acknowledging that ‘all global warming is dangerous’ … so how their role changes, is not clear. In his experience, this multinational agreement will be partly based on what and where in their journey national policies got to in terms of their capabilities and ambitions for reductions.

“The  question  is  therefore  not  whether  the  Paris Agreement will deliver the emission reductions necessary, but whether the agreement has the potential to catalyse further changes, whether it becomes a pacemaker for policy processes at  the international  level and in the  capitals  of  the world.  From  this  perspective,  the  Paris Agreement is much stronger than many had expected.”

1. It received support from developing countries for including adaptation

2. Using reputational risk as the prime motivator for reporting every five years from 2018

3. Using a transparency framework (yet to be disclosed as to what this would be) for reporting

4. Loss and Damage was included without the financial implications for developed countries in having to compensate developing countries for past emissions

5. Scaling up climate finance is weak, by keeping the same pledge as was made in Copenhagen over a decade ago, “the  goal  of mobilising  an  annual USD 100  billion  of  North-South  financial  flows  in  2020  and  beyond.” However, with a new collective target to be agreed in 2025, this figure is now seen as the ‘floor’, rather than ceiling of the financial obligations. 

FCM Guidebook for Brownfield Strategies makes top 5 resource for municipalities

The Brownfields Strategy Guidebook has been selected by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as one of their top five resources for municipalities in 2016.
 
SSG contributed to the Guidebook which provides guidance on how to design and implement an effective brownfield strategy. It is part of a series of guidebooks produced for the Green Municipal Fund’s Leadership program (LiBRe), which is structured around a best practices framework for becoming a municipal leader in brownfield renewal. The program supports participants’ progress through seven key steps to becoming a brownfield champion municipality. This guidebook provides an outline of different types of brownfield strategies and what they typically include, outlines best practices for successful brownfield strategy development, and offers guidance on selecting the right brownfield incentives for your municipality.
 
To read more and download the guide, visit the FCM website.

Pathway To Paris #20: It’s cloudy in Paris… notes from the COP21

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In this Issue #20

  • SSG digest from the frontline
  • An energy transformation
  • Carbon pricing everywhere
  • Divestment of risky assets
  • Ratcheting up the ambition
  • Coming to a city near you
  • Two degrees too many
  • To be legal or not to be?

SSG digest from the frontline

On Monday, 150 heads of states established an ambitious and hopeful tone for the negotiations. For a sense of the venue and the mood check out this short video from the UNFCCC.

The negotiations are heating up after little progress by diplomats so far. You can feel the energy levels increasing and the talk becoming more urgent and impassioned at the bargaining table: “We are not making anywhere near the progress we need to be making at this point”, said US official Daniel Reifsnyder, one of the two co-chairmen of the negotiations. Read more