Hamilton climate change
In the wake of another extreme rainstorm last week, the city has proclaimed October as “climate change action month in Hamilton” and is reporting that greenhouse gas emissions from city facilities declined in each of the last two years. A media release on Friday highlighted a half dozen activities this month including a protest garlic planting on aerotropolis lands taking place on October 10 as part of the world day of climate action.
The planting focuses on the combined threat to Hamilton’s food security from loss of local farmlands and global weather disasters. This year’s heat wave in Russia and the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, along with flooding is Saskatchewan and China and continuing drought in Australia, have pushed up world wheat prices by 70 percent.
The Hamilton 350 Committee wants residents to plant garlic in their home gardens on Thanksgiving Sunday and ride a ‘garlic bus’ to the airport area to sow garlic cloves on lands expected to be added to the city’s urban boundary at city council’s last meeting before the elections.
The city media release says Hamilton is “a leader in reducing the impact of climate change” both because of the level of engagement of its residents and the results being achieved in lowering city government emissions by 2 percent in 2008 and 4.5 percent last year.
“Hamilton is seen as a leader in the use of advanced fleet technology that reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change,” says the release. ”It has the second-largest fleet of hybrid and other clean and efficient vehicles in Ontario and actively promotes new fleet technology.”
The city is seeking public feedback on its first greenhouse gas inventory issued last fall, and says it will hold a “climate change summit” early next year. Hamilton appears to have been particularly hard hit by extreme rainstorms with 15 in the last five years severe enough to trigger flooding of homes.
Last Tuesday’s storm appears to have exceeded the once-in-25-years criteria, making it the seventh to do so since the summer of 2005 that have included at least two one-in-a-hundred year events. Dozens of homes experienced flooding which also closed numerous roads, although it’s unclear if the Red Hill Parkway was one of them.
The Hamilton Spectator reported on-line early in the day that “north end ramps are closed along the Red Hill Parkway as water levels are rising” and that witnesses were reporting two-metre-deep accumulations. However the city subsequently denied the road was closed and the newspaper didn’t mention it in its printed story on Wednesday. The expressway was shut twice in July because of flooding caused by heavy rain.
The city release includes praise from Mayor Eisenberger for Hamilton’s “level of engagement”, and says it shows “what can be done”.
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