Creston town council got a reminder at its Jan. 15 regular meeting that signing on to a provincial carbon neutral commitment comes with a cost.
In response to pressure in recent years for local governments to reduce carbon emissions, three adjoining regional districts — Central Kootenay, East Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary — along with Columbia Basin Trust and some First Nations, formed their own consulting organization. The result, Carbon Neutral Kootenays, provides advice on how to reduce carbon footprints and how to mitigate target shortfalls with carbon credit purchases.
“Creston signed on to the voluntary climate action charter several years ago, committing, among other things, to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2012,” CNK’s Trish Dehnel told council.
She outlined steps the town has taken toward achieving that goal, but said that it will be as much as 300 tons of carbon emissions over neutrality when the analysis is complete.
“To meet this commitment, Creston must take responsibility for its remaining emissions by purchasing offsets,” she said.
The cost will be under $7,500, possibly much less, Dehnel said, and CNK recommends that the credits be purchased from the Darkwoods project, the forest on the southwest side of Kootenay Lake that was recently bought by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Couns. Judy Gadicke and Tanya Ducharme both questioned the value in purchasing credits, but they were reminded that Creston had signed the agreement several years ago. Dehnel said CNK is working with Kootenay communities to find suitable local projects that will offer credits by reducing carbon emissions.