Resilient St. John's Climate Plan

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Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation. It is a sustainability cornerstone issue that needs to be addressed to achieve sustainable development and ensure that our efforts for long-term recovery are not undermined by the risks that climate change presents. The Resilient St. John’s Climate Plan focuses on this sustainability issue by addressing energy and climate change impacts.

The plan identifies a 30-year strategy, with specific actions for the upcoming years to reduce our community's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while re-enforcing efforts to stabilize energy costs by supporting energy efficiency. It will also provide strategies to further prepare the City to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the impacts from climate change.


The Resilient St. John's Community Climate Plan's evidence-based and stakeholder-driven development process to-date includes:

  • Public and stakeholder engagement to understand priorities and concerns - What-We-Heard.
  • Development and adoption by City Council of the Corporate Climate Plan to address the City's operations energy use GHGs.
  • A holistic community model to understand energy and GHG emission from our community as a whole currently, and for both a business-as-usual (BAP) and the low-carbon (LC) future captured in this plan.
  • A financial analysis of both scenarios to ensure that its implementation results in a positive and equitable benefit to our economy, savings to residents' energy related costs, creation of jobs, and a positive return-on-investment for our community as a whole.
  • A stakeholder-driven strategic risk assessment to identify the ongoing and projected impacts to our community from climate change and plan to adapt.

The City encourages you to review the proposed actions to Mitigate our GHG contribution to climate change and Adapt to its impacts on our community, and have your say by:

  • Participating through the engagement tools below.
  • Attending the upcoming Virtual Public Session December 2 at 7 pm - Signup
  • Providing a letter of support if you or your organization would like to show your commitment to climate action. Please submit signed letters of support to efausto@stjohns.ca(External link).

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation. It is a sustainability cornerstone issue that needs to be addressed to achieve sustainable development and ensure that our efforts for long-term recovery are not undermined by the risks that climate change presents. The Resilient St. John’s Climate Plan focuses on this sustainability issue by addressing energy and climate change impacts.

The plan identifies a 30-year strategy, with specific actions for the upcoming years to reduce our community's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while re-enforcing efforts to stabilize energy costs by supporting energy efficiency. It will also provide strategies to further prepare the City to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the impacts from climate change.


The Resilient St. John's Community Climate Plan's evidence-based and stakeholder-driven development process to-date includes:

  • Public and stakeholder engagement to understand priorities and concerns - What-We-Heard.
  • Development and adoption by City Council of the Corporate Climate Plan to address the City's operations energy use GHGs.
  • A holistic community model to understand energy and GHG emission from our community as a whole currently, and for both a business-as-usual (BAP) and the low-carbon (LC) future captured in this plan.
  • A financial analysis of both scenarios to ensure that its implementation results in a positive and equitable benefit to our economy, savings to residents' energy related costs, creation of jobs, and a positive return-on-investment for our community as a whole.
  • A stakeholder-driven strategic risk assessment to identify the ongoing and projected impacts to our community from climate change and plan to adapt.

The City encourages you to review the proposed actions to Mitigate our GHG contribution to climate change and Adapt to its impacts on our community, and have your say by:

  • Participating through the engagement tools below.
  • Attending the upcoming Virtual Public Session December 2 at 7 pm - Signup
  • Providing a letter of support if you or your organization would like to show your commitment to climate action. Please submit signed letters of support to efausto@stjohns.ca(External link).
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    Climate change is an urgent, complex, and global crisis, with many of its impacts already affecting our community and more expected to become a reality before children born in 2021 become 30 years old. However, its relatively long timeline and the required level of community-wide change makes it a challenge to rapidly transition to a society and economy that can limit climate change's impact to reasonable levels (to 1.5 C). Collective effort across our community is needed to contribute our part to limiting climate change to 1.5 C. This can be done by improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions which would improve our current energy poverty issues while preventing the worst projected changes in climate from becoming a reality. 

