Cities, by re-visioning how they consume and produce energy, have the opportunity to capture a number of local benefits for their communities, including better health outcomes and local economic development. By conserving energy and shifting to renewables, cities are also in the position to offer substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions for their provinces, regions, and states.
However, in order to do so they will need support from senior levels of government. In British Columbia, which has long been regarded as a world leader in climate action, a door has opened that could support the movement for renewable cities in the province. The Government of BC has embarked on an engagement process for its Climate Leadership Plan, which will make the policies that affect how energy is made and consumed, and ultimately how we live, work, and get around.
Renewable Cities strongly supports an ambitious Climate Leadership Plan, which could help British Columbia’s cities adapt to new climate and energy realities and situate the province at the forefront of the global cleantech economy.
As such, we have made a number of recommendations to the provincial government. Some of the key points include:
- Empower BC municipalities to exercise leadership in their own communities for 100% renewable energy;
- Enact all 32 recommendations by the Climate Leadership Team, which is composed of a multi-disciplinary panel of experts selected by the provincial government;
- Adopt a schedule of increases to BC’s carbon tax;
- Raise energy literacy among the public and decision makers; and
- Facilitate dialogues between local BC governments and international peers towards energy innovation.
- Support the diversification of electricity and heating resources;
- Facilitate community-scale renewable energy projects; and
- Expand mechanisms available to local governments for leveraging funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
- Support local authorities to mandate energy benchmarking and public disclosure of performance; and
- Ensure the BC Building Act and Building Code foster local government initiatives that strive to achieve ambitious energy goals.
- Support integrated planning between transportation modes, and consider of land-use;
- Legislate a zero-emissions vehicle mandate by 2050;
- Partner with local governments and prioritize active transportation over expanding road networks for moving people around;
- Support development in Renewable Natural Gas as a transportation fuel; and
- Implement mobility pricing to recover true costs of mobility by mode.
We hope that the provincial government recognizes that now is the time to empower and support British Columbia’s cities to transition to 100% renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user sprackett, other images courtesy of Flickr users waferboard and 79502216@N05