Vancouver city councillor Adriane Carr wants Metro Vancouver to reach a goal of 100-per-cent net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades.
On the road to 100 per cent, Carr says the region should set an interim target of reducing GHGs by 45 per cent by 2030.
Carr will be asking the regional governing body to support the 100-per-cent goal so that Metro Vancouver is in alignment with a special international report on the climate crisis.
“Scientists say that’s exactly what’s needed,” Carr said Thursday. “The world’s leading scientists issued a report in the fall of 2018 that implored governments to act with urgency. The climate is changing faster than they earlier predicted.”
Cutting GHGs by 100 per cent in Metro Vancouver requires updating the Climate 2050 Strategic Framework, which calls for an 80-per-cent reduction.
On Friday, Carr is bringing her amendment to the regional Climate Action Committee of which she is chair.
If approved, it would go to the full Metro Vancouver board for a vote on July 23.
A 100-per-cent net decrease in GHGs would bring the region into alignment with the Special Report on Global Warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which provides the United Nations with a scientific analysis of climate change.
The panel’s report said if global warming is not kept to 1.5 degrees C, it could lead to more periods of drought, increased wildfires, and place entire ecosystems at risk.
To reach the 1.5-degree target, it would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” the panel’s report stated.
Carr admits that becoming carbon-neutral requires systemic change in Metro Vancouver.
“The first step is reaching out to the public in the development of roadmaps to get to these kind of reductions,” she said. “I’m counting on the public and stakeholders to get us to where we’re aiming to keep global warming at a level that avoids catastrophe.”
Carr pointed out that the 100-per-cent net reduction in GHG emissions recognizes that not all fossil fuels will be eliminated by 2050. What it means is that any GHG emissions by then will be offset by methods such as sequestration, a form of long-term storage of carbon dioxide by reforestation and wetland restoration.
The 2030 target of 45 per cent is important, Carr said, because it’s an interim measure which allows public bodies to assess how they’re doing over time.
Vancouver set a goal in 2010 of a 33-per-cent drop in GHGs by 2020. Part of the reason why Vancouver is now only at seven per cent, she said, is because there were no interim targets.
Climate change has already had an affect on Metro Vancouver, the Climate Action Committee report said.
“As one example, the region has been impacted by smoke from unprecedented wildfire activity in western North America in three of the past four summers,” it said. “Expected future climate impacts include more wildfire smoke, an increase in rainfall intensity by 20-45 per cent by 2050 and 40-75 per cent by 2100, and at least one metre of sea level rise.”
The report goes to say that achieving carbon neutrality requires Metro Vancouver to not only reduce GHG emissions as much as possible, but also to commit to using “100 per cent renewable fossil fuel-free energy by 2050.”
Across the country, more than 250 local governments have declared climate emergencies.