Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Obtainable steps for creating a carbon-neutral region by 2050

The provincial government’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% in 2030, 60% by 2040, and 80% by 2050. Meeting these targets will take some serious effort to accomplish.

Metro Vancouver Regional District staff have released a preliminary GHG model that shows our emission reduction trajectory based on current policies and plans.

Business as planned scenario. Select graph to enlarge.

They have also produced a model that would meet the provincial GHG emission reduction goals, but requires significant policy changes.

Carbon neutral scenario. Select graph to enlarge.

The two largest sources of GHG emissions are from transportation and buildings in Metro Vancouver.

To reduce transportation-caused GHG emissions to meet the province’s goals, the following would need to occur:

  • Require 100% of new passenger vehicles be zero emissions by 2030 rather than 2040 as currently planned
  • Establish steadily increasing sales targets from medium and heavy-duty zero-emissions vehicles
  • Steadily increase renewable fuel blended gasoline and diesel with targets that increase to 100% for gas and 80% for diesel by 2050
  • Reduce passenger vehicle usage by implementing mobility pricing and improving walking, cycling, and transit infrastructure

The following would need to occur to reduce GHG emissions from buildings:

  • Require all new buildings to meet stringent low GHG emissions performance standards starting in 2025
  • Require all retrofits to meet stringent low GHG emissions performance standards starting in 2025 that must be met for all existing homes and townhomes by 2045
  • Require existing large buildings to report out energy use and meet increasingly stringent GHG emissions performance standards starting in 2025

While these are some significant policy changes, they are obtainable. Creating these new policies will take political will, but it will reduce GHG emissions by 80% in 2050 in Metro Vancouver.

For more information, including what would need to change in the industrial sector, please read “Modelling a Carbon Neutral Region.

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