ABC needs to do more for Vancouver's Climate Emergency Action Plan, say advocates

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      Vancouver isn’t on track to meet its commitment to halve its carbon pollution by 2030, says OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle.  

      Along with former Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer and former NPA Coun. Peter Ladner, Boyle is calling for the current ABC majority to strengthen local climate action by supporting the Climate Action Emergency Plan (CEAP), which became law in 2020.

      “In Vancouver, climate action has often been cross-partisan. Mayor Sim and ABC indicated support for climate action on the campaign trail,” Boyle said in a press release. “But without renewed commitment to the Climate Emergency Action Plan, their track record won’t match their promise.”

      Since the CEAP was introduced, BC has seen a number of once-in-a-lifetime climate events, from heavy December snowfall to atmospheric rivers to 2021's deadly heat dome that killed at least 100 Vancouverites.

      ABC’s election manifesto, which has since been removed from its website, highlighted “climate action and sustainability” as a core area. Promises included planting 100,000 trees, accelerating the city’s Zero Waste Plan from 2040 to 2035, and improving infrastructure for electric vehicles. It had no mention of the CEAP.

      Boyle’s comments come ahead of city staff presenting its annual update on the CEAP to the council on Wednesday. Currently, according to Boyle, the CEAP has insufficient funding to complete its planned objectives. The plan aims to halve carbon emissions in 2030 (and be carbon-neutral by 2050) by increasing carbon capture, lowering emissions from building and transit, and improving transit and active transit options to reduce car journeys.  

      “The big moves in the Climate Emergency Action Plan—like near-term dates for getting gas out of buildings and prioritizing public and active transportation—build on over two decades of cross-partisan climate action in Vancouver and represent a clear-eyed vision of what Canadian cities need to do if we are to meet our climate targets,” Reimer said in a statement. 

      Ladner, who is also a proponent of active transit, said that improving active transit options would help small businesses.  

      “Local streets filled with pedestrians and cyclists also bolster the local economy by delivering more customers to struggling retail stores and businesses along the routes,” he said. 

      ABC has previously come under fire for unclear climate messaging. Its signature campaign promise to scrap the “road tax” amounted to banning staff from working on road pricing policies unless it’s part of a regional initiative, even though the city does not have authority to implement road pricing municipally. And the ABC-majority park board initially promised to shut down the separated bike lane in Stanley Park, before U-turning and deciding parts of it could stay.

      Speaking to the Straight last fall, climate campaigner Peter McCartney was also skeptical about ABC’s climate commitment. 

      “I was worried to see no explicit commitment to continuing the actions to the CEAP,” he says. “There is already a huge budget gap in the [CEAP], and it’s quite worrying to think that the city might pull back more.”

      A rally to call for more funding for the CEAP, organized by a variety of climate organizations, will take place on February 10 at 2:30pm outside City Hall.