North Cowichan council adopted a Climate Action and Energy Plan update at its Jan. 19 regular meeting that revises and improves the understanding of community greenhouse gas emissions and addresses potential changes in land use and development patterns.
The CAEP update also addresses technological advancements that have been made since the original CAEP was adopted in 2013 and provides improved tools for monitoring emissions over time. It provides a low carbon road map for the community to achieve council’s GHG emissions reduction target of 80 per cent of 2007 emission levels by 2050.
In 2018, North Cowichan received a $78,800 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to complete this work, which was done by Sustainability Solutions Group. The 2022 CAEP update recommendations reflect significant engagement with the public, council and the municipality’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
“Council officially acknowledged the climate emergency in 2019 and recent weather events with effects such as drought, fires, atmospheric rivers, flooding and two heat domes underscore the urgency,” said Councillor Kate Marsh, chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee. “We are committed to addressing GHG emissions, looking at all applicable decisions through a climate lens, laying a foundation for a low carbon future and using the best information and predictions we have. This plan, along with rewriting our Official Community Plan and reviewing the management of our municipal forests, will help North Cowichan set the goals, targets, strategies and actions needed – actions that each of us can take to do our part towards healing the planet.”
“Modelling, targets, and reporting for the new CAEP are based on a new globally accepted accounting model that clarifies the approach for inventorying emissions,” said Dr. Dave Preikshot, senior environmental specialist. “The updated plan outlines new initiatives required to meet council’s GHG reduction targets and is complete with an implementation and monitoring framework that identifies timelines and objectives to ensure continued progress toward these targets.”
The plan includes a review of actions for North Cowichan to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2050. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following: shifting personal and commercial vehicles to electric vehicles; retrofitting homes for energy efficiency and switching to heat pumps; improving industrial/commercial energy efficiency; and replacing natural gas with hydrogen and renewable natural gas.
For more information on this project, and to view the updated CAEP, visit www.northcowichan.ca/CAEP.