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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.  

Implementing Decarbonisation

How does SSG help cities evaluate and implement decarbonisation paths?

This year, SSG released an integrated energy, emissions and finance model, CityInSight, designed specifically to support cities in identifying and implementing low carbon or decarbonisation pathways.

As part of our series of webinars on this model, here the fourth in the series here.

Hosted by Yuill Herbert from SSG and Marcus Williams from whatif Technologies, they will describe the design of the model with an update of it’s application.
SSG has partnered with whatIf? Technologies, an international leader in simulation modelling, to increase the sophistication, scope and capabilities of GHGProof in a new model – CityInSight. CityInSight also incorporates the Global GHG Protocol for Cities, a GHG accounting framework launched as the new global standard by the World Resources Institute, ICLEI, C40, UN Habitat and others at the UN Conference of the Parties in Lima in 2014..

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

SSG Summer 2015 review

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

This month we decided to run a review of where SSG is at and what we have learnt over the past six months from the diverse projects we have completed, and ones we have started. Extreme weather planning for farms, to greenhouse gas inventories to Brownfield guidebooks and e-dialogues. The content got a bit long, so we’ve kept it to a few examples, and next month we’ll include more. Please let us know your feedback and thoughts.

[Recently completed]

“Cold what cold. People like to walk in Yellowknife”

Jeremy - Yellowknife 2

First GHG Inventory in Canada to use the GHGProtocol for Cities

This year we completed a GHG Inventory Report for the City of Yellowknife. The project involved developing a ground-up GHG and energy model for the City of Yellowknife based on land-use and other assumptions to develop a business as usual scenario, the first inventory that we know of in Canada to use the GHGProtocol for Cities. The City spent an estimated $140 million in 2014, approximately $19,800 per household. One remarkable fact about Yellowknife is that 13% of all trips are by walking, an exceptionally high mode share for cities of this size. In part at least, this statistic is a function of the City being a compact community.

Read more

Pathway to Paris #12: Two key new entries to the climate discourse

A biweekly climate briefing for municipalities

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In this Issue #12

  • Papal Encyclical

  • China announces climate targets in the lead up to Paris

  • A remarkable court ruling in Holland

  • An unusual statement from the global health community

  • Cities gather in Paris in December

  • Cities as global changemakers

  • Featured network: Divest Invest


Papal Encyclical

The most notable event of 2015 so far with respect to climate action, the Papal Encyclical commanded responses from current and potential political figures, the UN, economists and everyone in between. At seventy-five pages long, the Encyclical states that climate change is one of the principal challenges facing humanity, and that it is a moral issue requiring respectful dialogue with all parts of society. There are many notable quotes, but of these one that caught our attention:

“In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference.” Read more

Halton Hills Council Approves our Local Action Plan

Last year, we started a project in collaboration with Indeco to work with Halton Hills on their local action plan. SSG managed and wrote the Community Energy Plan, Indeco the Corporate Energy Plan. Using GHGProof, we examined community wide energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from transportation and land use. Here is the recent release issued by the Council: Read more

North Cowichan and SSG win 2013 Climate & Energy Action Award

The Municipality of North Cowichan was awarded the Community Energy Association’s Community Planning and Development Award at this week’s UBCM conference. Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) performed North Cowichan’s unique and innovative Climate Action and Energy Plan, launched earlier this year. The plan, with funding support from BC Hydro, inventoried the community’s existing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and identified future trends in energy and GHG emissions based on population, land use, technology and other factors. Read more

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