The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) declared a climate action imperative at their latest board meeting, held Oct. 30 in Grand Forks.
The declaration recognizes that the regional district and its communities are already facing significant impacts of climate change, including flood, forest fires, drought and storm events.
“This declaration was made after a great deal of debate around our board table, and I’m thrilled to be able to say we agreed unanimously to declare a climate action imperative,” says Roly Russell, RDKB board chair.
“It is a powerful statement that will guide what we do to address one of the most pressing global, national, provincial and regional issues in front of us as politicians and citizens.”
The declaration directs staff to report back within 180 days on the status of actions presently being taken and on additional action that could be taken to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
These actions include what the RDKB will do to meet corporate and community targets; what the regional district is already doing to adapt to climate change; and, what the RDKB can do in the short, medium and long term at both the corporate and community levels to reduce GHG emissions further.
“Climate change is affecting our region, that’s abundantly clear,” Russell said. “What we have declared is substantive and directly tied to climate action on the ground for ourselves as an organization and for our communities. This is not a symbolic statement,” he emphasized.
“It is a commitment to support real change in how we behave as a local government, and to make it clear that we care.”
The RDKB joins other local governments in Canada who have also made similar declarations.
Within the West Kootenay region, the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the City of Rossland have declared their own climate action imperatives and a growing list of jurisdictions around the world have recently declared or officially acknowledged the existence of a global climate crisis.
Climate points provided by the RDKB:
· The joint Provincial-UBCM Green Communities Committee (GCC) recognizes the RDKB as a climate leader for achieving Level 3, the second highest level in a four-level program toward becoming fully carbon neutral.
· GCC Level 3 recognition means the RDKB has accelerated its progress on commitments to act at the corporate and community levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
· The RDKB reports its GHG results to the GCC and the public through the RDKB Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and the annual Climate Action Revenue Incentive Report.
· Since 2012, the RDKB has steadily reduced net emissions by about 374 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
· The RDKB has several commitments and projects underway that support preparation for climate adaptation and commitment to mitigation, including, but not limited to:
• Mitigation Targets
– The RDKB unincorporated areas Community Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction target is 33% below 2007 levels by 2020.
– The RDKB unincorporated areas Corporate GHG reduction target is 34% below 2008 levels by 2024.
• Mitigation Activities
– Implementation of the 2016 RDKB Strategic Community Energy and Emissions Plan.
– Implementation of the 2019 RDKB Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan that will deliver the RDKB corporate reduction targets.
– Sponsor and participate in the Selkirk College regional study “Building the Columbia Basin-Boundary Region’s Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change.”