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Green 'competition' needed from other cities

Lisa Coltart of BC Hydro, presents a BC Hydro 2012 Leadership Excellence Award to Mayor Malcolm Brodie at city hall recently. - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Lisa Coltart of BC Hydro, presents a BC Hydro 2012 Leadership Excellence Award to Mayor Malcolm Brodie at city hall recently.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

A veteran civic politician is challenging other municipalities to match Richmond's commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality.

"I'd like to see us challenging all the other cities and municipalities to give us some competition," said Coun. Harold Steves. "I don't really want them to beat us, but it be great if they came close."

B.C. Hydro recently recognized the city's green efforts with another Leadership Excellence Award, which demonstrates an organization's "continuous path of energy savings," according to Hydro's Lisa Coltart.

The Crown corporation has recognized Richmond's energy conservation efforts since 2003, said Coltart, during a presentation at council chambers Nov. 26.

"You've demonstrated a commitment from the city's highest administrative level," she said.

In September 2008, the city signed the BC Climate Action Charter, committing to becoming carbon neutral. Richmond's efforts have included introducing a new green standard for public buildings, integrating renewable energy systems into civic facilities and replacing city vehicles with hybrids, Smart cars and electric cars.

Smaller projects have included installing auxiliary batteries in city vehicles to power safety lights—reducing the need for idling and generators.

Steves said it's important Richmond continue its "leadership role" in the region—and the world.

"A lot of the countries in the world are not looking at climate change and not looking at cutting back on greenhouse gases. I think if we show an example here in Richmond, and our region shows an example to the rest of the world, maybe we'll get some of the others on board."

A new United Nations report proves the commitment of some countries in reducing greenhouse gases is not enough to slow rising emissions. The Emissions Gap Report, released Nov. 21 by the UN Environment Program, noted the concentration of warming gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased 20 per cent since 2000.

Steves said while Richmond is cutting back on energy use and greenhouse gases, the federal government is promoting the idea of selling energy to countries that might not have the same commitment to conservation.

Said Steves: "We don't expect our resources to be squandered when we cut back on greenhouse gases. We'd like to see other countries and other cities making those savings as well.

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