July 29, 2009: Whistler, BC – The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has become the first municipality in British Columbia to approve a policy that will see its carbon tax rebate from the Province go to reducing emissions in both the community and municipal operations.

The RMOW’s newly created Climate Action Innovation Fund gets its funding from the province’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP). The CARIP is a rebate of the carbon tax paid by municipalities on fossil fuel use in municipal operations. As municipal operations make up a small percentage of Whistler’s total emissions, the Climate Action Innovation Fund will also be made available to help other organizations in the community reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Non-profit organizations will be able to apply for up to 50 per cent of the CARIP money in order to fund long-term capacity building and training programs related to greenhouse gas emissions management in Whistler’s commercial sector. The remaining 50 per cent is available for emission reductions projects within the RMOW’s operations. The internal fund was created by the RMOW’s CARIP Policy, which states that the CARIP funds will only be spent on projects to reduce carbon emissions and not be used for the following:

  • Spent on fossil fuels;
  • Used to relieve the RMOW’s carbon tax burden;
  • Used to purchase carbon offsets.

“Establishing a policy to implement the Climate Action Innovation Fund is another clear step forward on our way to carbon neutrality as a municipality,” said Mayor Ken Melamed. “We will use every tool available to accelerate the net reduction of emissions across our resort community. Every sector has a role to play in the shared responsibility of this global challenge, and this new policy includes the business sector in our action-oriented approach.”

Applications for the Climate Action Innovation Fund will be available on the RMOW website, with the first round of eligibility beginning in 2010.

The RMOW is eligible for the CARIP as an early signatory to the Climate Action Charter, and has already received its first CARIP payment from the province. As a signatory to the Climate Action Charter, the RMOW has committed to becoming carbon neutral in corporate operations by 2012, as well as measuring community wide greenhouse gas emissions.

The first round of CARIP funding will be distributed to the Whistler Chamber of Commerce to support Whistler businesses to participate in the Climate Smart program in the fall of 2009. The Climate Smart workshop will be delivered by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability and Climate Smart.

Climate Smart (a program of Ecotrust Canada) is a comprehensive, business case-based training that takes enterprises through the process of creating a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and developing effective energy and emissions reduction strategies with a focus on cost savings and brand lift. It is designed to provide businesses with the tools to become more competitive in an era of carbon regulation and volatile energy prices.

For further information on the Climate Action Innovation Fund and the CARIP Policy, please contact:

Naomi Devine
RMOW Sustainability Coordinator