Thursday, February 18, 2021

Four Practical Big Ideas to Take Climate Action in Metro Vancouver

Previously, when I read and heard about climate change, it was discouraging. While most people knew that climate change was accelerating due to fossil fuel burning, action to reduce the rate of climate change was slow or non-existent. I am no longer discouraged.

I have recently become more optimistic that we can and are taking action to reduce the rate and mitigate climate change impacts.

Transportation, heating, and electrical generation are the leading causing of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Metro Vancouver. By acting on these three fronts, we can seriously reduce GHG emissions and slow climate change.

One of the keys to providing alternates to fossil fuel usage in the transportation and electricity generation sectors is high-capacity, inexpensive, rechargeable batteries. These batteries are used in electric vehicles and to store energy produced by wind and solar power. Type “cost of batteries” into Google. You will find articles stating that these batteries are now as cost-effective as conventional technologies.

For heating, the energy efficiency of our buildings is improving due to government regulations. Electric heating technology has also become more efficient and cost-effective to install and operate. At a recent Langley City Advisory Design Panel meeting, there was a positive discussion about using electric heat pumps in new buildings. The design panel includes architects.

Last month, Langley City council passed a motion calling on our staff to start the process of updating our policies to reduce GHG emissions in our community. The provincial and federal governments also appear committed to reducing GHG emissions. The Metro Vancouver Regional District is also working on its Climate 2050 Action Plan.

At a recent Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee Meeting, regional district staff presented four big ideas. These ideas will ensure that “100% of the energy used in the Metro Vancouver region is derived from clean, renewable sources” by 2050. The four big ideas are:

  1. Accelerate electrification
  2. Increase the supply of renewable gas
  3. Expand Metro Vancouver’s role in providing clean, renewable energy
  4. Limit expansion of fossil fuel supply infrastructure

While these ideas are indeed big, the staff report includes concrete examples of these ideas in action.

For example, the regional district has already piloted converting wastewater into renewal fuel, and Fortis BC already has a renewal natural gas program.

I believe we have turned the page when it comes to climate change, and we are starting to take serious action in our region. For more information, please read the Climate Action Committee Meeting agenda.

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