Despite variance from year to year, there has been a steady reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since Penny Page-Brittin, environmental sustainability coordinator for the city of Revelstoke, began recording emission amounts in 2007.
The overall target of community greenhouse gas reduction set by the city is a reduction of 6 per cent between 2007 levels and 2020 levels and corporate emission goals were set at a 20 per cent reduction.
Since 2007, emissions from municipal building have dropped around 25 per cent, Page-Brittin said.
Initiatives that helped enforce these changes were presented to the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee in the 2017 Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program annual report, on June 21.
The program highlights both corporate and community-wide initiatives in Revelstoke which aim to work towards achieving carbon neutrality. It also outlines proposed actions for 2018.
The report is an annual requirement to receive grants for participation in the B.C. Climate Action Charter program.
According to the report, corporate greenhouse gas emissions were higher in 2017 than in the previous year, with a total of 1,103.79 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent reported.
In 2016, the total was 867, a difference of 236.79 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. However, 2015’s number was closer to that of 2017 with a total 1,098 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Corporate emissions, according Page-Brittin, refers to emissions caused by municipal operations, such as the city fleet, municipal buildings, waste water and street lights. Contracted work such as snow removal and garbage collection is also categorized under corporate operation.
Page-Brittin says the variance of totals often relates directly to average weather, with the dip in 2016’s total relating directly to a milder winter.
“If there’s a lot of snow, there’s a lot of diesel used for snow removal,” says Page-Brittin. “And if there’s a very cold snap, it requires more heating, which is propane.”
“The variation you see is mostly heating.”
2017’s report identified the three most relevant climate impacts in Revelstoke as “changes to temperature and precipitation causing seasonal drought; increased temperatures increasing wildfire activity; and extreme weather events contributing to urban and overland flooding.”
The report included actions over a variety of categories carried out in 2017, including the wood stove exchange rebate program, the upgrades to Big Eddy water mains, implementation of LED streetlights and the addition and replacement of bear proof garbage containers among other actions.
Specifically highlighted in the report was the ongoing food recovery program operated in conjunction with Revelstoke Community Connections Food Bank, which began in March of 2016.
According to the report, 190,000 lbs of food has been redirected to the food bank, woman’s shelter, group homes and school programs rather than be sent to a landfill since the program started two years ago.
“The food recovery I think is an all-around positive thing,” says Page-Brittin. “We’re feeding people and removing methane produced from food waste in the landfill.”
Additionally, food packaging has been recycled rather than sent to a landfill and food no longer deemed fit for human consumption went to farmers for animal feed or compost use.
Revelstoke joined the Federation for Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection Program in 2006 and signed the B.C. Climate Action Charter in 2008.
According to the province’s 2016 summary, 187 local governments in B.C. submitted Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program reports.
Revelstoke has been completing the annual reports since 2010.