Carbon Neutral Kootenays
The Carbon Neutral Kootenays (CNK) project was an unprecedented partnership between three regional disticts (Central Kootenay, East Kootenay, and Kootenay Boundary) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to meet the targets established under the climate action charter. Local Governments across the Kootenay region signed the Climate Action Charter, therefore committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2012. As a result of the program, local governments in the Columbia Basin reduced their corporate greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 10%, with some becoming fully carbon neutral through the purchase of carbon offsets or from local reduction projects.
At the 2009 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Conference, this project was awarded the prize for Leadership & Innovation. The project's goals were defined as "Measure, Plan, Act, Lead" and it was a unique example of a locally-focused, collaborative initiative that had the primary mandate of supporting local governments in achieving carbon neutrality. The project began in 2008, when the four funders recognized that, due to the rural nature of Kootenay communities, many local governments lacked the capacity and funding to effectively implement emissions reductions, or to otherwise meet their Climate Action Charter commitments. Signatories to the Climate Action Charter are eligible for a rebate of the carbon tax paid to the Province (called the Climate Action Rebate Incentive Program – CARIP).
Measuring, reporting, and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions are tasks associated with becoming carbon neutral which challenge small local governments with limited capacity. With this in mind, the three Chairs of the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, and Central Kootenay recognized that their organizations and their local municipalities could benefit from working together as a team. This idea attracted the attention of Columbia Basin Trust which became a partner and leading voice for the project.
Phase 1 of the project was focused on measuring and reporting. It involved measuring each of the participating Regional Districts' annual greenhouse gas emissions, and creating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plans based on those inventories. The reporting of GHG resulted in receiving a conditional grant Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP). Phases 2 and 3 of the project are focused on action. Education opportunities and policy initiatives provided participating local governments with guidance on how to implement efficiency upgrades within their buildings, fleet, and infrastructure network. During these phases of the project, local municipalities have had the opportunity to benefit from the same measuring and planning activities that were available to the Regional Districts during Phase 1.
The RDCK has adopted a Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan to reduce energy consumption and emissions in its corporate operations. This plan is consistent with the Regional Districts voluntary commitment to the Climate Action Charter.
The RDCK is working towards carbon neutrality and has established a Corporate Energy Conservation Reserve Fund to be used towards local energy efficiency projects and or for approved local carbon offsets.
The Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) is a conditional grant program that provides funding to Climate Action Charter signatories equivalent to one-hundred percent of the carbon taxes that they pay directly. This funding supports local governments in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move forward on achieving their climate action goals.
The RDCK, as a signatory to the Climate Action Charter, is required to report publicly on its greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts. View the RDCK's 2015 Public Report. [PDF - 306 KB]
The content on this page was last updated June 15 2017 at 2:42 PM