In Unanimous Vote, Vancouver Moves Toward 100% Renewable Energy

In 2010, Vancouver passed its Greenest City Action Plan – to become the world’s greenest city by 2020.

One of its long term goals is to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels for energy, and last month, the city council unanimously voted to move forward to a 100% renewable energy future.

Vancouver joins other major cities that have made this pledge, including San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Sydney, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Frankfurt, and legions of small cities.

While most focus solely on electricity, Vancouver goes the next step to include heating and transportation. Currently, 32% of Vancouver’s energy is met by renewables, including electricity, heating and cooling – and emissions are down 6% from 1990 levels since 2011.

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"Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100% of our energy being derived from renewable sources," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

"The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change, and moving toward renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world," he says.

"Cities that own renewables will own the future," Councillor Andrea Reimer told Vancouver Observer.

Vancouver’s City Council is also calling for an international agreement that commits to 100% renewable energy this year in Paris, and is asking regional, provincial and national governments to advocate for that. 

The 2015 Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum takes place in Vancouver, May 13-15.

The Mayor’s motion, says:

Support 100% Renewable Energy in Vancouver

WHEREAS

1. As a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since records began in the 1850s, with the warmest year on record being 2014;

2. The impacts of climate change and resulting extreme weather are increasingly being felt as rising economic impacts, social conflicts, damaged infrastructure and loss of human life with adaptation costs in Metro Vancouver being pegged at $9.5 billion at a minimum;

3. In December 2015, national leaders will meet in Paris to negotiate a global agreement that endeavours to decrease GHG emissions to a level where it is possible to cap average global temperatures at two degrees above normal or lower;

4. In 2010 Vancouver City Council formally adopted a set of long term environmental goals recommended by the Greenest City Action Team that included a goal on Climate Action to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels and as a result of comprehensive actions has been able to reduce GHGs in the city by 6% from 1990 levels;

5. As part of the Greenest City Action Plan, City of Vancouver staff are currently developing a long range Climate Action Plan to meet the 100% renewables mandate.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

  • Vancouver City Council re-commit to the long term goal of deriving 100% of its energy from renewable sources;
  • Staff bring back the long-range Climate Action Plan to Council by fall 2015 with a clear articulation of the date by which a shift to 100% renewable energy sources is feasible;
  • Vancouver advocate to regional, provincial and national governments to support an international agreement that commits to 100% renewable energy sources.

Read our articles, Almost All of Canada Will Soon Price Carbon and British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Lowers Income Tax for All.

Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan has three focus areas: Carbon; Waste and Ecosystems:

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