Our reflections on Vancouver’s new municipal government:
The City of Vancouver has elected a new mayor and council, and with the City’s 2030 climate targets being only 8 years away, we are hopeful that this new government will be prepared to act fast. Regulation and policy play a key role in enacting structural change. The burning of natural gas for heating in buildings and homes accounts for 57% of Vancouver’s carbon pollution. As such, there will need to be considerable focus on this sector to achieve the City’s overall carbon pollution reduction target of 50% relative to 2007 levels by 2030.
In May this year, the previous council passed a series of regulations aimed at reducing carbon pollution in the built environment. While this was a step in the right direction, we were disappointed that a proposed “Time of Replacement” regulation had been removed. When heating equipment reaches the end of its useful life, a Time of Replacement regulation would require a replacement with an electric option such as a heat pump. With the status-quo, HVAC equipment is most often replaced with another furnace, locking in another 10-15 years of carbon pollution.
Our Stuck Report highlights that 67% of BC homes with furnaces are at risk for failure before 2030. That means 67% of BC homes, without a Time of Replacement regulation, or a greater shift in the market, will likely continue to emit carbon pollution long after the 2030 climate target deadlines. We hope that Vancouver’s new council and mayor will take action and build upon the existing regulations passed in May, to ensure we meet our climate targets, and do our part in mitigating the risks and impacts of Climate Change.