Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and poses major threats to human health, biodiversity, and economic development. In the past seven decades, the average temperature in Canada has risen by nearly 1.7 degrees Celsius, with temperature increases of 2.3 degrees Celsius observed in Canada’s northern areas.
The government of Canada has adopted a Greening Government Strategy (GGS) framework with a goal to achieve net-zero emissions and climate-resilient government operations by 2050. GGS is a multi-pronged approach that includes retrofitting buildings, procuring more electric vehicles, and staffing arrangements that will give employees greater flexibility to set their office schedules.
Key Focus Areas under the Greening Government Strategy:
Buildings (Properties and workspaces)-
- Ensuring that new and retrofitted buildings are net zero carbon and highly energy efficient. Focus on 100% clean electricity by 2022 wherever possible and latest by 2025. Diverting 75% operational waste by 2030.
- Using life-cycle cost analysis (carbon shadow price of $300/tonne).
- Incorporating climate-resilient design and minimizing ecosystem damage by reducing embodied carbon in buildings by 30% starting 2025.
Mobility and Fleet
- Modernizing fleets by ensuring that 75% of new vehicle purchases are zero-emission and hybrids, and moving 80% of fleet to EVs and hybrids by 2030.
- Measures to make work-from-home practices a permanent feature for federal employees and introducing greater flexibility in start times so that more public servants can avoid rush hour traffic leading to lower emissions.
Climate Resilient Services and Operations
- Understanding the climate change impacts that affect federal assets, services and operations in 2021 and developing measures to reduce these risks by 2022.
Green Procurement and Adoption of Clean Technologies
- Transitioning to a net-zero procurement of goods and services by 2050.
- For procurements with higher environmental impacts, include criteria to reduce emissions, adopt sustainable plastics and other environmental benefits.
- Encourage major suppliers to adopt an emissions reduction target and disclose emissions through incentives. Eliminate unnecessary use of single-use plastics in operations.
So far, emissions from government buildings and conventional fleet have been reduced by 34.6% as compared to 2005 levels.
Greening Government Fund
Federal government departments and agencies that produce more than one kilotonne of greenhouse gases (GHGs) each year from air travel must contribute to the Greening Government Fund. This amount is then used to fund projects to explore, test and share innovative approaches to reducing GHGs. Projects pursuing emissions solutions in difficult-to-reduce areas and those with high potential for replicability are funded by the Greening Government Fund. The Greening Government Fund has funded 27 projects so far.
Up until now, adopting the GGS has provided positive results including, the purchase of 287 hybrid and zero-emission vehicles, sourcing 90% of the government’s total electricity from clean sources, increase in the use of teleconferencing systems by the government employees and disclosure of emissions by suppliers.
To learn more about the Greening Government Strategy, check out the Greening Government Services Webinar.
By Devanshi Kukadia, Research and Communications Manager at the Clean Air Partnership