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Vancouver approves five-year climate action plan

The plan contains so-called “game-changer” actions in the areas of buildings and transportation, which represent nearly all of the carbon pollution produced in Vancouver.

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The measures aim to help Vancouver halve its carbon pollution rate by 2030
The measures aim to help Vancouver halve its carbon pollution rate by 2030

Vancouver City Council has approved a five-year Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP), which aims to set a benchmark for cities across Canada.

 

It details 19 actions which will help the city achieve its target to reduce carbon pollution by 50 per cent by 2030.

 

Game-changers

 

The plan contains what the council describes as “game-changer” actions in the areas of buildings and transportation, which represent nearly all of the carbon pollution produced in Vancouver.

 

More than half (54 per cent) of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from burning natural gas used to heat space and water in its buildings, and 39 per cent of emissions come from burning gasoline and diesel in vehicles. The radical actions will not work alone and are designed, together with the other actions, to cut Vancouver’s carbon pollution in half over the next decade.

 

The game changer actions are:

  • through robust consultation, create a model to implement transport pricing in the Metro Core by 2025 to reduce congestion and reallocate road space to more sustainable modes and increase walking, rolling, cycling, and transit use
  • expanding residential on-street parking programmes city-wide, with a carbon surcharge on new, higher priced, gas and diesel vehicles
  • setting carbon pollution limits for existing buildings to transition older buildings from fossil fuels by improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable energy
  • setting requirements for low carbon construction materials and practices in new buildings to reduce the embodied carbon from building construction.

“The CEAP builds on a long history of forward-looking climate action from staff across all city departments. This is testament to the dedication, collaboration, and innovation across the city,” says Sadhu Johnston, city manager. “Meeting our climate targets is necessary and will take all of us; staff, residents, and businesses. Now we have a roadmap to help us get there.”

“The CEAP builds on a long history of forward-looking climate action from staff across all city departments. This is testament to the dedication, collaboration, and innovation across the city”

Priorities in developing the CEAP included mitigating the impacts of climate change, advancing public health, making Vancouver more resilient to future disruptions, and integrating equity. Three equity reviews were completed during the process of designing the actions, and a Climate and Equity Working Group reviewed and provided input that helped refine the actions.

 

A financial framework was approved by council as part of the plan, outlining actions and investments over the next five years (to 2025) that will be required to meet the 2030 climate goal.

 

The council said that “robust engagement and analysis” is planned to inform the details of the actions in order to make them successful for Vancouver residents and businesses.

 

“With transportation as the second-biggest source of carbon pollution, we have to prioritise sustainable ways of getting around,” said Lon LaClaire, general manager of engineering services. “The actions outlined in the Climate Emergency Action Plan will support people in switching to walking, biking, and transit trips. Introducing a user-pay model for roads promotes fairness and will allow us to invest those funds in more sustainable travel options.

 

“This approach is working to move more people and reduce congestion in major cities around the world and, over the next few years, we will work with our residents and stakeholders to find the right fit to deliver similar benefits for Vancouver.”

 

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