VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver is committing to a new climate strategy it states is tied to the current “climate emergency.”
In addition to a reduction of 45 per cent by 2030, Vancouver is committing to a new target of negative emissions by 2050, with an objective of limiting warming to 1.5 C.
“The 1.5 C limitation is a guiding target in the Paris Agreement, and it represents a level of global warming that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change and avoid overwhelming society’s capacity to adapt,” the department of planning, urban design sustainability staff report stated.
Vancouver is committing to six ‘big moves’ to reduce carbon pollution emissions from buildings and transportation, a statement said. Among the goals are ensuring 90 per cent of people in the city live within an easy walking or rolling distance to their daily needs, two thirds of Vancouver using active transportation and transit, and 50 per cent of kilometres driven by zero emission vehicles within Vancouver, with a target date of 2030.
All new replacement heating and hot water systems will be zero emission by 2025, and embodied emissions from new buildings and construction projects will be reduced by 40 per cent compared to a 2018 baseline by 2030 using lower carbon construction materials and designs. Forest and coast ecosystems will also be restored by fall 2020 in order to develop negative emission targets.
A package of 53 affiliated actions to support the six main goals has also been gathered, with an eye towards providing “quick-start” actions that can establish the groundwork towards the larger stated goals.
In January 2019 city council unanimously approved a motion to recognize the planet faces a climate emergency. The motion further instructed city staff to review climate change targets, establish a carbon budgeting approach consistent with the 1.5 C target and establish a climate and equity working group to provide guidance and support.
Next moves for the initiative according to the staff report include using a climate “lens” when formulating the 2020 budget, issuing a progress update in spring 2020 and a “big moves” report back in fall 2020.