Chelsea adopts lofty climate targets
The clock is ticking.
This month, the municipality of Chelsea officially set timelines on becoming carbon neutral and reducing its greenhouse gas emission levels.
Thanks to unanimous votes by Chelsea council on July 5, the municipality will aim to cut 45 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions at the municipal level and 10 per cent of emissions from residents by 2030. It also aims for carbon neutrality by 2050.
Both of these targets were set by the Quebec and Canadian governments but Mayor Pierre Guénard hopes to achieve them early. Canada and Quebec aim to be carbon neutral by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.
“Our goal is to put everything in place to attain carbon neutrality before 2050,” he said.
He said that advances in electric vehicle technology and the reduced price of that technology will allow the municipality to add electric vehicles to the public works fleet.
These targets start the timer to achieve these goals but Chelsea already had laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and that make new buildings more efficient and insulated, and a climate change adaptation plan.
“These laws are very important to me,” Guénard said. “In Chelsea, and the MRC des Collines, we are privileged to live in such a beautiful place, and it’s ours to protect.”
He added that next year, Chelsea will adopt a natural habitat conservation plan that will protect 30 per cent of the Chelsea’s territory outside of Gatineau Park as greenspace for conservation.
“We also need to protect biodiversity,” Guénard said. “This is part of council’s priorities.”
Before July 5, Chelsea didn’t have any targets for reducing emissions, he said.
The emission target is based on the level of emissions in 2019, 2,400 tons of C02.
The 2021-2026 climate change adaptation plan council tabled in summer 2021, predicts “medium to high” risks of heat waves, winter thaws, intense rains, and snow storms that could affect municipal services, quality of life, the environment, and more.
This plan is implemented across all departments, especially public works. Guénard said that the predicted floods caused the municipality to replace broken culverts with larger-than-previously-necessary culverts.
“The plan touches every part of the municipality and every sector,” Guénard said.