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Citizens in the City of Grande Prairie will be able to breathe a little bit easier in the coming years.

The city has set its community greenhouse gas emissions target to be 6% below 2015 levels by 2035; the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 for the city was 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“The (emissions) inventory was collected through a process. We worked with a consultant to develop a calculator that stores and collects information on the greenhouse gas emissions within the community and that calculator is set to the global protocol standard...

“That allows us to look at, ‘OK, this is our baseline inventory for 2015’ and gives us the opportunity then to look at forecasting into the future and how we can go about perhaps reducing some of our energy consumption that allows us to reduce our emissions,” said Kase DeVries, environmental technologist.

The city chose 6% as it’s considered globally as an entry level marker for municipalities that are starting the process of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s important to note, the target itself can be adjusted as new information comes in. There’s no repercussions should we not meet that target in 2035, we can adjust through the years as we get more information. Places like Edmonton have done that already. Places like Whitehorse have also adjusted, but they’ve maintained a 6% reduction, they just adjusted their years. Edmonton has increased their reduction, they’re looking at a 35% reduction and stretching that out over 35 years,” said DeVries.

Ways in which the community can lower its emissions, according to DeVries, are to take advantage of the provincial government’s energy rebate incentives, using new technology and sustainable energy, and reducing consumption.

“The next step in this process is to develop a Community Energy Plan and that community energy plan would involve a lot of stakeholder engagement that will work with community residents, neighbourhood associations, and those organizations, to try and come up with what are the solutions that will work within Grande Prairie,” said DeVries.

A draft of the Community Energy Plan will be presented to council in the fall.

The city recently approved its corporate greenhouse gas emissions target at 20% below 2009 baseline levels (more than 40,000 tonnes of CO2) by 2019.

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