Community

Region ‘committed’ to net-zero emissions goal

York Region’s total corporate greenhouse gas emissions increased by about one per cent or 1,000 tonnes in 2023 due to increased demand for its services but were 11 per cent below target.

Total energy costs fell by two per cent from an all-time high set in 2022 to $57.1 million due to reduced global oil prices, according to the Region’s 2023 Corporate Energy Update.

“Given the increase in demand for Regional programs and services we are seeing year after year, it is ever more critical we stay committed to achieving our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “With ongoing electrification and sustainable initiatives to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we’re taking actions now for a more sustainable future.”

Also, according to the Corporate Energy Update, transit bus emissions increased to meet a 36 per cent increase in ridership last year. Non-transit fleet vehicle emissions were lower as the Region implements its Corporate Fleet Electrification Plan. Natural gas emissions from corporate buildings and facilities decreased in 2023 due to a warmer winter than previous years.

“The Region’s primary focus on ‘conservation first’ and early investments in electrification show emission reductions for fleet vehicles and buildings,” says City of Richmond Hill Mayor David West, chair of Public Works – Environmental Services. “Notable initiatives were able to save both on costs and emissions, contributing to greater climate change mitigation.”

Most corporate emissions are from fossil fuel consumption: gasoline, diesel fuel and natural gas. Innovations to electrify vehicles and buildings are one of the fastest-growing areas of climate change mitigation technology and are proving to be a dominant path toward net-zero emissions, the Corporate Energy Update notes. One-third of energy consumed by the Region is electricity and is mostly generated by emissions-free sources like nuclear, water, solar, wind and biomass and therefore contributes “a very small amount” to overall corporate emissions, the update adds.

Implementation of fleet decarbonization strategies is accelerating by purchasing of battery electric vehicles, including 75 transit buses, 10 light-duty pickup trucks and five cargo vans. The trucks and vans are estimated to reduce corporate emissions by 13 tonnes per year per vehicle.

Emissions targets are set in the Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan and support climate change mitigation priorities in the 2022 Climate Change Action Plan. Learn more at york.ca/Energy.


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