Local governments influence about half of BC’s greenhouse gas emissions through decisions on land use, transportation, and infrastructure that affect where people live and work, how they get around, and how communities grow and change over time. But local governments don’t make these decisions in a vacuum. The Government of BC has provided important new information and indicated how it will approach funding, regulations, and policy for climate action in the decade ahead.
The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 was unveiled by the Province of BC on October 25, less than a week before the COP26 Climate Change Conference opened in Glasgow and only about two months after the UN called the latest report from the IPCC a “code red for humanity.”
With so much information about the urgency of climate action, CleanBC focuses on British Columbia, outlines updated targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, and identifies eight pathways for action.
What does it all actually mean for BC local governments?
CEA has reviewed the CleanBC Roadmap and has produced a report on the potential implications for local governments, focusing on transportation, buildings, and the plans of BC’s power and natural gas utilities.
The report, linked below, outlines the main action items for local governments given the long term plans of the Province of BC (through CleanBC), BC Hydro and FortisBC.
The CleanBC Pathways: Eight Areas that Produce Emissions and Generate Solutions
CEA’s experience with communities has shown that the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are through ‘big moves’ related to transportation, buildings, and waste; solutions exist today to address a significant portion of community and corporate emissions. These are also covered extensively in the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030.
Low-carbon energy (CleanBC page 26-31): advancing clean electricity, requiring natural gas utilities to pursue renewable gas over fossil-based natural gas, and implementing the BC hydrogen strategy
Transportation (CleanBC page 32-37): encouraging a shift from vehicles to active transportation, having 10,000 public EV charging stations by 2030, and accelerating adoption of zero-emission light-duty vehicles (such as EVs) targeting 26% by 2026 and 90% by 2030.
Buildings (CleanBC page 38-43): adding a carbon pollution standard to the BC Building Code that will require zero-carbon buildings by 2030, introducing home energy labelling for homes that are for sale, and supporting low-carbon building materials such as wood by developing a low-carbon building materials strategy by 2023.
Communities (CleanBC page 44-47): establishing a new funding program in 2022 to support local government climate actions (replacing CARIP), supporting natural asset infrastructure, and enhancing information about local emissions for local governments and indigenous communities.
Other pathways concern British Columbia’s diverse industries that rely on the environment. Even though these industries are outside of local government jurisdiction, they provide jobs in every BC community:
- Oil and Gas (CleanBC page 48-52)
- Forest Bioeconomy (CleanBC page 53-57)
- Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries (CleanBC page 58-60)
The final pathway concerns Negative-Emission Technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere and therefore offset emissions that have already occurred. These technologies are still emerging.
Community Energy Association Resources for Communities
Interested in learning more? See these resources:
- Local Implications of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 by CEA Executive Director, Dale Littlejohn, outlining some of the initial, significant implications for local governments.
- The Climate Leaders Playbook, produced by the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council. Fully online, the Playbook outlines the “big moves” that every community needs to make, along with lessons learned during the pandemic.
- CEA’s interactive Climate Action Planner which charts how various local actions have the potential to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and energy expenditures over time.
CleanBC Roadmap Webinar on March 3rd, 2022
The BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council and CEA hosted a virtual dialogue for BC elected officials to prepare for the decade of climate action by highlighting the key opportunities of the CleanBC Roadmap. The dialogue included presentations from CEA experts and the Province. The Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Honourable Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs, joined the conversation. At the end of the event, participants joined facilitated breakouts based on specific topics such as buildings and transportation or breakouts for just connecting and networking.
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