Algonquin Highlands aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 per cent per sector by 2030 to help combat climate change.

AH council received a presentation on Phase 1 of a climate change plan for the township from Korey McKay, the county’s climate change coordinator, at the Feb. 6 regular council meeting.

McKay outlined the township’s current standings going into Phase 1, which incorporates milestones for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduction targets.

AH accounts for 16.5 per cent of the county’s overall corporate GHG emissions, McKay reported. According to 2018 measurements, that’s 2,587 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per year. An example comparison would be 549 passenger vehicles driven annually.

The GHG inventory by sector shows AH has 79 per cent of emissions from waste, 14 per cent from the vehicle fleet, and seven per cent from buildings.

Based on expected population growth of six per cent between 2018 and 2030, AH emissions are forecasted to rise by six per cent by 2030 if no action is taken. However, McKay noted that current population growth projections now show a possibly higher rate, so emissions would also be higher.

She recommended reduction targets of 15 to 20 per cent for buildings, 10 per cent for the fleet and 10 per cent for waste. Suggested ways to do this included switching out four light-duty vehicles for hybrid or electric versions and greater education on waste reduction and diversion.

Mayor Carol Moffatt noted it’s difficult to set targets when factors such as costs are not yet known.

“Certainly, one of the considerations of changing over light-duty vehicles in Haliburton County is geography,” said Moffatt. “I would be cautious of having any kind of electric vehicle going 15 kilometres down a muddy cottage road for a building inspection, [whether] it’s got the guts to do what needs doing in a rural environment … That technology will change and we can keep our eye on it.”

Council voted to target a reduction of 15 per cent for buildings, 10 per cent for the fleet and a more aggressive 12 per cent for waste, and recommended that the county include the target in its joint Municipal Climate Change Mitigation Plan.

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