Most Canadians understand that climate change is one of the greatest threats the world faces. Perhaps the greatest one. Many Canadians would also agree that we, as a nation, should play our part within the global community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, with only 1.6 % of the world’s GHGs being attributed to Canada, there is a limit to the effect we can have.
Vancouver has a self-declared ambition to be the greenest city in North America if not the world. Is this a noble aim or will it unnecessarily impose increases in the cost of living and dramatically reduce the life style choices that its citizens currently take for granted? Does the city council have a mandate for its policies? Do they have the support of the people of the city? Do Vancouverites fully understand the implications of these policies?
Some things to consider:
- Within Canada as a whole, residential housing accounts for only 6% of GHG emissions.
- Transportation accounts for 37%. (We live in a big country)
- On November 29th, the city council will be voting on a proposal that would effectively eliminate natural gas in new buildings, both residential and commercial.
- This regulation would come into force in May 2017. Next year!
- This is the council’s latest step in eliminating Natural gas from the city.
- Replacing natural gas with renewable gas from the waste and agricultural sectors is quite literally a pipe dream. Apart from it being substantially more expensive, there is nowhere near enough of it, or ever likely to be. Currently it accounts for less than 1% of demand.
- Natural gas is by far and away, the cheapest way of heating a home in Vancouver, a city which already has a massive affordability problem.
- There would be no gas appliances. That means no gas grills (barbecues), no gas ranges, including in restaurants, no gas fireplaces, no gas furnaces, etc.
- GHG emissions are increasing globally at an average daily rate that roughly equates to double the amount of GHG emissions produced annually by Vancouver’s consumption of gas. That means if Natural gas were to be eliminated in the city, it would delay climate change by roughly 12 hours. Is that a noble aim? Or is the cost too high?
If the direction the council in Vancouver is taking concerns you, why not tell someone. Like your councillor or the mayor. If you can, why not start going to council meetings and making your voice heard. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. But act quickly. City Council will vote on Tuesday, November 29th.
If you would like more reading, below are a number of great articles discussing the details further.