Metro Vancouver seeking changes to Climate Action Charter deadlines as 2012 carbon neutrality deadline looms

Metro Vancouver won’t achieve carbon neutrality in 2012, as required by the BC Climate Action Charter, and wants a provincial commitment it won’t face penalties as a result, according to staff reports heading to the Metro board Friday.

The staff reports (see Section E 2.3 on the consent agenda here) are a response to the province’s Becoming Carbon Neutral — A Guidebook for Local Governments in BC, the latest version of which was released in May. Although local governments have been told they won’t be penalized for missing carbon neutrality if they are “making progress,” the reports to Metro make it clear that some fundamental problems remain, including:

  • the requirement that municipalities purchase offsets from the private sector, if necessary, to become neutral, instead of investing the money directly in greenhouse gas reductions in their own communities;
  • the lack of a clear written commitment to eliminate penalties for communities that are “making progress” but are not carbon neutral; and
  • lack of clarity on calculation of benefits from organic waste diversion.

In a related report, Metro staff warn that the region could face delays in procurement of a proposed waste to energy plant and up to $3 million in new costs for the existing plant under the province’s cap and trade plans.

Just growing pains? Or a sign that the Climate Action Plan is coming unravelled?