While most of this article from Canada’s Georgia Straight discusses the upcoming Living in the Global City series of “public discussions and community events that will highlight urban sustainability,” the first paragraphs provides some encouraging news:
The University of British Columbia is on the verge of meeting the Kyoto Protocol target for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Freda Pagini, UBC’s director of sustainability, told the Georgia Straight that the institution will achieve the Kyoto goal of a six-percent reduction below 1990 levels by next year. Canada and B.C. are not even close to meeting this objective for cutting greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. Under the 1997 Kyoto agreement, signatories must meet the target between 2008 to 2012. UBC will beat the deadline by two years.
“There is a growing body of people on the campus who really want the university to be moving in this direction,” Pagini said.
Pagini noted that UBC’s greenhouse-gas reduction was achieved at the same time as the campus population increased by 24 percent. She attributed this to energy conservation and a reduction in vehicle trips. “Buildings use almost half of the energy in Canada,” she noted. “If we can make buildings that are more energy-efficient, that will save carbon emissions big-time.”
While we’re certainly talking about a relatively small community meeting the Kyoto goals (thought not that small — UBC’s website boasts a student population of about 43,000), it’s important to note that the University is achieving such progress on greenhouse gas emissions through fairly straightforward conservation measures. Perhaps more green building/rehabbing and mass transit could at least get us off the climate-change precipice we seem to be teetering over. Of course, that assumes that merely meeting Kyoto standards will have a major effect, and I’m not sure that’s the case — we probably need to shoot higher.