The District of Central Saanich achieved carbon neutrality in 2018.
“As a signatory to the Climate Action Charter, you have demonstrated your commitment to work with the Province of British Columbia and UBCM to take action on climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your community and corporate operations,” said Tara Faganello, assistant deputy minister in the local government division of the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, in a letter to the municipality, co-signed by Gary MacIssac, executive director of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).
The accomplishment recognized by the standards of the Climate Action Recognition Program means the municipality will be able to brand itself carbon neutral for use on official websites and letterheads. Under the program, local governments must fulfill the public reporting requirements (including reporting progress to carbon neutrality) of the Climate Action Revenue lncentive Program (CARIP).
According to the official description, CARIP is a conditional grant program that provides funding to local governments that have signed the B.C. Climate Action Charter equal to 100 percent of the carbon taxes they pay directly to support local government operations.
Central Saanich also achieved carbon neutrality in 2017, 2016 and 2015 as it has been pursuing a number of initiatives during the last decade, dating back to the adoption of the Central Saanich Energy Plan in 2008.
This achievement, does not mean that all of Central Saanich has achieved carbon-neutrality, as officials generally distinguish between corporate greenhouse gas emissions and community-wide emissions.
Generally, corporate greenhouse gas emissions account for a small share of overall emissions caused by transportation, housing and other activities. This said, the action of municipalities can send important signals to the community-at-large and other jurisdictions.
Tellingly though, a review of the B.C. communities that have achieved carbon-neutrality over the years reveals that these communities tend to be smaller, rural communities. This said, the City of Vancouver achieved carbon neutrality from 2012 through 2017, according to the most available official reporting.
These reports also show that the City of Victoria achieved carbon neutrality in 2016, 2015, and 2014, while the Capital Regional District achieved carbon neutrality from 2012 to 2017.
Looking elsewhere on the Saanich Peninsula, Sidney achieved corporate carbon neutrality in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2013.