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City cuts its greenhouse gas emissions

11% drop in emissions since 2005 climate action plan adopted

THE City of North Vancouver's efforts to grapple with climate change are starting to pay off, achieving real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"I have some very good news this evening, and I also have some sobering news to share," Caroline Jackson, the city's community energy manager, told council Monday night.

"We are gaining some traction and starting to see some considerable reductions, both in terms of our city operations but also as a community.

"The other news is that there is some hard work still ahead," she said.

In 2005, the city introduced a Climate Action Plan, aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions both of the local government's activities and the city as a whole. The target was to cut municipal greenhouse gas emissions to 20 per cent below 1995 levels, which works out to 1,962 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

"We have not met that target," said Jackson, "but we have achieved a five per cent reduction below 1995 levels. So if we look at when the plan was adopted in 2005, since then we have reduced our emissions by 11 per cent. That's while at the same time we've added buildings, we've added facilities, and we've added services for the public."

In 2010, city operations and buildings emitted roughly 2,319 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

While the city missed its "ambitious" corporate target, continued Jackson, it has beaten its goal of reduced communitywide emissions to six per cent below projected 2010 levels, despite those emissions being considerably harder for city hall to control.

"I'm delighted to show council that we've seen communitywide reduction of 10 per cent below projected 2010, six per cent below 2005."

Jackson said a combination of building retrofits with green technology, recycling and waste reduction programs, "smart" land use, sustainable transportation infrastructure, and "groundbreaking" incentives for energy efficiency in new buildings had helped compress the 2010 city-wide emissions to about 207,433 tonnes of carbon dioxide, down from 2005's 220,415 tonnes.

Since 2005, personal vehicle emissions are unchanged, and commercial vehicle emissions have risen by 11 per cent. But residential, commercial and industrial buildings have posted sharp reductions, as much as 18 per cent for the industrial sector.

Looking into the future, said Jackson, the targets are a 25 per cent reduction in municipal emissions, and 15 per cent for the community. Ongoing retrofits of buildings and thoughtful purchase and use of vehicles will be the two most important keys to success.

"I am really happy to have some good news," Mayor Darrell Mussatto said. "We should be very proud here at the city - council, staff and residents - for what they've accomplished."

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