30-year climate initiative set to come before HRM council
Proposals include more electric vehicles, increased use of solar panels
HalifACT 2050, a climate-change plan to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95 per cent over the next three decades, will be presented to Halifax Regional Council on Tuesday.
According to HRM environment officials: "The ability to address the remaining 5% will improve over the next 30 years as new technologies and fuel sources such as hydrogen are developed."
The Nova Scotia government has set an interim goal to reduce its emissions by 53 per cent by 2030. The HalifACT scenario calls for a steeper decline in the short term.
The 300-page report includes 45 recommendations for change.
Electric vehicles, more solar panels
The proposals range from creating a fleet of electric vehicles for the municipality to installing 1,300 rooftop solar panels, and reducing energy consumption within the wastewater treatment system by eliminating storm water runoff.
Some municipal projects are already including climate-change goals. A new fire station in Williamswood will include a solar electric system.
There are also suggestions to better prepare communities for the impact of climate change, and not just when it comes to coastal flooding.
There are suggestions to improve food security by having freezers and backup generators at libraries to preserve food during power outages.
Changes worth billions
The report acknowledges the cost of all these changes could be in the billions over the next 30 years.
It points out thousands of jobs connected to the climate-action plan will also be created and there could be millions of dollars in annual savings. It says the cost of inaction on climate change will continue to grow.
The report suggests that funding for the programs may need "green bonds" or a "green tax." The addition of six staff members in 2021 to work on the plan would cost about $850,000 a year.
The plan received several letters of support from a variety of organizations including the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, the Coastal and Ocean Information Network and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Nova Scotia.
The report indicated that Halifax would need widespread community support for HalifACT 2050.