Vancouver is a green policy leader amongst Canadian municipalities, but on March 14, a new report from researchers at Simon Fraser University Energy and Materials Research Group asks Can Cities Really Make a Difference? Case Study of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy . The report focuses on the building and transportation policies of the Renewable City Strategy , using CIMS, a hybrid energy-economy model which incorporates elements of consumer choice. Applauding Vancouver for its leadership to date, the authors conclude that current policies are likely to achieve only a 30 percent reduction on projected 2050 emissions, and fail to meet the Strategy’s target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions on 2007 levels.
The report calls for stronger, politically-challenging “fuel-switching” for buildings and vehicles as the necessary next stage in emissions reduction. Amongst the specific actions suggested: No fossil fuel heating installations after 2030 for all new build residential buildings – instead, electric-powered heat pumps, solar hot water, electric thermal heat, or other zero emissions equipment. For vehicles, a gradual reduction of parking allocations for gasoline or diesel, starting in 2025, with no spaces remaining on city land for conventional cars by 2040 . Businesses would have to demonstrate exclusive use of renewably-powered fleet vehicles to qualify for a business license after 2030. Read the press release from Simon Fraser for an excellent summary; also the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, one of the sponsors of the research here . As for the Globe and Mail summary , report co-author Marc Jaccard has tweeted that it “misses my main point”, that municipal government needs the support of other government levels.