Image showing the emissions reduction in the new environmental charter, when compared with the targets set in the 2015 United Nations Paris Accords.

Image showing the emissions reduction in the new environmental charter, when compared with the targets set in the 2015 United Nations Paris Accords.

Mission adopts new 5-year environment charter; emission targets still way short of UN goal

City needs to cut emissions to 1/10 of current output in 30 years to meet 2050 targets

The City of Mission has updated its 14-year-old environmental charter, but – along with provincial and federal plans – the proposed actions are still well short of the 2030 and 2050 United Nations’ emissions targets in the Paris Agreement.

Council unanimously endorsed the Environmental Charter 2022-2027 on July 18, which combines the former 2008 charter with the 2012 emissions plan. It lists 70 actions to be taken.

Staff said they expect the provincial and federal governments to take greater steps over time, but some councillors expressed a desire for more drastic action.

“The drawbacks of course, are that it doesn’t meet the target that we wanted to achieve, and it doesn’t get there fast enough,” said Coun. Mark Davies. “How can we accelerate some of these, and exceed even the targets?”

The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of the world’s leading climate scientists, have been sending out dire warnings for decades about the catastrophic effects should humanity fail to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees.

The world needs to cut net greenhouse GHG emission by 45 per cent of 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050, according to the IPCC.

For Mission this means cutting 240,000 tonnes of C02 equivalents to 156,000, and to less than 24,000 tonnes by 2050.

Mission’s former charter included 116 proposed actions to make the community more sustainable: 45 were completed, 50 were partially completed and 20 were never started. Staff said renewing the charter became a priority over the last four years.

Mayor Paul Horn said it was disturbing that so many actions did not even start, and suggests it was likely because of capacity shortfalls.

“We’re well behind acknowledging that environmental management is part of the council’s work,” Horn said. “Staffing properly for the future is a part of how this moves forward.”

Public engagement starting last November on a draft of the charter received overwhelming support for all major areas of the plan.

A “high level” of concern was expressed regarding climate change, and each vision and action received over 90 per cent support.

Its time frames received 70 per cent support, but many participants commented they want actions to be taken sooner.

Transportation represents 59 per cent of Mission’s total emissions, primarily from the burning of gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

Most of the reductions over the next 30 years will come from provincial and federal efforts to transition to electric forms of transportation by regulating fossil-fuel burning vehicles, including a ban on new sales by 2035.

The city will do its part by electrification of its fleet of vehicles and support infrastructure needed for electric vehicles in the future.

Other reductions to municipal vehicle emissions include accelerating the development of a network of active transportation corridors, such as the greenways and multi-use paths, prioritizing public transportation, as well as strategic neighbourhood planning.

The next highest GHG source in Mission comes from building emissions, accounting for 31 per cent, primarily from space and hot water heating in homes and workplaces.

Higher standards in the BC Building code are described as crucial – constructing energy efficient buildings can currently only be incentivized by local governments through the BC Step Code.

Retrofitting older homes with low-carbon systems is also emphasized.

Land-use designations are seen as a way to lower local pollution output. The Official Community Plan can protect the current employment land stock, thereby reducing local commute times; it can also incentivize green building guidelines.

The last 10 per cent of local emissions come from waste, the majority from the landfill – approximately 24,000 tonnes of co2 annually.

The city will apply for grants to implement a gas capture system at the site, which has a $1.8 million price tag.

Further waste management initiatives include single-use plastics bans, litter and illegal dumping management strategies, expansion of the curbside collection and waste diversion programs, and promoting the Mission Environmental Stewardship program.

Infrastructure improvements like the acceleration of water-meter installations and LED street lights, and protecting and enhancing local ecosystems and greenspace are also on the to-do list.

Two forms of monitoring have been put in place to ensure the city makes progress on the five-year endeavor.

First, annual reports will be made by the council with key performance indicators, successes and suggestions for improvements; second, an environmental working ground will be created and meet quarterly to advise on implementation and suggest further actions.

City CouncilEnvironmentMission

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