Earth Day 2023: Invest in Our Planet!
April 21, 2023
Alberta recently set a goal of creating a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. The plan relies on yet-to-be proven advances in technology and regulations that do not exist. It also does not set interim targets. For these reasons, the plan has received criticism of greenwashing or, at best, green wishing. Afterall, there is an election on the horizon.
However, the media notes this is the first time Alberta has aligned their climate change policy with federal targets for 2050. With this month’s release of Canada’s 2021 emissions showing the most polluting sector remains the oil and gas industry – 28% of national emissions – at least this is something.
And to be fair, many governments and corporations have jumped on the “net zero by 2050” bandwagon without a plan to get there. Where good plans exist, too often there is a painful lack of urgency to invest in implementation.
The theme for Earth Day 2023 is Invest in Our Planet. Top marks should go to Halifax this year. In 2022, they approved a 3% property tax increase dedicated to implementing their climate plan – HalifACT: Acting on Climate Together. It is anticipated that the Climate Action Tax will remain in place for at least the next 10 years, with the associated rate determined annually. 2022 funding was allocated to a reserve for climate action ($18 million) with the remainder used for related capital projects.
Some of the initial projects include a program to deliver deep energy retrofits to 5000 residential and commercial buildings, the implementation of an approved municipal electric vehicle strategy, and continued support of communities in preparing for climate events.
These funds will also be used to secure additional Federal and Provincial dollars and leverage business investment in climate action.
Shannon Miedema, Director of Environment and Climate Change at the Regional Halifax Municipality was recently recognized as a Clean16 recipient by Canada’s Clean 50 for the work her team is doing to invest in our planet.
With a long-term vision, a plan to get there, interim targets to measure progress, and funding for implementation, this is authentic climate action.
Below is a helpful infographic to have a conversation about climate action – both adapting to the impacts of a warming planet while reducing future risks. There are many ways to act on each of the measures identified and they offer many opportunities for individuals, governments, businesses or organizations alike to make a difference. This Earth Day, set your intentions to reduce emissions where you live, work and play.