City of Halifax


Population: 390,000
Current emissions: 6.1 M tCO2e (2009)
Per capita emissions: 15.8 tCO2e/person (2009)
Reduction Target: no community-wide target set

A low-lying coastal community on the east coast of Canada, Halifax has both seen the impacts of climate change and initiated actions to reduce them. Their Climate SMART (Sustainable Mitigation and Adaptation Risk Toolkit) strategy is an integrative effort that was put together with help from the provincial government, federal government, and private sector partners. The toolkit includes: risk management and assessment tools for the municipality and community; a cost/benefit assessment tool to assist in decision making around climate adaptation planning; an environmental impact assessment tool to assess both impacts of the environment on projects and vice versa; and a communications and outreach tool. Their Regional Development Plan, of which Climate SMART is a part, further covers four strategies: growth management, integrated transportation, vibrant city and healthy communities, and environmental asset management.

Some initiatives that have come out of their Plan include: a plan for a district energy system, reduced idling campaign, a Clean Air Strategy, and a Community Energy Plan. After success with its pilot project, the Municipality’s Solar City program has recently been renewed for another three years. It offers financing for the installation of solar technologies in homes through a solar collector account, which has been administered at a cost neutral basis for the municipality. Since 2008, the municipality has built over 180 boreholes in more than 9 facilities for geothermal heating. Its entire bus fleet and ferries have been switched to biodiesel, and aggressive plans for waste reduction have resulted in it having one of the highest at-source diversion rates in the continent. Resulting from an overall review conducted by The Natural Step, the Municipality has sought to foster sustainability within its corporate culture on the whole. The Finance Department has developed and implemented several green procurement programs, prioritizing reduced packaging and third party certified products for purchases related to all of its operations. Their Sustainability Transition Team further drives this forward, and consists of 20 representatives across the organization.