Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources, and David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, announced the $44 million (US$29 million) plan for the federal government which owns or leases some 25 million square metres of floor space and 23,000 on-road vehicles, as well as fleet vessels, air crafts, off-road vehicles and specialized military equipment. “As the country’s single largest enterprise we have an obligation to show strong, visible leadership in reducing emissions,” said Minister Goodale. “To reduce energy consumption, we will make energy efficiency improvements on buildings, put the federal garage in order, and buy more ‘green power’.”

The governmental strategy forms the first part of The Government of Canada’s Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change, released in October 2000, which pledged up to $500 million (US$ 329 million) over five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see related story). Canada faces an uphill struggle to control its emissions which have already risen 19% above the level set under the Kyoto Protocol (see related story). Recognising that government initiatives “have not accomplished what they were designed to do”, Minister Anderson said: “We have got to set a better example and we will.”

The government has now committed to purchasing 20% of its electricity requirements from renewable sources to encourage the production and uptake of renewables and voluntary green power markets. Among the initiatives announced are:

  • the encouragement of all federal departments and agencies to participate in emission reduction efforts with best practice information provided in the areas of employee awareness, staff training, solid waste management, GHG-responsible procurement practices, and by supporting public transit and green commuting;
  • the provision of planning and contracting advice to ensure more sustainable building construction;
  • the promotion of life cycle costing, best-in-class vehicle identification, and use of alternative fuels such as ethanol in federal transport;
  • the replacement of “most” of the federal government’s carbon-based electricity supplies with cleaner choices such as wind and solar and the support of on-site renewable energy projects; and
  • tracking progress through a central GHG inventory with results to be reported annually.

Minister Anderson also announced the release of Progress in Pollution Prevention 1999-2000, a report showcasing federal achievements in incorporating pollution prevention into its own activities and those of its partners including other levels of government, private industry, the Canadian public and the international community.

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