The Regional District of Nanaimo has a plan to become carbon neutral by 2032.
The plan, completed by consultants Associated Engineering Ltd., was presented at the RDN committee of the whole meeting April 13. The committee unanimously endorsed the initiative and recommended it to the board for approval and implementation, including $30,000 to be allocated to determine the cost to improve and make the RDN’s operations efficient.
The RDN’s manager of long-range planning, energy and sustainability, Kim Fowler, indicated the development of the plan was a collaborative effort that involved different RDN departments.
The plan features guiding principles and specific actions needed to support corporate carbon neutrality by 2032 and achieve the RDN’s vision to be a regional leader in tackling climate change.
“By 2032, a carbon-neutral RDN will responsibly invest in environmental stewardship, human health and society equity initiatives, for the sustainable benefit of our community,” said Fowler.
The RDN’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 2,245 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, with more than half coming from heavy- and light-duty diesel vehicles.
Fowler informed the committee the RDN has been carbon neutral in its corporate operations since 2012 and will need to undertake further measures. The plan notes 34 administrative actions to support carbon neutrality, as well as four technological scenarios that could be followed for implementation.
“The scenarios reflect the different impacts of prioritizing specific actions and approaches above others,” said Fowler. “Each scenario has different reliance on carbon offsets to achieve that neutrality.”
A carbon management hierarchy was set, reflecting energy conservation and operation optimization, energy reduction and operational efficiency, replacement of conventional fuels to renewable sources and carbon offsets.
“And we know that offset is last,” said Fowler. “The best practices is do what you can in your operations. You are also showing leadership by doing that. It’s difficult to ask someone else to reduce their carbon emissions if you yourself as operationally are not doing that. So we are proposing those 34 actions.”
Fowler indicated Scenario 2, which calls on the implementation of energy-efficient measures that include decarbonization of light-duty vehicles and modest biofuel use in heavy-duty vehicles, is one of the priorities favoured by the RDN’s climate action technical advisory committee.