Comox council wants to stay close to home for carbon neutrality

Looking for projects close to home is what Comox council is suggesting might be the optimum way to achieve carbon neutrality.

Looking for projects close to home is what Comox council is suggesting might be the optimum way to achieve carbon neutrality.

The recommendation was brought forth Wednesday at the Town’s committee of the whole meeting; as a signatory to the province’s Climate Action Charter, the town reports on its corporate greenhouse gases output with the goal to achieve carbon neutrality.

In his report to council, Don Jacquest, director of finance, said Comox needs to offset 607 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The markets for carbon offsets are new offer a wide variety of projects, he added.

He included some examples of offsets in his report, such as those selling for $1.50 per tonne (micro hydro energy in India) to those at $25 per tonne (Pacific Carbon Trust).

He asked council for guidance on what it would like to achieve when shopping for offsets.

Coun. Tom Grant said he would prefer to purchase lower-costing offsets, and use the remaining funds for projects in Comox.

Coun. Ken Grant agreed, and asked if there was a local project to reduce the carbon offsets significantly.

“The vase majority of (calculating carbon offsets from) greenhouse gases comes from our diesel and gasoline purchases, so it’s coming out of the fleet,” explained Jacquest.

“Really, if we want to achieve massive changes to our carbon footprint it has to be through the fleet.”

Tom Grant inquired if hydro usage would could count for reducing the carbon footprint, but Jacquest said it counts for “a tiny, tiny fraction … It’s a few hundred dollars worth of offsets.”

Richard Kanigan, the Town’s chief administrative officer said there are possibilities to reinvest the funds locally.

“I think it would be a great idea to reinvest whatever money we save from purchasing carbon offsets within the Town fleet or building and vehicles first. As the offset program develops, maybe there’s other options,” he noted.

“We can look at our buildings. Yes, the reductions wouldn’t be as great as fuel purchases, but we do reinvest in our own infrastructure.”

A report will local options and purchasing offsets will be presented to council.

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