Public Sector Organizations & Climate Action

Our public sector is leading by example. Each year since 2010, B.C. has proudly achieved carbon neutral operations, maintaining a net impact of zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across public sector organizations (PSOs) including health authorities, school districts, universities, colleges, institutes, Crown corporations and government offices.

Going forward, new commitments will expand the focus of the public sector. PSOs will work toward accelerating emissions reductions more broadly, developing adaptation plans to prepare for climate change, and increasing the use of low-carbon and renewable materials in infrastructure. 

B.C.’s legislated carbon neutral government commitment is a significant first in North America–one that’s reducing emissions, saving energy costs, and spurring the development of clean technology and new jobs. Benefits of the commitment include:

  • For the 2017 reporting year, overall PSO emissions were 3.4 percent lower than they were in 2010, even as our population has grown. This translates into 27,580 tonnes - equivalent to taking about 10,000 cars off the road for one year
  • Since 2010, annual emissions have decreased over 11 percent – approximately 96,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) – after weather normalization
  • For every 1 percent improvement in energy efficiency, the British Columbia public sector saves over $4 million in annual fuel costs-savings that can be reinvested into public services such as health care and education
  • Emission offset projects tied to B.C.’s carbon neutral government program contributed $372.5 million to provincial GDP between 2008 and 2014

The provincial government changed the way it calculates the car equivalent for government’s greenhouse gas emissions. Previously, the factor used was 4.73 tonnes per car per year, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Province now calculates the equivalent using 2.8 tonnes per car per year, which better reflects B.C.-based data.

Key Reports

More information about carbon neutral government and related climate action leadership by PSOs can be found in the following reports:

Carbon Neutral Governement 2016 Year in Review