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Nelson Gets National Recognition for Emissions Reduction Plan

The City of Nelson's planning for greenhouse gas emissions control has been noticed by Federation of Canadian Municipalities (Photo: Courtney Nash, Creative Commons, Flickr)


A national organization has recognized the City of Nelson for its work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its municipal operations. Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities reports that Nelson is one of 23 municipalities in Canada to have reached Milestone 4 in its climate change program.

The PCP’s five milestones are:

1. Create a GHG emissions inventory and forecast.

2. Set an emissions reductions target.

3. Develop a local action plan.

4. Implement the local action plan or a set of activities.

5. Monitor progress and report results.

Nelson’s accomplishment of the first four milestones has occurred as part of its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, Corporate Operations, which sets the goal of a decrease in emissions of 25% by 2015 over 2007 levels, for municipal operations.

Projects that made the difference

What did the city do to achieve success in the PCP’s Milestone 4? Fiona Galbraith, Nelson’s Corporate Energy Coordinator, in a news release, cites “smaller projects such as the insulation of doors to much larger projects like the replacement of the boilers at City Hall and the Civic Centre. Some of the projects in the works for 2012 include a lighting retrofit at the Civic Centre arena, an energy assessment of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and driver training for staff to improve fuel efficiency within our fleet.”

Dr. Mel Reasoner: it's a good start

Nelson resident and retired climate scientist Dr. Mel Reasoner says the city’s progress so far is “quite an achievement. The city has accomplished this since 2007 or so, when climate change was not really on the radar for the city. To me that says the city understands the science behind it, and understands the urgency the scientific community is expressing over the issue.”

However, Reasoner noted that there is a long way to go in order to reach the targets and suggests the PCP process “could be improved with the addition of a sixth milestone that would acknowledge when the targets have been achieved”.

Paula Kiss: Nelson (and the world) should be doing more

Councillor Paula Kiss, who was not on council when Nelson’s greenhouse gas reduction plan was developed, is guardedly positive about the PLC recognition. She thinks City Council, along with the rest of the world, should do more.

Kiss said it would be unlikely for a municipality in Canada to develop alternative energy in a way that is becoming common in Europe. “A municipality would have to really stick its neck out. So this is positive for the culture we are living in. We could do more but the culture might not be ready for it.”

Geothermal at Selkirk dorms

Having said that, Kiss pointed out that Nelson Hydro partnered with Selkirk College recently to develop geothermal energy to heat the new Selkirk dorms in Nelson. (Geothermal energy is energy generated and stored in the earth. Using it for heating uses less energy and does not depend on fossil fuels.)

In addition to the plan for reduction of greenhouse gases in its own operations, there is also a plan for the community as a whole: Nelson's  Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan.