Vancouver - Greenest City 2020 Action Plan

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Challenges

Vancouver’s growing population, climate uncertainty, rising fossil fuel prices, and shifting economic opportunities challenge the city’s sustainability and call for decisive action and innovation. In 2011, drawing on the city’s long history of taking positive climate action, the Mayor of Vancouver set up the Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP), a bold initiative that aims to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. This master plan addresses the city’s environmental challenges through a set of ambitious but achievable and measurable targets that put the city on the path to sustainability.

Actions

The GCAP contains ten goal areas covering jobs, carbon, the built environment, the natural environment and food. Each goal sets 2020 targets that address three overarching focus areas: zero carbon, zero waste and healthy ecosystems. The 170 actions completed or underway ensure that the targets set will be achieved and that the city is transparent and accountable on its progress.

The City is monitoring its carbon reduction strategy continually and shares the results publicly, using metrics, priority actions and progress updates. For example, the Climate Leadership goal sets a target to reduce community-based GHG emissions by 33% from 2007 levels. The 2012-13 progress report showed a 4% reduction in community carbon emissions, in part from upgrades to the city’s landfill gas capture systems. Early data for 2013-14 indicates the achievement of further emissions reductions.

In 2012, Vancouver adopted the Neighborhood Energy Strategy, which provides a roadmap for district energy development in the city. The City is currently working to identify utility partners for the development of two new neighborhood energy systems and the conversion of an existing natural gas system, which targets a total reduction of 120,000 tCO2e annually by 2020.

Projected Outcomes

Vancouver ambitions to become the “greenest city in the world” by 2020. The GCAP is expected to help the city:

  • Double the number of green jobs and green companies over 2010 and 2011 levels, respectively;
  • Eliminate dependence on fossil fuels by reducing carbon emissions by 33% over 2007 levels;
  • Lead the world in green building design & construction with all new buildings being carbon neutral from 2020 onward;
  • Make walking, cycling & public transit preferred transportation options;
  • Create zero waste by reducing total solid waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 50% from 2008 levels;
  • Improve access to green spaces;
  • Reduce its ecological footprint by 33% over 2006 levels;
  • Provide unparalleled air quality and drinking water.