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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from government operations

Target 8.5: The Government of Canada will take action now to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, to match the national target of 17% below 2005 by 2020.

Plans are in place to achieve reductions in GHG emissions of 3% below base year levels by 2012–2013.

Standardized tracking and reporting is now done annually across departments.

The 15 departments subject to this target are required to reduce GHG emissions from their buildings and fleets. They account for over 95% of GHG emissions from buildings and fleets owned by Federal Sustainable Development Act departments.

To reduce GHG emissions, a key first step is to properly measure emissions-and establish a base-year inventory. All departments subject to the GHG emission reduction target have quantified their base-year emission levels for fiscal year 2005–2006, in accordance with the Federal Greenhouse Gas Tracking Protocol–A Common Standard for Federal Operations. The aggregate of the 15 departments' GHG emissions in the base year was 1,322 kilotonnes, in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

By the end of fiscal 2011–2012, 13 departments (87%) had put in place a GHG emission reduction implementation plan. Various GHG reduction strategies, such as energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits, renewable power purchases, and fleet rationalization and renewal, are currently underway.

Natural Resources Canada's greenhouse gas reduction efforts

To meet its 17% GHG reduction target, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has planned activities under its Low Carbon Initiative. These include major energy retrofits at select NRCan facilities, greening Information Technology projects, workspace consolidation, recommissioning and continuous building optimization.

NRCan incorporates energy efficiency into its governance practices, increases employee engagement and provides energy awareness training.

Under the Accelerated Infrastructure Program, projects in 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 included various energy-saving upgrades and replacements, such as energy-efficient lighting, building envelope sealings, and new chillers and boilers.

Beginning fiscal year 2011–2012, all 15 departments are measuring their progress and reporting their GHG emissions on an annual basis. These data are published as part of annual Departmental Performance Reports.

In the short term, planned reductions reported by the 15 departments would cut government-wide GHG emission levels to 3% below base-year levels by the end of fiscal year 2012–2013. As currently planned in the departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities (2012–2013), the government is on track to achieve a 12% decrease in emission levels relative to the base year by fiscal year 2020–2021. A projected gap of about 5% highlights the need for additional efforts in order to achieve the 17% federal target. It should be noted that the projected decrease is subject to change over time as departments analyze their data, refine their strategies and adopt new technologies.

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