Richmond City Council declares climate emergency
26 March 2019
The City of Richmond has joined a growing international movement by declaring a climate emergency. Council has also directed staff to consult with the public on recommended revisions to the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets and other climate action strategies.
Richmond joins hundreds of cities across the globe, representing more than 20 million citizens, who have declared a climate emergency. The movement is a response to last fall’s warning from the Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change (IPCC) that drastic action is needed immediately to offset the risks of accelerating global warming.
Public consultation will be launched later this year to consider proposed revisions to the City’s GHG targets.
Future measures to help achieve the new goals could include increased energy efficiency standards for new buildings, further development of low-carbon energy systems in new and existing buildings, and development of additional electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Expanded active transportation systems, denser communities and transit investments will also contribute to long term GHG reductions in the future.
Richmond already has a strong record of taking action on climate change. The City reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by eight per cent between 2007 and 2010, and by a further four per cent between 2010 and 2015, despite 12 per cent growth in population over that entire period.
The City has achieved carbon neutral operations through the Richmond Carbon Market program during the past five years and projects that carbon neutrality will be maintained until at least the 2021 reporting year.
Other leading best practice initiatives undertaken by Richmond include:
- Lulu Island Energy Company, the City’s wholly-owned utility, is on track to become the largest district energy in North America. The City’s district energy systems already provide more than 3.6 million square feet of residential and commercial floor space with energy-efficient and cost-effective energy services.
- Richmond has achieved 78% diversion of organic wastes from single family homes, greatly reducing GHG emissions from anaerobic decomposition. The City is ahead of target to achieve a region-wide goal for 80% waste diversion by 2020.
- A new Richmond requirement that 100% of new residential parking spaces be supplied with EV charging infrastructure is a North American first and an increasingly influential precedent for other local governments.
- The City has installed 10 public Level 2 electric vehicle charging ports at five different locations in Richmond, with the installation of six additional ports (including two Level 3 ports and a sixth location) planned.
- Through implementation of the City’s Green Fleet Action Plan, Richmond was the first local government to achieve an E3 Fleet “Platinum” rating from the Fraser Basin Council.
- The City played a key role in both developing and implementing the Province’s new Energy Step Code, a new set of “better-than-code” energy efficiency standards for new buildings. Richmond was the first municipality in BC to announce its intent to begin stakeholder consultations on local adoption of the Energy Step Code.
- The City is investing about $11 million annually in diking and drainage infrastructure aimed in part at offsetting the threat of rising sea levels due to global warming and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events.