||Burning fossil fuels is dramatically increasing the atmospheric concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These are heat trapping gases but their normal balance that acts to keep the earth warm and sustain life is shifting into a more threatening phenomenon know as climate change. It is commonly perceived as the most important environmental issue of our time.
Although CO2 levels are considered the main culptrit of climate change, there are other human made gases that are an integral part of the picture. Dealing with one helps deal with the other leading to multiple improvements known as co-benefits. For example, a program such as vehicle emissions testing is effective in reducing N0x, SO2, and VOCs, all of which contribute to smog, acid rain, and global warming. CO2 reduction is another co-benefit of reduction measures for the other gases.
In 1997, Canada, along with many other world leaders adopted the Kyoto Protocol - an international agreement that addresses climate change and commits signatory, developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gases by 5.2% from 1990 levels by 2008-2010. Although the Federal Government withdrew from the protocol in 2012, the province of British Columbia continues to promote it's own Climate Action Charter (CAC). The CAC is a voluntary provincial charter created to recognize the shared commitment of municipalities and the Province of BC in addressing climate change. It focuses on the reduction of emissions from municipal corporate operations including transportation, buildings, and solid waste. In 2007, the City of Port Alberni signed on to the Climate Action Charter (CAC).
Full Climate Action Charter
From December 2007 to May 2008, a Climate Change Committee met to advise on implementing the City's commitment under the CAC in order to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.
Climate Change Committee Executive Summary