Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January 11 Council Meeting: Climate Change Emergency Declared. Council asks for the next steps to get to net-zero before 2050.

Langley City has been working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the past decade. In 2010, council approved a Sustainability Framework and Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan.

Over the last decade, our understanding of climate change has evolved. We now know that we have to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and retrofit our communities to adapt to the climate change already set in action.

Council passed a motion at yesturday’s council meeting stating that “climate change constitutes an emergency” in our community.

Council also asked staff to provide a report on past and current initiatives to reduce GHG emissions in our community, including plans in the works.

Council asked staff for the next steps, including resourcing and timelines, to:

  • Achieve community-wide net-zero carbon emissions before 2050.
  • Update our Sustainability Framework to incorporate current best practices on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience, focused around development and infrastructure projects.

Council also directed the City’s Environmental Task Group to facilitate community engagement around an equitable transitioning to a low-carbon society.

The following is the full motion approved by council, which was put forward by Councillor Rosemary Wallace.

WHEREAS Climate change is an existential crisis, and municipalities are at the forefront of addressing it; and

WHEREAS The earth is currently on track to warm by more that 3 degrees Celsius; and

WHEREAS An October 8, 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than 2 degrees as previously understood, and that doing so “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” and that we have until 2030 to undertake these changes; and

WHEREAS The IPCC report puts the benchmark for greenhouse gas reduction targets for corporate and community-wide emissions at 45% by 2030, 65% by 2040 and 100% by 2050; and

WHEREAS The British Columbia government declared a provincial state of emergency in 2018 over record-setting wildfires; and

WHEREAS Local governments world wide are taking action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and calling on senior levels of government for an urgent emergency response; and

WHEREAS Youth all over the world are forming alliances in addressing and taking action in problem solving in recognizing that every person deserves the right to a healthy environment... clean water, air and soil; and

WHEREAS Sustainabiliteens presented a delegation to Langley City Council back in April of 2019 with a list of concerns and suggestions in the muchneeded response to the climate crisis and the need for a Just Recovery for all; and

WHEREAS Understanding the Indigenous Rights: Commit to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Full; and

WHEREAS The need to return to Indigenous Stewardship and the natural world in respecting the place in which we reside is on the unceded lands traditional territories Matsqui Kwantlen, Katzie and Semiahmoo First Nations.

WHEREAS Sustainabiliteens met with Metro Vancouver Action Committee and in a statement, stated... The climate crisis affects everyone especially youth, we will be the ones facing the worst impacts of climate change and that looms over us ever day. Because of this we demand that the committee do everything in their power A) declare a climate emergency and B) adjust their emissions reductions targets to 65% by 2030 and 100% by 2040;


THAT Council recognize that climate change constitutes an emergency in the City of Langley; and

THAT Council direct staff to report back on;

  1. What is the City currently doing/done to reduce our GHG emissions; and
  2. What plans are currently in the process of implementation to further reduce the City’s GHG emissions to meet the Region’s climate action targets; and
  3. What potential next steps can the City take to:
    1. Achieve net-zero carbon emissions before 2050 with a balanced approach for today and future generations
    2. Update the current Sustainability Framework to incorporate current best practices on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and to incorporate principles of biodiversity, sustainability and stewardship to guide future developments and infrastructure projects within Langley City; and,
  4. What are the City required resources, funding and timelines to implement the current plans, provide any updates, and the potential next steps to achieve the identified targets; and
  5. Ensure that all orders of government are notified of Langley City’s commitment to achieving the GHG emissions targets identified in the Metro Region and the IPCC report.
  6. That the City of Langley Environmental Task Group facilitate intergenerational community engagement surrounding a just transition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the scale that is required, with the focus on vulnerable members of society who will be most impacted by climate change and intersecting inequity; ensure these people are front and center in building long term solutions.

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