Like failed promise to end homelessness, Vancouver will not meet Greenest City 2020 target

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      The City of Vancouver under Mayor Gregor Robertson likes to talk big.

      Like Robertson’s failed promise to end homelessness by 2015, delivery is another thing.

      It’s the same thing about it becoming the "Greenest City" on Earth by 2020.

      A city staff report has some bad news.

      “Unfortunately, we do not see a realistic pathway to meeting Vancouver’s climate target for 2020,” states a report by climate policy manager Matt Horne.

      In its plan to become the greenest city on the planet, Vancouver has aimed to reduce carbon pollution or greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent below 2007 levels by 2020.

      According to the plan, carbon pollution is to be reduced by at least 80 percent below 2007 levels before 2050.

      And by 2050, the plan envisions that 100 percent of energy used in Vancouver will be provided by renewable sources, not carbon fuels like oil.

      “Despite the progress that has been made in the last decade, the City is not on track for the 2020 carbon pollution target,” Horne states in his report.

      Horne presents three scenarios, all indicating that the 2020 target is a bust.

      The “optimistic” scenario: “If the trend between 2007 and 2016 is extrapolated forward, we would achieve a 20% reduction by 2020 (a gap of 355 thousand tonnes from the target) and the targeted 33% reduction by 2027.”

      The “pessimistic” scenario: “If the increase in carbon pollution from buildings in 2016 is due to more than the cold winter and progress is slower in 2017 and beyond as a result, we would achieve a 19% reduction by 2020 (a gap of 396 thousand tonnes from the target) and the targeted 33% reduction by 2028.”

      The “accelerated action” scenario: “A third projection is drawn from economic modelling completed by Navius Research to explore viable pathways for Vancouver to achieve the 2050 Renewable City Strategy objectives (see Section 9 for more detail on the modelling). This projection points to a 23% reduction in 2020 (a gap of 201 thousand tonnes). This is a smaller gap than either of the current trend scenarios and the curve begins to bend down faster after 2020, enabling us to achieve the 33% reduction by 2023.”

      The city is not about to give up. In a meeting on November 1, council approved “2030 interim targets”.

      The new 2030 targets are to reduce carbon pollution by 50 percent below 2007 levels, and derive 55 percent of the energy sources from renewables.

      With the record at hand about homelessness getting worse, Councillor Melissa De Genova with the opposition Non-Partisan Association is not surprised that the city is not going to meet its climate goal by 2020 as well.

      Referring to the ruling party of Mayor Robertson, De Genova told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview: “The promises made by Vision Vancouver included ending homelessness by 2015 and a more affordable city failed.”

      That is why, according to De Genova, voters in Vancouver are looking for real change in city hall. The next civic election is on October 20, 2018.

      “It’s important that we balance affordability and the environment,” De Genova said. “Both are very important to us here in the city of Vancouver, but Vision Vancouver has made the city less affordable.” 

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