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Martin Laplante

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Wed, 13 Dec 2006

Environment Hamilton Response to Climate Change

The non-profit organization Environment Hamilton released on Monday a ten-point plan of low-cost actions that the new city council can undertake to address climate change.

The EH response to climate change report is a brief set of 10 suggestions, with relatively little quantification of the expected effects, but both GHG and smog reductions are mentioned in the document.

Among the recommendations are

  • Free public transit on all smog days.
  • High occupancy vehicle lanes on at least two major east-west corridors
  • An anti-idling bylaw
  • A moratorium and phase out of commercial drive-thru operations.
  • A bylaw banning or restricting the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers and weed whackers.
  • Double the urban tree canopy by 2025.
  • An after-hours lights-out program for city facilities and offices and encourage private businesses to do the same.
The end of drive-thrus is interesting and controversial. Other cities, including Ottawa, have done it. The reasoning for it is not necessarily the GHG emissions resulting from the idling, but rather the fact that the design is auto-centred and makes a pedestrian-centred commercial street very difficult to achieve. Banning them gets people out of their cars both literally and figuratively.

The ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers and weed whackers is also interesting. These are major contributors to smog, both when they are in use and when they are being fuelled. I would add lawn mowers to the list. The hydrocarbons released into the air on hot days are a major source of smog.

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