Central Saanich has formally signed off on revisions to its plan to fight climate change.
Councillors unanimously approved the community’s updated Climate Leadership Plan after they had approved higher targets in late 2019, early 2020. As the report says, these updated targets align with latest recommendations to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C as set by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The revised goals are ambitious. They commit the municipality to cut its own municipal and community-at-large emissions by 100 per cent by 2050, hitting 45 per cent by 2030 on the way. Previous goals had called for 90 per cent decrease in municipal emissions and an 80 decrease in community-at-large emissions.
The updated plan also establishes the goal that all of Central Saanich would exclusively use renewable sources of energies by 2050.
The report acknowledges progress in areas, but also finds that “a lot more more work” is needed when it comes to reducing emissions in three “primary” areas of GHG sources: transporation (responsible for 66 per cent of emissions); buildings (responsible for 22 per cent split evenly across residential and commercial properties) and solid waste (12 per cent).
The report says “significant changes” requiring significant resources from various sources including senior governments are needed to meet those goals, which ultimately may not have the desired effect.
“Even if we achieve significant reductions in emissions, we are already facing changes in our climate – leading toward hotter, drier summers and wetter winters. This plan also highlights the need to understand the risks and hazards associated with a changing climate, and to prepare our infrastructure, social and economic systems and natural systems to handle these changes,” the report reads.
Figures from one area — transportation — underscore the ambitiousness of the plan, but also the difficulties that lie within it.
According to one action scenario, Central Saanich can meet its transporation goals if 50 per cent of trips are made with active transportation or transit by 2050 and 25 per cent of vehicles are zero emissions by 2030 with 100 per cent being the goal for 2050.
The number of electric vehicles (EV) on the road in the district would have to jump to 4,800 by 2030 from the current figure of 221 as of March 31, according to an earlier staff report.
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