Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
What is the indicator and why measure it?
This indicator measures the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originating from Regional operations, programs and services (e.g. providing energy to facilities, fuel for the fleet), services contracted to third parties (e.g. garbage collection, couriers), and indirectly through products purchased.
GHG are usually expressed as CO2e (equivalent) to include all GHGs associated with the use of energy and/or for other processes.
Impacts to the global climate are now well documented to be caused by both natural occurrences (e.g. volcano eruptions, forest fires) and emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs from human activity (e.g. driving cars). It is important to measure this indicator because as a responsible organization, we need to think globally and act locally. As a municipality, the Region of Waterloo has direct influence over a wide variety of buildings, vehicles and infrastructure as well as indirect influence on community emissions via regional policy and local land use, transportation patterns, and economic development. It is said that 44% of GHG emissions in Canada are under the direct control or indirect influence of municipalities. In the case of ensuring the region's environmental, economical, and social sustainability, the Region of Waterloo has an important leadership role to play.
GHG reduction target
A GHG emissions inventory of corporate activities was conducted using 2009 as the baseline year. The inventory results showed:
- Approximately 148,000 tonnes of GHG was released in 2009
- Forecast shows 180,000 tonnes of GHG would be released in year 2019 from expected population growth and associated expansion in Regional operation, programs and services.
The Region's new corporate GHG target is a 10% absolute reduction from 2009 emission levels by the year 2019.
Sources of GHG emissions (2011) are illustrated in the graph below:
Actions towards achieving reduction target
Over the past decade, the Region has implemented various initiatives which have reduced GHG and other air emissions from its operations. (e.g. traffic signals and lights retrofit).
2010: Regional Council passed a resolution to join the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection program and Sustainable Waterloo Region's Carbon Initiative to voluntarily prepare GHG emissions inventories, develop action plans and commit to reduction targets.
2011: The corporate GHG Inventory and Action Plan were completed in May to provide a systemic approach to emissions reduction. To view a copy of the summary report, please click on the following webpage link: Region of Waterloo's Corporate Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.
2012: Almost 25,000 tonnes of GHG has been reduced in 2012 from regional operations by the following initiatives:
- Lighting and HVAC retrofits: 500 tonnes
- New solar photovoltaic panels installation: 30 tonnes
- Methane reduction from landfill from organic waste reduction: 5,150 tonnes
- Methane destruction from solar flaring: 6,000 tonnes
- Implementation of biosolids and wastewater treatment Master Plan: 13,220 tonnes
2013: Staff prepared an updated emissions inventory which indicates the Region achieved nearly a 15% reduction of GHGs in 2011 compared to 2009 emission levels. In October 2013, Regional Council approved a more aggressive reduction target based on the success achieved to date and the identification of practical and beneficial actions to implement. It is still expected that expansion in Regional facilities, fleet (e.g. transit, police, and ambulances) will increase corporate emissions over the next several years. However, with the current action plan the Region's new corporate GHG target is a 10% absolute reduction from 2009 emission levels by the year 2019. The original GHG reduction target aims to stabilize absolute emissions at 2009 levels through to 2019. To read the full report to Council, click here.
For more information on the Region's Corporate GHG plan please contact:
Region of Waterloo, Corporate Resources
Phone: (519) 575-4757 Ext. 3308