Municipal Energy Plan - FAQ


A Municipal Energy Plan is a strategic planning document and action framework that outlines how a community can increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions and limit the economic risks associated with transitioning to a low-carbon community. 

Once complete, the City of Vaughan’s revised Municipal Energy Plan will:


  • set out a low-emissions pathway from today until 2050, recognizing the unique context and constraints that exist in Vaughan.
  • consider the role of the City in driving and supporting action.
  • identify how affected stakeholders can participate in transitioning to a low-carbon community.



Scientists around the world have made it clear that climate change is a threat to human existence and an emergency that must be addressed. According to the latest science, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will allow us to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change including unprecedented floods, hurricanes, heatwaves, and other severe weather events. Current plans, policies and practices across the globe put the world on a three-degree Celsius warming trajectory, so it is critical that local and national governments take steps to change this course.



It is expected that the trend of increasing emissions and warming will continue to the 2051 planning horizon if there is no change to our current practices. Density and intensification of urban development is one responsibility that the City has in the reduction of global warming temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Density is the number of people or jobs per unit of land, and intensification is an increase in density. As the city of Vaughan transitions to a more urban area, there is an opportunity to create a low-emission community by thinking about the way things are built, planned for and lived in throughout the city. 


This can also create a more connected, healthy and prosperous community. The City’s Sustainability Performance Metrics Program is one of the initiatives ensuring that future development in Vaughan is contributing to the urban transition toward low emissions planning.


All of the City’s operational and regulatory activities are guided by the Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan, Green Directions Vaughan. This long-term plan guides Vaughan towards a more sustainable future by outlining the City’s approach to maintaining a healthy natural environment, vibrant communities and a strong economy.


Finally, the revised Municipal Energy Plan will provide further actions and practices that will need to be taken in Vaughan to ensure the community is responding appropriately to climate change and achieving science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.


How can I get involved and participate in the Municipal Energy Plan Revision’s public engagement opportunities?


Please continue to check back on this project website and the City’s Have Your Say engagement platform for upcoming engagement opportunities in this year.


Climate change is any change in long-term weather patterns due to natural factors, human factors or a combination of both. Climate change scientists agree that human activity is responsible for the accelerated changes in climate we are currently experiencing on a global scale.


Climate is what you expect – the pattern of weather conditions such as temperature and precipitation, amounts of sun and fog, and frequency and intensity of severe events measured over years, decades and centuries.

Weather is what you get – the current condition of the atmosphere. It is measured in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and seasons.


So how do we know the climate is changing? The climate is not constant. Long-term climate data will show variations over seasons, years, decades and centuries (e.g. warmer winter, more precipitation). We know that climate change is happening because despite this variation we are still seeing an overall increase in temperature over time and other similar trends.


Greenhouse gases are vapours that trap heat in the atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere is like a thin blanket, made up of carbon and other gases, that traps some of the heat provided by the sun. This keeps our planet at just the right temperature for life as we know it. This is known as the greenhouse effect. When society emits too many greenhouse gasses too quickly, they get trapped in the atmosphere, causing the atmospheric blanket to get thicker and upsetting the temperature balance.


There are several greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere driving climate change, but for simplicity, all are measured as carbon dioxide equivalents (i.e., ‘CO2e’).


Through industrial activities, humans have released a significant amount of greenhouse gases over a short period. This has caused the blanket of atmosphere around our Earth to become thicker, trapping more heat and disrupting our usual climate patterns. This has caused a threat to human society that climate scientists expect to worsen over time, especially if we do not intervene and reduce emissions drastically and immediately.


According to the most recent science published by a panel of 234 leading scientists from around the globe, and drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, if human-made global greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced, the world is very likely to see a global average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius or more between now and 2040. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is high confidence that over 1.5 degrees Celsius of global average warming will result in increases in extreme weather events including drought, heatwaves, forest fires, sea-level rise and wind, rain and ice storms.


The climate emergency is the combination of global warming and the associated extreme weather events that lead to power outages, infrastructure collapse, food shortages, death and disruptions to social and economic systems.


The latest climate science asserts that a 1.5-degree Celsius increase in temperature or less will allow humanity to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Climate scientists have estimated the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be emitted by people around the globe to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Aligning a greenhouse gas reduction target within a jurisdiction to not go beyond the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold is considered a science-based target. The amount of greenhouse gasses that can be emitted until the threshold is met is often referred to as a carbon budget. Leading global climate change organizations and scientists have created a calculation for countries and cities to determine their fair share of the remaining carbon budget so they can set targets accordingly.


For more information on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and what global warming is, please see the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act or Canada’s Climate Plan