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Vancouver on track to miss its 2030 climate targets, council hears

Nearly five years after the City of Vancouver declared a climate emergency, projections show the municipality falling short of its climate target.

The update came in an annual report on the city’s efforts to tackle climate change presented to council on Wednesday.

“It’s obviously not a problem Vancouver is going to be solving alone, it’s a global problem that demands a global solution, but we do have an important role in that,” said Matt Horne, the city’s manager of climate mitigation.

According to the report, Vancouver has managed to cut its carbon emissions by 12 per cent from 2007 to 2007.

The city’s goal is a 50-per cent reduction by 2030, but Horne said under a “best-case scenario” Vancouver would still fall short, hitting a 40-per cent cut.

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The city’s current trajectory also makes it “unlikely” to meet targets for three of the six “big moves” laid out in its Climate Emergency Action Plan, with two others also questionable.

The only one of the six Vancouver is currently on track to achieve is its goals to reduce carbon-intensive materials and construction practices, the report found.

Key targets on complete, walkable neighbourhoods, active transportation and transit and zero-emission space and water heating appear unlikely to be met, while zero-emission vehicle targets and restored coast and forest targets were listed as somewhat likely.

“Our hope is we can follow through on those plans and give ourselves some momentum and foundation to close the gap in the second half of the decade,” Horne said.

Bright spots in the city’s climate action plan included the elimination of parking minimums for new housing in some parts of the city, pilot programs to retrofit non-profit and rental housing to move away from gas-powered heating and hot water, and progress cataloging the city’s active mobility needs.

Horne said councillors will face numerous decisions this year on policies that could speed up or slow down progress on climate action, including domestic hot water regulations, mass timber construction incentives, the next phase of its parking minimums policy and on-street parking management, heating equipment regulations and the upcoming Rupert/Renfrew plan.

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