Celebrating Delta’s Environmental Successes
May 30, 2016
On May 16, 2016, after eight years of committed and groundbreaking work towards mitigating Delta’s corporate carbon footprint, Delta staff found a reason to celebrate.
Not only had staff met the ambitious target of a 20% reduction in corporate emissions from 2007, a goal previously unheard of by municipal governments, but they had surpassed the target, clocking a final reduction rate of 21%. These efforts, under the leadership and guidance of Mayor Lois E. Jackson and Chief Administrative Officer George V. Harvie, were detailed at the Regular Meeting, where Delta Council received the 2015 Climate Action Report. On top of outlining these successes, the report also provided recommended updates to the Corporate Climate Change Initiative, including new goals for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Delta’s unprecedented prioritization of the environment dates back to 2007, when climate action was only beginning to be regularly discussed by municipal governments. Mayor Jackson challenged Delta Council, staff, businesses and residents to collectively reflect upon our energy usage and consider the changes we could make. What resulted was the creation of the Climate Action and Environment division, an interdepartmental Climate Change Working Group comprised of climate leaders from the organization, and the development of the comprehensive, multi-layered Corporate Climate Change Initiative. The Initiative featured several targets that aimed at decreasing energy consumption and waste generated through municipal services and operation of civic facilities and was endorsed by Delta Council.
With the 2007 emissions of 7,411 tonnes of CO2e (greenhouse gas emissions) as a baseline, Delta set the Corporate goal at a 20% reduction in emission levels by 2015, a difficult challenge in any regard. Fortunately, Delta’s commitment to being environmentally responsible manifested in significant action to help attain these goals, including major energy retrofits at Sungod Recreation Centre and Ladner Leisure Centre, which reduced levels by 29% and 41%, respectively. Furthermore, the reduced emission levels were met while continuing to expand municipal services.
Achieving Delta’s climate action goals are a part of a larger framework including nine plans of action, as identified in the Corporate Climate Change initiative, including:
- Building Efficiency Plan
- Green Fleet Management Plan
- Infrastructure Improvement Plan
- Urban Forest Management Plan
- Education and Training Plan
- Flood Management Plan
- Natural Areas Management Plan
- Sustainable Development Management Plan
- Outreach and Education Plan
In addition to the emission reduction targets, this framework facilitated a variety of achievements outlined in the 2015 Climate Action Report. Notably, Delta has been identified as a Carbon Neutral municipality since 2012, and has obtained enough carbon offset credits from the household organic waste collection program and the Vancouver Landfill Gas Capture Optimization Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Project to continue the trend of carbon neutrality. Furthermore, Delta assessed 20 large scale developments using the Green Growth Index, planted 630 new trees as part of the Trees for Tomorrow and Urban Reforestation Programs, and installed two elementary school rain gardens.
The updates to the Corporate Climate Change Initiative in 2016 set out a variety of goals that build upon the 2015 successes. These updates include the revision of the Zoning Bylaw, the proposal for electric vehicle charging infrastructure installation, the construction of four more rain gardens, native plant restoration at the North 40 habitat, cycling infrastructure improvements throughout Delta, and the purchase of five hybrid vehicles for the Delta fleet, among many others.
Delta’s Climate Change Initiative was created to be proactive in addressing the human impact on climate change. With our evolving environment as a priority, Delta has identified the need for leadership to provide a healthy future for our children and grandchildren. Through these achievements, Delta has proven that the steps that need to be taken are achievable, if not necessary.
For more information about Delta’s approach to creating a sustainable future, visit Delta.ca/Environment.