With just a one-per-cent drop in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2007 and 2018, the Capital Regional District is lagging far behind its goal of reducing emissions 33 per cent by 2020, based on 2007 levels.
The news is especially troubling, in the wake of the CRD’s declaration of a climate emergency in February 2019.
At Wednesday’s CRD board meeting, staff presented the dismal results of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Inventory Study, which gathered GHG emissions inventories from each municipality measured in 2018, 2012, 2010 and 2007. The 33-per-cent target was an element of the 2018 Regional Growth Strategy, which optimistically called for a reduction of 61 per cent from 2007’s baseline by 2038.
The biggest contributors to the emissions total for 2018 were on-road transportation (approximately 46 per cent), residential buildings (18 per cent) and commercial/institutional buildings (14 per cent).
On the positive side, waste-related emissions have fallen 26 per cent between 2007 and 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to show lower emissions for 2020, board members heard. But staff worried about the possibility of a post-pandemic repeat of the uptick in emissions that occurred in the eight years of growth following the global economic crisis of 2008-09. The numbers had fallen roughly 14 per cent by 2010, then increased to nearly 2007 levels by 2018.
Various programs designed to reduce GHGs in the region have been created, including the Bring It Home 4 The Climate initiative announced Tuesday. That program aims to educate and encourage homeowners to investigate energy efficiency upgrades for their homes such as replacing oil or electric heating with heat pumps, which reduces household carbon footprint.
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