Local Government Climate Change Mitigation

Climate change mitigation refers to efforts taken by local governments to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases.

Municipalities and regional districts in B.C. play an important role in climate change mitigation. Currently 187 out of 190 local governments have signed the B.C. Climate Action Charter. By signing the Charter local governments commit to taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their corporate operations as well as taking steps to reduce community-wide emissions.

Corporate Climate Change Mitigation

Under the B.C. Climate Action Charter local governments commit to becoming carbon neutral in their corporate operations. Many local governments develop corporate climate action plans.

When local government leaders work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own corporate operations, they lead by example and set the stage for citizens, business and industry to take action and help move whole communities towards greater energy efficiency and sustainability.

Local governments are supported by:

  • Carbon Neutral Framework: This unique-to-B.C. approach helps local governments determine carbon neutrality. The framework identifies four steps to tracking corporate emissions: measure, reduce, balance/off-set and report. Local governments can achieve or work towards carbon neutrality by undertaking green communities committee-approved reduction projects (for example, household organic waste composting), investing in third-party verified reduction projects (for example, biocover methane reduction or trenchless technology) or purchasing carbon off-sets.

Local governments are recognized for their efforts through:

  • Green Communities Committee Climate Action Recognition Program: This program publicly recognizes the progress and achievements of each Charter signatory towards achieving carbon neutrality based on their climate action revenue incentive program (CARIP) reports.

Local government progress toward carbon neutrality has involved the implementation of a number of innovative projects including fleet replacement and efficient heating and cooling energy systems.

Community-Wide Climate Change Mitigation

Community-wide climate change mitigation is broader in scale than mitigation at the corporate level. It can include:

  • Introducing new technologies that reduce energy consumption
  • Implementing land use planning that creates complete, compact, and energy efficient communities
  • Working with business, industry and residents to encourage a shift in their approaches to energy use

Climate Mitigation & Land Use Planning

Land use that is compact, complete, centred, connected and considers natural assets and hazards reduces emissions, supports economic, social and environmental outcomes and builds community sustainability and resilience.

The Local Government Act and the B.C. Climate Action Charter both recognize the important link between greenhouse gas reduction and land use.

  • Local governments in B.C. are required to include green house gas reduction targets, policies and actions in their official community plans and/or regional growth strategies.
  • By signing onto the Charter, local governments in B.C. have committed to supporting the development of complete, compact, more energy efficient rural and urban communities.

Other plans can be integrated with official community plans and regional growth strategies to help support the implementation of community-wide climate mitigation efforts, including:

Climate Change Mitigation Tools, Technologies & Best Practices

Tools available to local governments to support land use climate change mitigation goals include:

Community-wide climate change mitigation also involves taking steps to encourage and facilitate the implementation of new technologies and designs that require less energy to provide the same services as conventional systems.

Find out what plans, policies, projects and processes are being implemented by local governments across B.C. to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change Mitigation Engagement

Community engagement helps get residents and businesses to support community-wide climate mitigation targets.

Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation

While mitigation refers to the reduction of greenhouse gasses, adaptation involves preparing for climate changes and the impacts they will have on natural systems and communities. Some impacts include more frequent and intense storms, increasing temperatures, drought, wild fire, sea level rise and flooding.

Managing these types of risks now will protect the well-being, improve the prosperity, and lower the costs for generations to come.

Mitigation and adaptation can overlap in a few key areas including local food production and security, building construction (insulation, green roofs), infrastructure (deep lake water cooling systems) and natural systems (tree canopy and shading).