Maytober Challenge encourages residents to make the switch
The message is clear: Driving less, purchasing smaller vehicles or zero-emission electric vehicles are the best ways to help Whistler reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
That was one of the main takeaways from the 2018 Annual Report on Whistler Energy Consumption and GHG Performance Trends, which was presented to Whistler Council on Tuesday.
While the community has made progress on transportation and energy reduction initiatives, based on current trends, Whistler’s community GHG reduction targets for 2020 will not be met. Targets were for a 33 per cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2020. However in 2018, emissions were only five per cent below 2007 levels. The increased use of passenger vehicles and a shift towards larger SUVs and trucks is the primary reason Whistler is failing to achieve its climate commitments.
Emissions from private passenger vehicle trips within Whistler make up most of Whistler’s carbon footprint – 56 per cent in 2018.
Size matters. For example, to drive 20,000 kilometres a year: (Source: offsetters.ca)
- A large passenger truck consumes approximately 3,000 litres in gas which equals 7 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
- A full-size SUV consumes approximately 2,000 litres which equals 4.5 tonnes CO2 emissions a year.
- A small sedan consumes approximately 1,200 litres which equals 2.7 tonnes of CO2 a year.
- A hybrid hatchback consumes approximately 750 litres which equals 1.7 tonnes of CO2 per year/.
- An electric vehicle powered by electricity from B.C. (which is 98% clean electricity) has zero CO2 emissions.
“The bottom line is, we need to get out of vehicles, purchase smaller cars or even better, invest in zero-emission electric vehicles and carpool more often to help reduce our emissions. The Maytober Challenge is a great way to begin making small changes to our daily transportation habits that will have a big impact on our contribution to climate change,” said Whistler Councillor Arthur De Jong. “Meanwhile, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will continue to focus on taking action related to energy use and emissions from buildings and passenger vehicles to make meaningful progress towards achieving reductions.”
The “Maytober Transportation Challenge” launched May 1 and challenged residents to switch out at least one private passenger vehicle trip each week for a lower carbon transportation choice such as walking, transit, biking or carpooling until October 1, 2019 to help reduce our community’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
The RMOW calculated that if every registered vehicle owner in Whistler swapped out just one trip a week for a lower carbon mode of transportation since May 1, our community would be halfway to cutting 600 tonnes of GHGs by October 1 this year.
More Whistlerites than ever are taking part in lower carbon transportation this year:
- Bike to Work Week 2019 saw 670 registered riders in Whistler with 78 first-time participants. As a community we logged 11,283 kilometres, burned 338,500 calories and cut 2,446 kilograms of greenhouse gasses. Spring Creek, Myrtle Philip and the Waldorf elementary schools also participated in Bike to School Week.
- Preliminary data shows that bus ridership in June on the free summer weekends and holiday Mondays has increased two per cent so far this year. Transit ridership on weekends has increased 77 per cent since the introduction of the free summer weekend service in 2016.
- The free bike valet program saw a record number of 180 bikes dropped off in their secure fenced-in storage on June 29 and over 200 bikes in July 20th. So far this year, more than 1,100 bikes have been parked- with a daily average up more than 30 per cent from last year. Due to popular demand, the bike valet service will now be available all-day Saturdays in August (3, 24, 31) from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For all dates and locations, www.whistler.ca/bikeparking .
- 19 people have registered for secure bike parking underneath Whistler Public Library where we converted two car parking spaces into 30 bicycle parking spaces. For information on how to register, www.whistler.ca/bikeparking .
- The new 10 Valley Express continues to run this summer, at a reduced level and will expand service in the winter.
“Small changes really do make a difference,” said De Jong. “Whistler is a signatory of the BC Climate Action Charter and we have committed to an 80 per cent reduction in community-wide GHG emissions by 2050 and 90 per cent by 2060. We want to encourage community members to help us move towards those goals. Looking at ways to reduce our largest source of CO2 emissions is one of the many steps we can take towards reducing our overall emissions.”
More information about Whistler’s lower carbon transportation options can be found at www.whistler.ca/maytober
RMOW continues to move ahead on reduction initiatives
Longer term, the Resort Municipality of Whistler continues to work with neighbouring Sea to Sky communities on implementing a regional transit service.
The RMOW is also moving ahead on initiatives to spur a decrease in community energy and GHG emissions.
Tackling climate change is a priority for the municipality, and implementing actions from the 2015 Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) are embedded into work plans across the organization. This includes work related to both reducing Whistler’s contribution and adapting to climate change, with a vision for a resilient, lower carbon community.
Key areas to reduce the community’s contributions to climate change encompass transportation, buildings, renewable energy and solid waste management.