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Climate and Renewables

Our goal: Eliminate Vancouver's dependence on fossil fuels

We are working to transform our city, and reduce the greenhouse gases we emit as a community, through our building energy use, transportation fuel use, and waste generated.

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Our target: Reduce community-based greenhouse gas emissions by 33% from 2007 levels by 2020

Progress we've made so far

Climate and Renewables Chart
Hover or click on data for more information on performance.
To learn more about this metric, see the 'How We Measure Success' section below.
The numbers presented have been rounded and may not add up precisely to the totals provided.

In the short term, our focus will be on the continued expansion of low carbon neighbourhood energy systems and the need for long-term carbon planning.

  • 1.1 - Continue to work with partners to convert two existing steam heat networks to renewable energy.
  • 1.2 - Work with partners to develop four new neighbourhood energy systems.
  • 1.3 - Develop and begin implementing a renewable energy strategy.

Our 2015-2016 successes

Recent initiatives that bring us closer to reaching the Climate and Renewables goal.

Council unanimously approved the Renewable City Strategy in November 2015, committing our city to derive 100% of our energy from renewable sources before 2050.

Fossil fuels can no longer be relied on to provide the benefits they have had in the past. We can play catch up later, or by acting now we can enhance the quality of life for residents and grow our economy.

Our climate and green economy leadership was highlighted at COP21  (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in late 2015 with every level of community and national leadership from around the world in attendance.  

Every year we make upgrades at the Vancouver Landfill to capture more methane gas for heating and power generation. In 2015, 71% of gas emitted by the landfill was captured.

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2015-2016  (8 MB)

Our 2014-2015 successes

Initiatives that brought us closer to reaching the Climate and Renewables goal from 2014 to 2015.

The Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) reduces emissions in the buildings it serves by 60% by using sewage heat recovery.

Since 2010, the utility service area grew by 260%, with 4.2 million square feet of buildings now connected. This is a 700,000 square foot increase since last year. Plans for expansion of district energy systems continue.

Methane is a by-product of landfill waste decomposition and a powerful greenhouse gas. We continue to make upgrades at the Vancouver Landfill and continue to improve how we capture this gas, which is then used to heat onsite buildings, nearby greenhouses and generate electricity.

In 2014, 505,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) were captured: equivalent to taking over 126,000 cars off the road for a year.

The proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion would result in a:

  • Seven-fold increase of oil tanker traffic
  • Significant increase in pipeline operating emissions
  • Potential damage to our local waters and beaches from any oil spill

Challenged the hearing process

As an intervenor, we put forward over 1,000 questions to Trans Mountain and formally challenged the hearing process, which excluded the upstream and downstream climate change impacts of building the pipeline from being considered. We continue to raise awareness around the climate and environmental consequences of an increase in tar sands production.

How you can help 

 

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2014-2015  (2 MB)

To be eligible for the grant, local governments are required to publicly report their plan and progress toward meeting their goals.

Our 2017 report summarizes the actions we took in 2017 and planned for 2018, as well as the final City CARIP emissions inventory for 2017.

As part of our emissions reductions efforts in support of environmental action and the CARIP, we are undertaking the Vancouver Landfill Gas Optimization Project to capture more landfill gas.

Past emissions are periodically revised based on the latest science. For example, in 2014 the Provincial Government updated their guidance to local governments on how methane, which is emitted by waste decomposing in the landll, acts as a greenhouse gas.

Specifically, the global warming potential (GWP), the measure of how much heat a particular greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, has been updated. The new Provincial Guidance directs that the GWP of methane be updated from 21 to 25 to align with the guidance released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of one.

We publicly report our greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to the Carbon Disclosure Project for Cities (CDP for Cities) platform. Free registration to CDP is required to view responses.

This metric is maintained by the Sustainability Group within the City Manager’s Office at the City of Vancouver.

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Initiatives that are helping us reach our goal and target

Wild Salmon Caravan - October 7

Join us this Saturday for the Wild Salmon Caravan, a celebration of the spirit of salmon! Come for the parade, performances, drumming, singing & more.

Neighbourhood Energy Strategy

The Neighbourhood Energy Strategy will help develop additional neighbourhood energy systems throughout Vancouver.

Zero Emissions Building Plan

This plan will eliminate emissions from new buildings by 2030 through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is the next step to advance the Renewable City Strategy.