What Does "Mitigation" Mean?
Climate change's consequences are being felt in Prince George on an increasing scale. Some of the effects, such as warmer winters, may seem less obvious. Others (such as more intense wildfire seasons because of hotter and drier conditions) have had a greater impact on life and the environment.
Mitigating against climate change means taking steps to try to stop or slow down climate change's effects. It can be individual actions like walking instead of driving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or community-wide plans like creating more pedestrian-friendly streets.
Climate Change Mitigation Plan Update
The City of Prince George is updating its Climate Change Mitigation Plan. The Plan's changes will:
- Reflect Prince George's current energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Create new greenhouse gas reduction targets.
- Identify opportunities for climate action in City operations and community-wide.
What is a Climate Change Mitigation Plan?
A climate change mitigation plan is a roadmap to help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and conserve energy. The plan provides guidance on planning future developments and typically has four components:
An energy inventory measures a community's existing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by examining:
- Land use
- Infrastructure (e.g solid and liquid waste management)
- Renewable energy
Meetings and workshops with City staff, key community stakeholders, and the public provide input on challenges and opportunities.
Modeling calculates the impacts of specific actions in the community. The model considers factors like Prince George's population growth, the city's GHG reduction targets, and the community's unique characteristics.
The action plan summarizes City and resident actions and opportunities and estimates the impacts of each one. Actions that can influence energy and emissions outcomes in the community include:
Plan Priority Areas
The Plan identified five priority areas where Prince George can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet GHG reduction targets to combat climate change.
Buildings that rely on natural gas, electricity, propane, and heating oil emit greenhouse gases. Energy use in residential, commercial, and small-to-medium industrial buildings accounts for 37 per cent of Prince George's greenhouse gas emissions.
Build New, Energy-Efficient Buildings
Require energy-efficient buildings and help builders transition to the new BC Energy Step Code.
Use More Wood in Buildings
Wood stores carbon and is less energy-intensive compared to other products like steel. Using wood in buildings also supports local industry and expertise.
Retrofit Existing Buildings
Connect people to rebate programs and provide financial incentives and legal advice to reduce energy use in existing buildings.
Vehicles emit carbon dioxide when they burn gasoline and diesel. Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles account for half of all GHGs in Prince George.
Support Active Travel
Improve infrastructure to reduce vehicle use and make it easier for people to walk and bike around the city.
Add new routes, improve schedules, and make other improvements to increase transit use.
Encourage Electric Vehicles
Provide more public charging stations, encourage home and work charging options, and consider initiatives that encourage electric vehicle ownership.
3. Waste and Food
Methane (a potent greenhouse gas) forms when biodegradable waste decomposes. Waste and food GHGs account for 13 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Prince George.
Divert Yard, Garden, and Kitchen Waste from Landfills
Provide information and services to help residents reduce waste. Examples include education, organic composting options, curbside collection, and new renewable gas options.
Support Local Food Production
Encourage local food production and continue to support local farmers markets.
4. Land Use
The way communities are built affects how people live and travel. Land use impacts greenhouse gas emissions.
Encourage Connected and Compact Urban Living
Make Streets About People, not just Vehicles
- Restrict development in the city's outlying areas.
- Encourage new housing and building developments in established neighbourhoods (infill development).
- Encourage compact community growth around hubs like transit, shops, parks, and other amenities.
Focus on designing streets for walkers, cyclists, and transit users.
Plant and Grow More Trees
Protect and grow the city's urban forest and preserve existing tree canopies.
5. Renewable Energy
Using existing waste to create new energy will help reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions.
Produce Renewable Natural Gas Using Organics
Explore ways to use organic materials (e.g. yard, garden, and kitchen waste) to produce renewable natural gas. This will also help offset local natural gas consumption.
Increase Connections to the Downtown Renewable Energy System
- Encourage downtown buildings to connect to the City's District Energy System (DES). The DES uses waste heat from Lakeland sawmill to heat 11 downtown buildings.
- The DES has significant capacity to heat other buildings in the downtown area. Connecting more buildings to the DES can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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How You Can Fight Climate Change
- Wear a sweater or use a blanket at home instead of turning up the heat.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs.
- Unplug chargers and small appliances when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry.
