By Leena Ali
Halifax Regional Municipality has succeeded in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases it produces and aims to develop a new energy plan for 2020.
HRM has been committed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) “Partners in Climate Protection Program” since 1997, and has achieved the fifth milestone for Corporate Energy Reduction. The fifth milestone is the final step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Halifax is the seventh municipality in all of Canada to achieve this goal. About 900 international communities have been involved with the project.
According to Environmental Performance Officer, Lauralee Sim, HRM is looking forward to taking further steps in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases.
“We achieved milestone 5, the final step is to measure the process and report the results. We will develop a new plan and new action to see what more can be done,” says Sim.
HRM is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, and has done so through measures such as fleet downsizing, building audits and anti-idling campaigns.
Erica Butler, Station Coordinator at CKDU works on an environmental awareness show called “Habitat.” While she congratulates the city on its accomplishments, she thinks that HRM should put more focus on helping the community reduce emissions.
“We need drastic improvements to transit, more ferries, more high speed options like express buses or rail, more frequent scheduling, better navigability, and better amenities so that more of us will leave our cars home, or just not have to buy them in the first place,” says Butler.
She says the city needs improved pedestrian and bike facilities, in order to reduce energy consumption.
|“HRM Local Action Plan”|
Energy and Climate Change Coordinator, Brennan Vogel of the Ecology Action Centre, agrees that HRM needs to focus more on reducing emissions through the city’s transportation system, but says the main problem is financing these types of initiatives.
He says, “HRM is ahead of the pack but the biggest stumbling point for the municipality is the lack of funding they get from other levels of government.”
Vogel says that the Canadian taxation system make this a difficult process.
“If we are serious about this then we need to think about how it’s financed, it seems like a no brainer,” says Vogel.