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UBC Theses and Dissertations

British Columbia's 'carbon neutral government' mandate : influence on infrastructure decisions Lau, Kim Yang


The ‘carbon neutral government’ mandate in British Columbia offers an excellent opportunity to study whether requiring public sector organizations to be ‘carbon neutral’ is an effective policy within an overall strategy to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While many have criticized the use of offsets to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’ and channeling of public funds to the private sector, others have pointed out that the mandate has forced public sector organizations to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, and incentivized them to proceed with infrastructure projects that significantly reduced these emissions. Using a mixed methods case study approach, four post-secondary educational institutions in the Greater Vancouver region were selected, to investigate whether the ‘carbon neutral government’ mandate has influenced their decisions on infrastructure investments that would significantly reduce these organizations’ emissions. Through analyzing data on greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and expert interviews, this study provides a better understanding of the factors that motivate public sector organizations to take action to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, including the need to provide adequate resources and support mechanisms that will enable them to act so as to achieve the best possible policy outcome.

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