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Our take: Cleaner air a growth industry in Cowichan

The hype about the sweeping carbon-neutral policies enacted by Gordon Campbell during his stint in office has faded as quickly as the love voters held for the former premier.

That doesn’t change the fact municipalities across the province all signed deals pledging them to be carbon neutral by the end of this year. And it doesn’t alter the reality that higher government and corporate bodies are also faced with increased pressure to reduce their carbon footprints.

Each of these bodies have been — and continue to be — taking steps to reduce their emissions. Powersmarting public facilities and trading their gas-guzzling vehicles for hybrids and biodiesel-powered cars and trucks are just two of the steps. But for most, that is not enough to meet their obligations under the Climate Action Charter and other regulations.

And to bridge the gap between targets and realities, there is the carbon offset. Essentially, a carbon offset is a project that is reducing the level of greenhouse gas being pumped into the atmosphere. Clean energy projects like wind power or solar are the most commonly cited examples. But there are several other things that qualify, things as varied as planting trees and providing energy audits.

Cowichan is at the forefront of this with Cowichan Energy Alternatives creating the Community Carbon Marketplace, a place where people who need carbon offsets can purchase them from local people who can provide them.

The good news is that means local bodies like the City of Duncan can purchase their carbon offsets right here at home, instead of buying them outside of Cowichan. The better news is people outside of Cowichan can buy them here.

In other words, we’re growing the local economy by cleaning the environment. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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