Province’s Climate Action Charter targets are ‘aggressive’ and ‘unrealistic’ say city staff

The city will not be able to be carbon neutral in its operations by the end of the year as required by the Climate Action Charter

As a signatory to the Climate Action Charter, city operations were supposed to be carbon neutral by year’s end; however that won’t be happening this year or even two years from now, according to city staff which say the targets are “unrealistic”.

“To become carbon neutral at this point in time is not realistic because it would require that our entire fleet would be electric and some of our vehicles cannot be electric,” said Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s sustainability manager.

“It would require that all of our energy reserves were renewable, either hydro, electric, or thermal instead of gas.”

City Manager Andy Laidlaw said the expectations laid out by the province are lofty.

“My view would be the province has set these expectations and they are somewhat unrealistic,” he said.

“These are aggressive targets…I don’t think there’s any expectation of local governments that they’re going to meet those and I think the province is fully aware of that.”

The city signed on to the provincial climate charter in 2007 and in an effort to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2012 implemented a carbon neutral plan in 2011, which included emission reduction targets for 2012, 2020 and 2050.

The city did exceed its target for 2012, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 12.8 per cent over 2008 – 2.8 per cent better than its goal.

However, in order to become carbon neutral by the end of the year, the city would have had to buy carbon offsets (a reduction in carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions made to compensate for an emission made elsewhere).

Offsets are typically achieved through funding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams.

Or the city could show it’s moving towards being carbon neutral by opening a savings fund ear-marked for municipal projects, which it will to the tune of $40,000 with the money coming from the gaming reserve.

Zirnhelt said the city can still put a dent in its emissions.

“For us to make some changes and substantially reduce our carbon footprint is definitely possible,” Zirnhelt said.

“For us to become completely carbon neutral without paying carbon offsets is not feasible within the next couple of years.”

Laidlaw said the majority of the signatories to the Climate Action Charter are in a similar position as Campbell River.

They’re either purchasing carbon offsets to become carbon neutral or they’ve opened a carbon fund.

Zirnhelt said though the province set the bar high, the goal was to have communities do what they can.

“The province expects local governments will reduce emissions as much as possible and then purchase carbon offsets to invest in province-wide projects that will reduce our…greenhouse gas emissions across the province,” Zirnhelt said.

“It’s a very aggressive target the province has to encourage local governments to reduce as much as possible and contribute to our overall reductions.”

Just Posted

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

Back to school for Vancouver Island’s snow-covered kids, more snow coming

All school districts in business this morning but officials warn another 5-10 centimetres today

Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at tipping fees

Fees part of planned review that could offset future tax hikes in regions

City of Campbell River responds to BCTS intention to continue Snowden harvesting plans

Yet another call for the province to halt timber harvest activities until long-term plan is in place

Everett Silvertip’s Island-born forward carrying on proud First Nations tradition

Jalen Price gets inspiration from indigenous Canadian hockey players who proceeded him.

Campbell River’s Northwest Shito-Kai named Island Champs

‘I’m just really, really happy and excited for the way that these kids have been developing’

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Concern over student vaping grows in Vancouver Island schools

Island Health officer says parents and educators have ample reason to be concerned

Most Read