Victoria’s 2020 target is to reduce GHG emissions by 33% below 2007 levels. I think this target is bold, aggressive, and achievable. Given the size of the City, it is understandable why a visionary top-down target approach was selected. The City is projected to reach approximately 90,000 by 2020. If poorly managed, this growth could result in increased GHGs and energy consumption per capita. For example, while transit ridership saw a 5.5% increase over the past year, emissions from the transportation sector are still relatively high, accounting for over 43% of Victoria’s GHG emissions in 2007. In light of cheaper gas prices, and the low parking prices downtown, the City will need to continuously revisit its ambitious targets in its CEEP to determine what actions are needed to promote transit use, walking, and cycling. As part of achieving a 33% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, the City has committed to highly ambitious transit targets.
The City’s ambitious targets are clearly laid out in the CEEP, and are linked directly back to the goals, targets, and policies of the Official Community Plan. Without having been part of the City’s target setting process in 2012, I would agree with Judith that it’s far more effective to set ambitious targets than go through a laborious a very challenging exercise of trying to determine the “realistic” target as the political, economic, and social context can change very rapidly.