Kelowna Climate Action Plan Insufficient to achieve Zero Emissions

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Kelowna's current Climate Action Plan (CAP) is insufficient to achieve zero emissions.

In fact, regardless of strategies recently implemented in the City, a report given to city council on Monday shows our CO2 emissions went up in 2017.

“The CAP defines a pragmatic path to reduce emissions by 4% below 2007 levels by 2023. It also identifies a midterm target reducing emissions by 25% and a long term target of 80% reduction by 2050. However, these are far below what the IPCC (International Panel on Climate) states are needed to avoid catastrophic impacts,” said Policy and Planning Manager, Danielle Noble-Brandt.

She said in order to reach the midterm target; it needs to be nearly doubled.

Mayor Colin Basran is prepared to make bold moves in order to meet that target.

“We absolutely need to be doing more, certainly need to accelerate our own community climate action plan. So I am fully on board with exploring how we get to our stated goals much quicker but with some additional bonus or bolder items that council could discuss and debate that may be may also want to implement which could accelerate that even further,” said Basran.

He added that some of the choices council makes will not be popular but killing the planet is far more catastrophic.

Councillor Gail Given agreed.

“Let's look at what some of those really bold moves are and I would agree we are going to get pushback on some of them. Advancing Step Code faster than it was originally intended had push back but you know what, we did it and we're going to benefit from it into the future,” said Given.

City staff pointed out vehicles are responsible for 54 percent of emissions in Kelowna, with buildings next in line.

Councillor Brad Sieben said the City needs to advocate to the province for more rebates and energy retrofits, as well as make local changes.

“It's going to be more than putting chargers throughout the city, because to be honesty I drive an electric vehicle and I don't use a charger in the City because I have one at home but if you  can find an incentive to get more people into electric vehicles then we move the dial, I think, a bit more.”

Changing people’s behaviours in the short term will be difficult until it becomes more efficient and cost effective, said Sieben.

Staff were directed to investigate resources and financial implications, as well as look into putting together a full report exclusively targeting greenhouse gas emissions and what we can do to reduce them.