January 16th, 2019 (Vancouver/Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-waututh Territory) -- The City of Vancouver joins cities around the globe like London, England and Los Angeles, California in declaring a Climate Emergency.
Councillor Christine Boyle with the political party OneCity Vancouver moved a resolution supported by a majority of Council for the City of Vancouver to declare a climate emergency, direct staff to take immediate action to ramp up ambition in the city’s climate action plans, and embed an equity framework to prioritize vulnerable communities within those plans.
Today, City Council recognized the need to dramatically strengthen our climate action plans, to match the urgency that scientists are reporting, and to ensure those closest to the impacts are being supported first.
As a result of this resolution, Council has given a mandate to city staff to:
- Increase ambition and/or accelerate timelines for existing actions under the Renewable City Action Plan and Climate Adaptation Strategy;
- Add new actions to help the City achieve its targets;
- Add new actions that would help reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions beyond the scope of the City’s current climate targets.
- Incorporate into the City’s climate targets and actions the need to achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2050 and net negative carbon emissions in the second half of the century.
- Establish a remaining carbon budget for corporate and community emissions commensurate with limiting warming to 1.5ºC and report annually on the expenditure of the City of Vancouver’s remaining carbon budget;
- Establish a “Climate and Equity” working group to provide guidance and support for the City’s efforts to transition off of fossil fuels in ways that prioritize those most vulnerable to climate impacts and most in need of support in transitioning to renewable energy.
Councillor Christine Boyle, OneCity
Christine Boyle, City Councillor, OneCity Vancouver
“Climate change is already impacting the people of Vancouver and will continue to. We need to respond to this crisis urgently and compassionately with path towards a more equitable society.
Adequately addressing the climate emergency won’t be easy, but we are a smart city, capable of doing difficult things.”
Rebecca Hamilton, Vancouver High School Student, Student Strike for Climate
“We are living in a time of climate crisis and, as teens, we struggle to reconcile that knowledge with the lack of action we see around us. We are modelling emergency in our lives by striking from school one day a month, and we demand to see this urgency reflected in the actions of our leaders.
As teenagers, we want to be excited about our future, not scared about impending climate catastrophe. We are asking our leaders to step up and start treating this crisis like the emergency it is.
We are at a crossroads: we can continue failing to reduce emissions, resulting in accelerating climate catastrophe. Or, we can take dramatic action now, creating a safe future for our generation. We are demanding our leaders choose the latter path.”
Jake Hubley, 25, Community Organizer, Force of Nature Alliance
“For us, the debate is over. We are in a climate emergency. Now we're left with a choice, to take the necessary actions to avoid climate catastrophe or continue to ignore it as the impacts get worse.
The IPCC report was clear, we need to reduce our emissions 45% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 to avoid the worst of climate change. Municipalities make up 60-70% of emissions, so we must take immediate action with our leaders to set time-bound targets with accountability, and work together at a government and community level to achieve them.
We are in a climate emergency. This motion is about the action we must take in the face of that emergency to reduce our emissions in line with climate science, so we can have a liveable future. Passing this motion means setting rigid, time-bound targets for greenhouse gas reduction and would show our region real leadership on the path all our cities must walk to avoid climate catastrophe. “
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC with no or limited overshoot would imply global net CO2 emissions dropping to between 50% and 58% below 2010 levels by 2030 and between 94% and 107% below 2010 levels by 2050. Global net C02 emissions would need to continue to decline into the second half of the century reaching negative net emissions in all scenarios.
The world is currently on track for more than 3ºC of warming based on policies currently in place, and those policies will need to be strengthened significantly to achieve 1.5ºC. Vancouver, BC, and Canada are no exceptions.
- Vancouver’s carbon pollution levels are 7% below 2007 levels, which represents an average reduction of less than 1% per year over the past decade. An average annual reduction of over 3% is necessary to meet the City’s 2030 targets.
- BC’s carbon pollution has increased in four of the past five years and the province eliminated its 2020 reduction target because it was on track to miss it by a wide margin. On December 5, 2018, the province introduced a new climate change plan, which is expected to put the province on track for 75% of its 2030 target of 40% below 2007 levels.