May 17 2022
The Government of BC announced yesterday that every local government around the province will soon be getting more funding to support climate action initiatives, and the increase will be especially dramatic for small communities.
The Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP) will provide predictable, stable funding for municipalities, regional districts, and Modern Treaty Nations to accelerate local climate action and implement projects. The investment will provide a significant opportunity for local governments to address the well-being of their residents while making real progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their vulnerabilities to extreme weather caused by climate change.
The new funding program comes at a critical time as communities embrace the decade of climate action and as another funding program – the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) – is discontinued. For more than a decade, CARIP provided funding to local governments equal to the carbon taxes they pay. Last year, after the Government of BC announced that it was wrapping up the CARIP program, CEA surveyed BC local governments to assess the local impact of how CARIP funds were used. The results of the CARIP Use and Impact Assessment indicated that CARIP funds were often leveraged with other funding programs to significantly increase local government capacity and implement local climate action initiatives. However, smaller communities often did not receive adequate funding to increase local capacity for climate action and were burdened by the additional reporting requirements.
Through Budget 2022, the Province provided $76 million over three years for the LGCAP and funds will be distributed to eligible governments based on each community’s population on top of a base amount of nearly $38,000. The new funding model is intended to distribute funding more equitably between smaller and larger communities. Small communities may see provincial funding for climate action increase by at least four times compared to CARIP.
"With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently urging immediate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, this increase in funding for local governments is critical and not a moment too soon. But what’s really critical is using these additional funds to significantly curb local emissions. It won’t be easy, but our experience at CEA over the last 25 years shows that creative solutions, capacity, and significant leveraging of funds can be realized through collaboration."
Dale Littlejohn, CEO of the Community Energy Association
Current examples of collaboration can be seen in CEA projects that address emissions associated with buildings and transportation – two large sources of local greenhouse gas emissions:
- New construction: The Building a Legacy program provides training for builders and local government staff on the Energy Step Code started in the Kootenays and has since expanded to Northern BC.
- Building retrofits: Retrofit Assist and the Kootenay Clean Energy Transformation work to connect homeowners with contractors in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with home heating.
- Transportation: the Charge North , Mid-Island, and Accelerate Kootenays electric vehicle charging networks have connected multiple communities and regional districts to serve thousands of kilometres of highways.
In addition to featuring collaboration involving CEA and local governments, each of these programs has demonstrated significant leveraging of initial local government financial support.
Learn more about the Government’s new local climate action fund and regional collaboration:
- The Climate Leaders Institute, being presented by CEA and the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council for local elected officials, in partnership with the UBC Sustainability Hub, will be held June 8-10 at UBC. More details and a link to register: https://bcclimateleaders.ca/cli/
- CEA will be hosting a webinar on Monday, May 30, featuring practical examples of local and regional collaboration that have resulted in additional capacity and funding to implement climate-related projects. More details and a link to register: https://ca01web.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5UudeuoqD8qHtckpusFCM5br7jrLxMuaLCN
- The Government of BC is holding a series of webinars about LGCAP starting on May 25: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/local-governments/local-government-climate-action-program#dates