Last winter’s colder temperatures and a new fire hall have boosted Town of Osoyoos obligations under the provincial Climate Action Charter.
The $10,801.55 the Town paid in carbon tax and carbon offset purchases should be reimbursed through the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP).
That didn’t stop Council, though, from questioning the Town’s efforts following information the community’s corporate greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2016 despite substantial efforts to curb its environmental footprint.
The Town has one of its goals reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent between 2009 and 2020.
“These numbers are getting bigger and we seem to be slipping backwards a little bit,” Counc. CJ Rhodes noted. “How do we do better at this?”
He was referring to the Town’s total amount of corporate greenhouse gas emissions for 2016 increasing to 403.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) — slightly higher than the 362.7 tCO2e measured in 2015.
Senior Planner Dilys Huang provided a report that detailed efforts the Town is making to reduce its energy footprint but added weather and a new facility likely played a large role in the increase.
“This could be attributed to an overall increase in energy usage from main facilities due to the colder winter and the addition of the new fire hall,” she explained.
“If you look at the attachment, there’s about 10 or 15 pages that actually tell you some of the initiatives the Town has taken to (further) climate change,” added Counc. Jim King.
To achieve provincially required carbon neutrality for 2016, the Town purchased 404 tC02e of carbon offsets from an offset provider.
The cost of the carbon offsets was $8,484.
The report was provided as part of Town obligations as a signatory of the BC Climate Action Charter.
It is required to submit the Carbon Tax Calculation Form, CARIP Climate Action/Carbon Neutral Progress Survey, and CARIP Public Report Attestation Form to the Province.
“The information from the progress survey also needs to be made available to the public in the form of a public report,” said Ms. Huang.
CARIP is a conditional grant program that provides funding to BC Climate Action Charter signatories in an amount equivalent to the carbon tax paid by a member each year.
The program supports local governments in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to become carbon neutral.
In 2016, the Town undertook a number of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including:
- making improvements to its buildings and street lighting;
- exploring new ways to generate energy;
- improving its greenspaces;
- encouraging backyard composting and participating in the Multi-material BC recycling program;
- providing for additional off-road trails for non-vehicle use and encouraging the use of electric vehicles
- reducing water use by implementing alternate day watering; and,
- promoting energy-reducing initiatives offered through third-party organizations.
A detailed report of the Town’s efforts in 2016 and its proposed plans for 2017 are available on the Town’s website.