Executive Summary

Executive Summary 

The Climate Action Plans in the following pages enables the Villages of Queen Charlotte to achieve its commitments under the Climate Action Charter and the requirements of Bill 27, the Green Communities Act. The strategies outlined herein are intended to do significantly more, including: 
  • Reducing energy costs;
  • Addressing air quality and solid waste issues;
  • Creating economic development opportunities;
  • Engaging the community; and
  • Improving quality of life.
Climate change is an important issue for many residents of Haida Gwaii. In our discussions, energy security was presented as a more appropriate lens to address the issue of climate change. Residents are currently dependent on gasoline, heating oil, propane and diesel for critical energy needs. Price fluctuations in these fuels have the potential to significantly disrupt life on Haida Gwaii. An energy security approach aims to increase local capacity to generate energy from renewable sources, encourage local agriculture and stimulate the local economy. All of these strategies will also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Corporate and community GHG emissions inventories are attached in the following pages. The following high level observations were noted for the project: 

1. Compact communities. All three municipalities on Haida Gwaii are compact communities with a much higher proportion of cycling and walking rates than the provincial averages. The compact nature of the communities creates the possibility for district energy. Municipalities can continue to support this pattern of development through their Official Community Plans. For each of the three municipalities we were able to develop a scenario that achieves the target of a 20% reduction in GHG emissions over 2007 levels by 2020. We have provided wording to include this target in the OCPs as attached documents in the community inventory sections. 

2. Revolving loan fund. An innovative revolving loan fund for energy efficiency projects, in partnership with BC Hydro and BC Ministry of Energy, is a key opportunity for increasing energy efficiency of buildings on Haida Gwaii and stimulating economic development.

3. Partnerships between municipalities. There are opportunities for the municipalities to partner on a number of strategies to reduce waste, provide economic development and save energy. 

4. The need for clean energy. Municipalities need to lobby for clean electricity generation on Haida Gwaii. The use of diesel generators significantly increases both community and corporate emissions. Electricity on the north grid produces 30 times as much GHG emissions as the BC average; the south grid produces 10 times as much GHG emissions as the BC average.

5. Community economic development. Residents of the three municipalities spent an estimated $8.5 million on vehicle fuel, electricity and home heating in 2007. These energy sources are all imported. This expenditure represents a major opportunity for community economic development as this money can be retained within the communities through improvements in energy efficiency and local generation of power using renewable sources. 

What is a climate action plan? 

A climate action plan (CAP) identifies a community’s existing energy use and GHG emissions, and identifies future trends in energy and GHG emissions based on population, land-use, technology and other factors. The CAP also identifies opportunities to reduce energy consumption and emissions through policy and other mechanisms available to a municipality. A CAP includes analysis of the social, environmental and economic impacts of the strategies.

SSG’s approach to CAP has three key characteristics:

1. Builds on existing capacity: Communities in BC already have extensive expertise and experience that they can incorporate in a CAP. Identifying this capacity can transform an overwhelming problem into practical and grounded solutions and benefits. This approach is called Asset-Based Community Development.

2. Focuses on critical interventions:
The most critical aspect of a CAP is land-use planning. Land-use planning determines the long-term characteristics of a community, such as the way in which people move around and the types of dwellings constructed. Thoughtful land-use planning not only reduces GHG emissions now but also lays the framework for significant reductions into the future. Land-use planning that reduces GHG emissions also improves health outcomes, facilitates district energy systems, is more affordable for community members and improves quality of life. It is a win-win-win solution.

3. Addresses key barriers: In our research work and our consulting work with municipalities, governance and financing are two key barriers for a CAP. The financial and GHG benefits from energy efficiency improvements cannot be unlocked without up front capital. Without specialized engineering expertise, energy efficiency upgrades will fail to capture the “low-hanging fruit” projects. SSG includes what has been considered the “soft” part of a CAP, financing and governance, because it is critical to success.