    Currently St. John's emits 789,417 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent). Modelling results show that if no additional policies, actions, or strategies to address energy use and emissions are implemented other than those currently underway or planned, this total decreases to 573,307 tCO2e. The decrease results from fuel efficiency standards in vehicles, planned renewable energy of the provincial electricity grid, and reduced heating needs as the climate warms. St. John's needs to reduce its annual emissions to 380,000 tCO2e by 2030 to align with efforts to reduce global warming by 1.5 C and to Net-Zero by 2050 at the latest.

    The local analysis shows that this transition provides an opportunity to create an economic net benefit of $5.4 billion including new business opportunities, 1,800 new jobs, improving built environment, reducing household energy costs by up to 50%, while stimulating innovation and improving health outcomes. The investment required across our community would be the equivalent of 6.7% of our provincial GDP or 12% of the St. John's CMA's GDP per year. Climate action is not just about avoiding the human and environmental crisis of climate change; it's about cashing in on significant new local, national, and global economic opportunities. 

    Five key focus areas for action in the Resilient St. John’s Community Climate Plan to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions were identified through a combination of consultation with the public and through technical modelling. 

    These include: 

    1. Municipal leadership and planning 
    2. Affordable and efficient buildings for all 
    3. Transportation transformation 
    4. Clean energy for resilience 
    5. Low-waste future 

    Review the report including the proposed actions within these themes and have your say in the discussion below. 

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    Climate change is an urgent, complex and global crisis, with many of its impacts already impacting our community and more expected to become a reality before children born in 2021 become 30 years old. The City of St. John’s undertook a strategic risk assessment and planning process to inform how changes in climate may impact our community and what actions we can collectively take to address them. The assessment identified 55 unique impacts across the infrastructure, people & economy, and the natural environment of our community. 

    Infrastructure - Sea level rise is anticipated to increase erosion and likelihood of storm surges flooding coastal infrastructure. Precipitation changes are expected to increase stress and maintenance requirements on stormwater infrastructure and buildings (e.g., mould, leaks), while water crossings may experience increased vulnerability and potential for failure. Similarly, sport fields may see an increase in required maintenance due to flooding. Warmer summers will increase energy use for cooling, and demand for cooled venues for youth and vulnerable populations, as well as opportunities for gardening. Meanwhile, the increase in winter freeze-thaw cycles may increase maintenance requirements on roads. Increased extreme weather may lead to more frequent outages in communications and power. 

    People and Economy - Climate change will have direct impacts on St. John’s socioeconomic system. Impacts to our transportation systems (roads, public and active transportation) can impact the local economy by causing delays and disruptions to business operations. Similarly, impacts to the marine ecosystems, agriculture, and energy use can change the food security future of our community. Increased infrastructure maintenance and repair can lead to changes in servicing costs. Health impacts form climate change have been identified. This includes changes to winter leading to less opportunities for winter activities, increased incidence of vector-borne diseases, injury from extreme weather events, exacerbations to weather dependent health conditions (e.g., respiratory and cardiovascular conditions), and psychological effects of extreme weather impacts

    Natural Environment - Warmer temperatures are expected to impact the freshwater and sea temperatures leading to changes in both ecosystems, as well as terrestrial ecosystems, including invasive species. These changes may also impact migratory birds and fish, which can have an impact on recreation and fishing activities. Temperature and precipitation changes are expected to create an extension to the forest fire season. The longer growing season also is expected to bring more pest management demand, but also provide an opportunity for gardening and food production. The impact of wind is uncertain, but if winds do increase (along with intensity of storms) it is expected that more tree blowdowns may take place (contributing to fire risk), and that wind would also impact the number of viable fishing days.

    Four key focus areas for action in the Resilient St. John’s Community Climate Plan to adapt to its impacts on our community  were identified through a combination of consultation with the public and through technical modelling. 

    These include: 

    1. Smart Growth
    2. Resilient Natural and Built Infrastructure
    3. Thriving Natural Environment and Agriculture
    4. Disaster Resilience and Emergency Preparedness

    Review the report including the proposed actions within these themes and have your say in the discussion below.