Around 100 people taking part in a demonstration against Kinder Morgan and expansion of the Trans Canada pipeline on March 23, 2018 out front of MP Murray Rankin’s office in Victoria, B.C. (File photo)

Highlands councillor underpins CRD climate change declaration with some ‘uncomfortable’ specifics

Counting emissions and offsetting carbon cited in post

The Capital Regional District (CRD), and many municipalities within it, have set themselves a lofty goal to become carbon neutral in a little over a decade.

Making this plan a reality requires detailed process, says Highlands councillor Ann Baird.

“If we’re going to do this, then we have to do it right, or else it’s a waste of time,” she adds.

While most local officials widely agree that the plan to make the region energy efficient was important, many aren’t clear on what this means, she said.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria officials take climate emergency request to CRD

The region is still in the process of declaring an emergency and committing to climate neutrality, but rather than having an empty plan, Baird said, decision-making can be better served even in early stages by having a outline to follow.

“What if the CRD created it’s own community carbon market place… Let’s start having a conversation about how we can do our job in the south Island and create a movement.”

It starts with being honest and talking about what it means to avoid a climate catastrophe and taking steps to have a livable planet, Baird added.

ALSO READ: Councillor wants to see concrete action after Saanich declares climate emergency

She began researching the issue and wrote a preliminary report on the need to count emissions and the steps the region could take to offset their carbon.

This involves deciding on the method of counting emissions. For instance, China shouldn’t be blamed for the products we throw away, she says.

“It’s us that created the problem by buying all these goods. Who counts it? It’s a complicated question.”

As a relatively wealthy community, Greater Victorians fly “a lot,” Baird says. Local tourism and the economy as well rely on aviation. These emissions must be counted to achieve true carbon neutrality, she points out.

ALSO READ: CRD endorses Climate Emergency Declaration

“We can’t fix this… unless we think globally and act locally,” she added. “We can’t ignore reality just because it’s uncomfortable.”

Her report has been shared with her colleagues at the CRD Climate Action Task Force and is slated to be discussed in an upcoming meeting, she said.

It discusses plans to offset emissions by using building materials that sequester carbon, farming organically without fertilizers and pesticides, creating wetlands and planting a new food forest.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


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