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Published on September 28, 2016 â€“ AuthorÂ : Coline Mionnet
Vancouver, greenest city in the world by 2020Â ?
Last August, Vancouver city Hall reaffirmed that the city would become the world’s greenest by 2020 through its Â«Â Greenest City Action PlanÂ Â». Between the ocean and mountains, Vancouver is situated on the Canadian Pacific Coast close to North Shore Mountain and counted around 600Â 000 inhabitants in 2011. This special link with nature may explain its will to become a sustainable city.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
But not only. On its website, Vancouver City Hall enumerates visible climate changes affecting its territory such as sea level rise, more frequent and more severe heat waves, increased frequency and severity of storms, increased winter rainfall, summer droughts and lack of snow in winter.
So it decided to take charge of the sustainable development matter. In 2016, Vancouver city already achieved several goals it had planned. Among themÂ : 20% decrease in greenhouse gases from buildings since 2007, 50% of trips made by bike, walking or transit, 15% decrease in community greenhouse gases since 2007 and nearly 49Â 000 new trees planted since 2010.
With the launch of Mobi, a system of public bike share, Vancouver city Hall wants to improve its transportation network. 150 stations and 1500 bikes have been set throuhout Vancouver’s centre to encourage people to leave their car home. In July, the city Council also passed a new building policyÂ : the Zero Emissions Building Plan. It is going to change building standards by requiring every new building built by 2030 to be emission-free. According to Vancouver’s City Hall, 58% of the energy used in buildings comes from natural gas which is responsible for 96% of buildings greenhouse gas emissions.
Approximately 90% of Vancouverâ€™s electricity was generated by hydropower in 2015, but large hydropower plants are not considered as renewable energy and can have environmental impacts, including on aquatic life. The Canadian city has then developped neighbourhood renewable energy systems. It is a public service to supply centralized heating, hot water or cooling for several buildings, like the village renewable power plants do in France on a more private system.
At the same time, Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson keeps asking the Canadian federal government not to expand Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan’s pipeline. Â«Â This proposal is a major risk to existing jobs in Vancouver and the South Coast of British Columbia and it’s a major risk to the country-leading job growth we see here in green and innovation sectorsÂ Â», said Gregor Robertson to CBC News, last August. This pipeline project would indeed be discordant with the city’s sustainable growth strategy, especially as Vancouver has committed to become 100% renewably powered by 2050 Â«Â or soonerÂ Â»..
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Other cities, regions and communities around the world also committed to become 100% renewable energy powered beteween 2020 and 2050Â : Cook Island in the Pacific Ocean centre, Carinthia and Lower Austria, several Canada, USA, Sweden, German or South America cities and regions, the Valley of Toggenburg in Switzerland, to give only some examples.
Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan
Vancouver, why a sustainable city ?
Gregor Robertson’s position about Trans Mountain pipeline
Gregor Robertson about Kinder Morgan’s pipeline
Other committed sustainable cities, regions and communities