Carbon Neutral Government
British Columbia has shown global leadership and has made a strong commitment to action by becoming a carbon neutral government in 2010 - an unprecedented achievement for provincial or state government in North America.
In July 2016, British Columbia achieved its sixth consecutive year of carbon neutral government operations. For more information, see the news release or Carbon Neutral Government – Year in Review 2015 (PDF).
Recently, the government released Leading by Example: The First Five Years of Carbon Neutral Government in British Columbia (PDF) report, which showcases the outcomes of BC’s leadership and enabling Carbon Neutral Government legislation.
Recognizing that government is responsible for the carbon pollution that it generates, carbon neutrality is about achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This commitment covers the entire provincial public sector including schools, post-secondary institutions, government offices, Crown corporations and hospitals.
- Reduce emissions as much as possible each year;
- Measure any remaining GHG emissions from buildings, vehicle fleets, paper use, and government travel;
- Purchase an equivalent amount of emission reductions (offsets) to get to net-zero; and
- Report on achievements.
British Columbia's PSOs and Local Governments are reducing energy use, saving money and supporting jobs that are being created by these energy projects - improving their communities now and into the future. For information on Local Government carbon neutral programs, visit the BC Climate Action Toolkit website.
Being carbon neutral is a four-step process:
The Carbon Neutral Corner is the location where all PSOs will find reference material and documents to help them fulfill their carbon neutral requirements.
Funding emission reductions saves money on energy costs
Realizing emission reductions that also reduce energy and operating costs is important as the public sector spends in excess of $400 million each year on energy costs. For every 1% improvement in energy efficiency, we save over $4 million in fuel costs each year.
To kick-start carbon neutral efforts and recognizing that the majority of PSO energy use takes place in their buildings, government created the $75 million Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) in 2007. The program leveraged an additional $50 million and funded 247 projects in schools, hospitals, colleges, universities and other government buildings across the province. “From this point forward, every government building in our province will be carbon neutral, and that is spurring innovation in our growing clean energy and clean-tech sectors, which is helping create jobs for British Columbians,” said then Environment Minister Terry Lake. “By providing capital funding for clean energy and conservation projects upfront, organizations are realizing savings that can be reinvested in front-line services.”
Following the three-year PSECA funding program the government launched the Carbon Neutral Capital Program. As of 2012, as part of ongoing funding to support their energy efficiency upgrades, all school districts are able to apply for funding for projects that will help them reduce emissions and save energy costs. In 2014, the $5 million fund originally allocated to school districts, was expanded to include health authorities and post-secondary institutions. Across these three provincial public sub-sectors, there is now $14.5M/year available for capital investments dedicated to reducing energy costs, demonstrating clean technology and lowering carbon emissions.
Read the News Releases:
- 2016 - B.C.’s carbon neutrality reduces emissions, creates job
- 2015 - B.C. celebrates five consecutive carbon neutral years
- 2014 - Carbon Neutral Capital Program expanded
- 2013 - B.C. carbon neutral for third consecutive year
- 2012 - School districts get funding for energy efficiency upgrades
- 2011 - Carbon-neutral B.C.: A first for North America