Hamilton Climate Change Impact Adaptation

Local Impacts of a changing climate

Climate Change is already affecting the City of Hamilton. Over the past 10 years we have seen increased flooding, more extreme weather events – ice storms, freezing rain, high winds, warmer winters and hotter summers with more heat waves and hot days and nights.

Given the amount of greenhouse gases already emitted to the atmosphere by local and global sources (transportation, industry, buildings, energy consumption – heating and cooling, waste and agriculture), impacts will continue in the near future and even increase for decades or centuries to come. It’s important for all of us to be prepared for likely climate changes and weather impacts in our City now and in the future so our families, neighbourhoods, communities, public services and local businesses can be as resilient as possible.

Resiliency requires thinking and actions that will address impacts to our social, structural and natural infrastructure.

A report conducted for the City by ICLEI Canada: The Science of Climate Change discusses the predicted climate change impacts for Hamilton, Ontario. To download the report click here.

Please read and think what these impacts mean for you, your household or organization and the community.

What can Hamilton expect, without immediate climate action?

  • An annual Increase in temperatures of approximately 1.5°C in the 2020s, 3.0°C in the 2050s, and 4.8°C in the 2080s
  • Changes in precipitation with annual precipitation days of 118 increasing to 126 days in the 2020s, 132 days in the 2050s, and 137 days in the 2080s
  • Intensity, duration, and frequency of extreme weather events, such as heavy rain events, ice storms, and windstorms, are expected to increase over the next century.
  • An increase in the frequency of heat days (>30°C) and warm nights of 20 days in the 2020s, 33 days in the 2050s, and 48 days in the 2080s.

What has Hamilton experienced?

  • Increasing temperatures in the spring and summers leading to the introduction of heat warnings in Hamilton beginning in 2008;
  • Annual average mean temperature in Hamilton has increased by 0.9°C since 1970;
  • Total annual precipitation in Hamilton increased 26mm; this equates to approximately 3% increase in annual average precipitation since 1970;
  • Increasing extreme precipitation events leading to flooding of the community since 2004 in areas across Hamilton including the 2009 Red Hill Valley Parkway flooding and the 2012 rainstorm.
  • Ice storms and freezing rain leading to power outages, damage to trees, downed powerlines, difficulties in shipping products in 2013;
  • Wind damage seen in 2014 with wind gusts hit close to 100 km/h and a tornado sighting in 2008 resulting in tree damage, power outages and damage to buildings and windows including debris
  • Hot and dry to drought conditions in 2016 leading to water bans, open air burning bans and calls for tree watering by citizens;
  • Land erosion and flooding in 2017 impacting lakeside recreational trails, park facilities, roads, and piers

How are we planning to adapt?

The Hamilton Community Climate Change Action Plan [link] identified the need for both reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change and the need to adapt to the changes and lower the risk of impacts of a changing climate.

The City of Hamilton began engaging in the climate change impact adaptation planning process through the ICLEI Canada Building Adaptive and Resilient Cities program looking at impacts on the services that the City provides to residents and operations that keep the City functioning during extreme weather events.   Concerning gaps were identified around impacts for and in the broader Hamilton community that the City either would not experience directly in its operations or had no authority to manage in the community (e.g. increase insurance, damage of personal property, agricultural impacts).

It is clear that in order for adaptation to be effective , and  successful in Hamilton, it will need the engagement, communication, understanding and supporting partnerships of  the Hamilton community at the social, organizational, local economic, academic, and personal level.

Workshops and meetings to gain community insight and feedback in the adaptation planning process began in 2017 and continue as an on-going effort. Major concerns identified so far by the community include extreme heat, flooding, extreme weather events causing property damage and economic impacts, mental health impacts, and financial impacts relating to increases in utilities and food prices.

Current Initiatives

Community Climate Change Impact Adaptation Planning will be ongoing. Currently, we are working to better understand the risks and vulnerabilities that different Hamilton communities will experience as a result of climate change impacts by engaging with those communities. This information and exchange of ideas will be used to inform adaptation plans and actions at the organizational, community and the household level to increase resiliency in the Hamilton community.

How can I be involved and take action?

Contact us at 905-546-2424 ext. 5288 or climatechange@hamilton.ca to learn more about how to be involved in the community climate change adaptation planning process.

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Hamilton’s Community Climate Change Action Plan

The Hamilton Community Climate Change Action Plan is now available for viewing!

Members of the Community Climate Change Action Plan Task Force identified actions and opportunities that both encourage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in our community and outlined ways to adapt to expected changes from climate change.  You can read the Plan and accompanying additional actions as well as individual actions (What Can I Do?) below.

Hamilton Community Climate Change Action Plan

Appendix A Climate Change 101 – Hamilton

Appendix B – Additional Opportunities

Taking Action – What Can I Do?

Sustainable Schools Action Kit

LAUNCHING IN MAY 2015

Learning the fun way is what Green Venture is all about! That’s why we put together the Sustainable Schools Action Kit for you to enjoy in your classroom and give students the opportunity to learn about the environment, climate change and taking action in their community.This kit contains a number of simple items, activities and games, and ideas related to the environment that can help make exciting changes for our world and environment. Share this package with your students and discover easy ways to decrease human impact on the environment. With the Sustainable Schools Action Kit, you can help your students learn about climate change, the environment and stewardship with the goal to actively care for the environment.The kit contains eight activities (including scripts and materials) and eco-action games that cover the following topics:

  • General Climate Change Knowledge
  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Household Impacts of Climate Change
  • Local Biodiversity
  • Common Natural Resources
  • Consumption of Natural Resources
  • Energy Conservation
  • Mitigation and Adaptation Actions

This is a pilot program, in order to assess the sustainability of this program, you will be asked to complete a feedback survey.

To book the kit, please complete this form or contact Deirdre Connell at deirdre.connell@greenventure.ca or 905-540-8787 ext 113. 

Join the Conversation: Let’s Talk About the Weather…

The City of Hamilton is working with the community to develop a Community Climate Change Action Plan to help the Hamilton community address climate change and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change that can be expected to occur in and around Hamilton over the coming decades. The plan will focus on adapting and preparing the community for the risks of climate change, such as more variable and extreme weather, more social and infrastructure stresses, risks to infrastructure, and insurance costs. It will also address reducing the community’s contributions to climate change, such as the emission of greenhouse gases, a major contributor to climate change.

We will be forming a number of Task Forces to work in more depth on theme-specific discussions over the length of developing the Plan. Learn more about these at the event or contact us at climatechange@hamilton.ca.