City’s emissions decrease

It’s steady as she goes for the city on the road to carbon neutrality.

As a signatory to the 2008 BC Climate Action Charter and, subsequently, an annual applicant for the  province’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program grant, the city is required to complete annual interim and final progress reports measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Reviewing the recently completed interim report, development services director Kevin Pearson told council that corporate emissions, particularly those produced under the category of administration and governance, dropped quite a bit in 2013 from 2012.

“There’s six areas where those are measured from: administration and governance; drinking, storm and waste water; solid waste collection; transportation; roads and traffic operation; arts and recreation; parks and cultural services; and fire protection,” said Pearson. “The biggest drops in emissions were in administration and governance – they fell from 72 tonnes of CO2 to 43 tonnes.” Fire protection also saw a notable decrease, from 105 to 94 tonnes.

In total, the city’s GHG output dropped from 1,994 in 2012 tonnes to 1,850 tonnes in 2013.

Pearson explained this leaves the city two options: to achieve carbon neutrality the city can purchase 1,850 tonnnes worth of carbon offsets (ranging from $16 to $25 a tonne) from the province, or state in the final report that the city is “making progress towards carbon neutrality.” Pearson said the latter involves things such as “building sidewalks and adhering to our OCP polices for compact and sustainable communities and improving our transit system…”

While the City of Salmon Arm appears to be moving towards the overall community goal of a six per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, how the rest of the city is faring is currently an unknown. Pearson said the province had been doing the “non-corporate inventory,” but the most recent data dates back to 2010. This lack of information is reflected in the city’s interim report.

“If we’re supposed to reduce it by six per cent, we need to know what the number is,” commented Coun. Alan Harrison, who concurred with Coun. Denise Reimer that the city appears to be on target for 2020.

Harrison was critical of the whole provincial process around carbon neutrality, and likened it to a game of snakes and ladders.

“One of the ladders was, you can sign on if you want, but if you don’t, you don’t get any grants. I remember that. Now there’s a few snakes appearing,” said Harrison. “But basically, our choice is pay between $30,000 and $36,000, or say that we’re making progress towards carbon neutrality… so that seems like a pretty easy question to me. Because I have some doubts about how this whole thing is going to end up. So I would say that the recommendation of staff is the right one, that we’ll hang on to our money for now.”


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