While world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen this week to discuss climate change, right here in the Columbia Basin, local governments, First Nations and communities are already taking action on climate change with support from Columbia Bain Trust (CBT).
A survey conducted earlier this year confirmed that 75 per cent of communities in the Columbia Basin are already reducing emissions through retrofitting heating, insulating and other actions. The survey was part of the ">Carbon Neutral Kootenays project which recently received a Community Excellence Award
from the Union of B.C. Municipalities. Supported by CBT, this multi-year project brings together the regional districts of Central Kootenay, East Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary, local governments and First Nations to reduce emissions in their corporate operations.
"Communities and local governments told us addressing climate change is priority," said Neil Muth, CBT predent and CEO. "It's our role to help communities in the Columbia Basin achieve their goals and we are going that by providing technical and financial resources across a range of climate change initiatives."
In addition to the Carbon Neutral Kootenays project, CBT is helping three communities develop climate change adaptation plans. The CBT-led Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative has already assisted the ">City of Kimberley and the District of Elkford finalize action plans and strategies that will help them adapt to the expected local impacts of climate change.
Rossland, Castlegar and the Village of Kaslo, together with the Regional District
of Central Kootenay Area D, are starting similar planning processes with
assistance from CBT. When complete, these three communities will be
better prepared to meet the challenges of the future under a range of
climate change scenarios.
"We are helping communities by providing technical support, access to
climate scientists and project management coordination in addition to
funding," said Kindy Gosal, CBT director, Water and Environment. "The
expertise and knowledge we can convene and bring to local communities is
In collaboration with academics and climate change scientists, CBT has
developed several technical reports and summaries which outline expected
local changes in temperature and precipitation. Based on this science,
the predicted local impacts of climate change include warmer winters,
drier summers, and melting glaciers. A more detailed analysis and
summary of the current science is available at www.cbt.org/climatechange.
As part of its own efforts to reduce corporate emissions and meet government requirements to become carbon neutral, CBT has taken steps to develop a corporate Carbon Neutral Action Plan which will be finalized in the New Year.