Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Local Government and Climate Change

For some time the federal government has been without a concrete plan to reduce GHG-emissions which has forced other levels of government to take the lead. Back in 2008 the provincial government announced the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program, a grant meant to offset the carbon tax paid by local governments that have committed to the goal of becoming carbon neutral in their corporate operations by 2012. The Township of Langley signed on to this program.

At yesterday afternoon's council meeting a report on the program and Township for 2011 was released (P. 49).

In 2011 the Township:
-Completed a preliminary energy analysis for the Latimer Neighbourhood Plan,
-Completed a study exploring the potential for district energy in Murrayville,
-Adopted the provincial Solar Hot Water Ready regulation,
-Completed Phase 1 planning work for the ultimate cycling network; installed bike lanes on several corridors,
-Put ten businesses through the Climate Smart program,
-Brought the DreamRider Theatre with their production Keep Cool; A Play About Climate Change to 1,400 Langley students,
-Implemented the Green Can organics diversion program, and;
-Completed twelve Power Smart lighting upgrade projects at municipal buildings.

In 2012 the Township plans to:
-Undertake an energy design charette for the Carvolth Neighbourhood Plan (in partnership with BC Hydro’s Sustainable Communities Program),
-Complete a District Energy Ready Buildings project (in partnership with the Community Energy Association),
-Undertake Phase 2 planning work for the ultimate cycling network,
-Develop a Bicycle Master Plan and continue with the installation of bike lanes on select corridors, and;
-Conduct a public school recycling pilot.

All the projects are very encouraging to see, but I have the feeling that it's too little and maybe too late. What I find very interesting about the whole politics of climate change is that we can reduce our carbon foot print without affecting our way of live, yet there is so much resistance.

In BC, transportation and buildings account for about 50% of our carbon foot print. Things like building district energy and building alternative transportation go a long way to reduce GHG-emissions and actually make our lives better while keeping money in our pocketbook. I don't get way there is so much resistance to things that make our lives better. It's time that the federal government step up to the plate and fund these green initiatives.

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