The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) is inviting residents to have further input in developing a climate protection plan for their area.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the municipality weighed in at approximately 314,000 tonnes last year - 12.5 times more than the Statue of Liberty - according to a news release issued by the municipality on November 3.
Moreover, it suggested, "Not including emissions from transportation, the average MODL resident generates about 6.4 tonnes of CO₂e annually, which contributes to climate change."
A survey is now available that asks residents "if they want to keep the status quo, take baby steps, show leadership, or make big transformations, in our efforts to fight climate change," stated the release.
To achieve the next level in its commitment to helping minimize climate change, "MODL must work with members of the public to set a community GHG emissions reduction target."
MODL declared a climate emergency in October, 2019, and made a public commitment to taking action on climate change by joining the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program, a network of Canadian municipal governments whose aim is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect the climate.
The municipality completed Milestone 1 under the program in September, which involved the creation of both a community and corporate GHG emissions inventory, as well as a 10-year business-as-usual emissions forecast.
The municipality calculated that residential buildings produced the bulk of the total 314,000 tonnes of GHG emissions -159,724.37 tonnes - in 2019.
Commercial, institutional and industrial buildings were less than a third of that - 46,954.39 tonnes. Community vehicles were at 90,861.54, while community waste ranked the lowest at 16,806.11 tonnes.
"Through this process MODL has gained a deeper understanding of where our emissions come
from as well as insight into what we can expect emissions levels to look like in MODL in the
future," MODL said in a news release announcing the completion of Milestone 1 which it issued October 26.
Zachary Thompson , the municipality's sustainability coordinator, confirmed one of the key issues to be addressed is residential electricity consumption.
"Electricity has to come from the grid. And the grid in Nova Scotia is mostly powered by coal ..." he told LighthouseNOW. To a lesser degree, it's also produced by oil, natural gas, hydro, wind and biomass.
The weight of the municipality's residential electricity consumption may be even greater now, since the inventory was taken pre-pandemic. Since March, more and more people have been staying at home, both for work and recreation, boosting domestic energy consumption.
"Yeah, it's all pre-COVID. It's our 2019 inventory," Thompson said referring to the statistics.
In any case, MODL's sustainability coordinator insisted it's not for the municipality to dictate steps the community must take toward a more sustainable future.
"One of the big things about the emissions plan is that it really has to be driven by the community.... It's going to have to be the community that tells us what's their appetite for change, what's their appetite for future reduction,what people can do and want to do," he said.
To have their say through the survey, residents can go to https://engage.modl.ca/local-climate-change-action-plan on the internet.