- Run dishwashers only when they're full or, if washing by hand, rise in cold water.
For more information:
- Produce less waste by recycling, composting, or purchasing items made with bio-degradable or compostable materials.
- Set up a backyard compost and turn food products and yard waste into natural fertiliser for lawns and gardens.
For more information:
USE ALTERNATE TRANSPORT
- Take advantage of the transit system.
- Carpool whenever possible.
- Walk or bike instead of driving short distances.
For more information:
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How the City is Fighting Climate Change
In 2004, the City of Prince George identified opportunities to reduce fleet fuel costs and, at the same time, develop a program to help improve air quality. An Anti-idling Campaign was created to help the City meet its environmental objectives in the areas of greenhouse gas emission reduction, improved air quality, energy use conservation, noise reduction, and efficient resource use.
A community-wide Vehicle Idle-Free Program was developed to educate businesses, local government, educational institutions, and residents on the benefits of implementing an Idle-Free program for their fleets and personal vehicles to increase fuel efficiencies and to reduce harmful vehicle emissions.
The City Fleet Idling Policy was approved by Council in 2010 to reduce unnecessary idling of vehicles used by city operations, transit buses, contracting equipment, and residents within the community.
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The City of Prince George shares a 100 per cent electric vehicle, a Nissan Leaf, through an Memorandum of Understanding with the Fraser Fort-George Regional District, Northern Health, and the University of Northern British Columbia. The car has proven to be a reliable, zero-emission fleet vehicle.
A new Chevy Bolt was also added to the City fleet in June 2018. The vehicle is expected to save the City around 5,000 litres of gas and nearly 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents over a period of seven years.
Prince George joined the Fleet Champions Program in December 2016 as an On-Ramp Partner and pledged to "Evaluate Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) as part of all fleet purchases and leases (including, but not requiring, piloting the use of a small number of ZEVs) AND annually revisiting this pledge to consider a higher ZEV procurement goal".
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Partners for Climate Protection
The City of Prince George joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program in 2002. The PCP program provides a framework to define goals for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Prince George's plan includes actions to be taken at both the corporate (i.e. municipality operations) and community levels.
The PCP program is based on five milestones:
|MILESTONE 1||Create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory forecast.|
|MILESTONE 2||Set a reduction target.|
|MILESTONE 3||Develop a Local Action Plan.|
|MILESTONE 4||Implement a Local Action Plan.|
|MILESTONE 5||Measure progress and report results.|
The City of Prince George achieved Milestone 5 in 2011 and was one of the first five communities in Canada to do so.
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Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP)
Climate action is a key Provincial priority and local governments are partners in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and creating complete, compact, and energy-efficient communities.
The Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) is a conditional grant program that provides funding to BC Climate Action Charter signatories equivalent to 100 per cent of the carbon taxes they pay directly. This funding supports local governments in their efforts to achieve Charter goals.
The City of Prince George sends information to the Province on a yearly basis through CARIP reports. These reports detail the City's corporate greenhouse gas emissions and actions taken to reduce them:
For more information:
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Corporate Energy Management
Downtown Renewable Energy System
Originally built in 2012, the Downtown Renewable Energy System now delivers heat to 11 buildings throughout downtown including the Law Courts, City Hall, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, and the RCMP detachment on Victoria Street. The fuel comes from Lakeland Mills, which burns sawmill residue to heat water, which is then distributed through a piping system throughout the downtown area. Using a renewable fuel – biomass – instead of a fossil fuel – natural gas – has the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by close to 2,000 tons per year.
Prince George Aquatic Centre Boiler Upgrade
The Aquatic Center boilers were upgraded to condensing boilers saving 4,380 GJ per year which is equivalent to heating 42 homes for an entire year
RCMP Building Solar Wall
The solar wall at the RCMP detachment downtown pre-heats air for the building saving 150 GJ of energy per year. This is equivalent to 4,500 litres of gasoline. In 2015, Prince George won the Community Energy Association's Climate and Energy Action award in recognition of the significant energy reduction initiatives in the RCMP building.
CN Centre Lighting Upgrade
The CN Centre Arena lighting was upgraded to LED, saving 250,000 kWh per year. This is equivalent to the annual electricity use of 23 homes.
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