Dawson Creek corporation and community not on track to meet 2012 emissions target

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According to a report submitted by staff and received by city council on Monday morning, the city is not on pace to reduce both corporate and community emissions to below 14 per cent of 2007 levels by next year, a target that was set in the City of Dawson Creek’s Carbon Neutral Plan in 2009.

At the corporate level, total emissions have actually increased by 23 per cent between 2007 and 2010, mainly due to increases in electricity and natural gas consumption that is attributed mainly to new processes at the water treatment plant and the addition of the Multiplex. The report identifies several projects that could reverse that trend, with the implementation of a biomass heating system at the Multiplex being the most significant to reduce corporate emissions, though that project is cited as not likely by 2012. The report states if all projects identified were implemented by 2015, the corporation could achieve a 25 per cent reduction in emissions relative to 2007 levels, and would be on-track to achieve a target of 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020, though additional projects would still need to be identified.

As a signatory to the provincial Climate Action Charter, the City of Dawson Creek is required to be carbon neutral in its operations by next year, meaning the corporation would have to purchase just under $90,000 in carbon offsets (assuming an offset cost of $25 per tonne of emissions, and an emissions increase of 1.4 per cent annually) if no further reductions are achieved. However, if all the opportunities identified in the report were implement by 2012 – with the exception of the Multiplex biomass project – Dawson Creek’s offset liability can be lowered to just under $79,000, and would also result in a reduced contribution to the corporation’s internal carbon fund of $43,000, and an energy cost savings in the range of $79,000 to $278,000.

At the community level, the report notes that it will be even more difficult to reverse the trend of growing emissions and meet the targets outlined in the Carbon Neutral Plan. In 2007 (the last community inventory recorded), community emissions totalled nearly 137, 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, an increase of 24 per cent over the 110,082 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2005, though the report notes some differences in the models used to estimate those two inventories that might skew that comparison. In both years, nearly all of those emissions resulted from vehicles or buildings.

To meet Dawson Creek’s emissions reduction targets at the community level, the city will need to reduce emissions to approximately 117,792 tonnes by 2012; 91,769 tonnes by 2020; and 20,545 by 2050. Several projects are outlined in the report, including enforcing the city’s new solar hot water-ready bylaw for the construction of new homes, challenging major employers in the city to reduce emissions through commuting, and investigating the feasibility of a wind energy project for the city. However, the report notes the impact of these projects are difficult to predict because many require implementation by the provincial government.

City council voted to refer the report to the strategic planning session that will occur after the upcoming municipal election on Nov. 19 and before next year’s preliminary budget is conceived. Mayor Mike Bernier, who will be re-elected by acclamation, said it will be up to the next council to determine how much priority should be placed on emissions-reduction targets and projects.

However, he did confirm that the corporation was successful in its application to BC Hydro to hire an “Energy Manager” who will oversee energy and emissions reduction targets for the City of Dawson Creek. That position will be fully-funded by BC Hydro, and Bernier added that person will likely be hired next year.

The full report that was submitted to council this morning has been attached below.


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