District of West Vancouver achieves carbon-neutral status again

Jun 7, 2016

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the District of West Vancouver is stuck in neutral, and that’s a good thing.

This week, the District of West Vancouver was able to declare itself carbon-neutral in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2015 through GHG reduction projects it implemented to gain provincial carbon credits.

The District signed on to the provincial Climate Action Charter in 2012, which committed municipalities to reporting on their actions to reduce both community and operational GHG emissions, as well as to become carbon neutral by generating carbon credits and undertaking projects to reduce emissions from fleet vehicles and buildings.

In 2015, the District achieved carbon-neutral status and was rewarded with a carbon tax refund by diverting residential organics and capture of methane gas from the Vancouver Landfill. In 2014, it did so by dedicating swaths of carbon-capturing forest as Whyte Lake Park.

This doesn’t mean that the District can rest on its green laurels. As per the Climate Action Charter, those projects receive carbon credits only for a period of time, and the District will need to continue to seek ways to reduce emissions and generate carbon credits to maintain carbon-neutral status.

Natural environment and climate action is a priority of the District of West Vancouver Council. More than ever, District residents are experiencing the effects of a changing climate, such as flooding from storm surges, a variable snowpack and summer droughts, and these are predicted to continue. Council and staff work plans are responding to residents who expect their municipal government to establish standards and best practices for reducing the environmental footprint of cities and finding ways for people to live more sustainably.

A citizens’ working group is developing the Community Energy and Emissions Plan to assist the municipality in addressing greenhouse gas emissions and energy and transportation use. Projects in the Shoreline Preservation Plan are protecting the waterfront and enhancing environmental habitat, with volunteer contributions from West Vancouver citizens and direction from groups such as the West Vancouver Shoreline Preservation Society and the West Vancouver Streamkeepers.

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