Ambitious strategy also sets target to reduce GHG levels to 50 per cent below 2007 levels
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) continues to prioritize tackling the serious threat of climate change. This week the draft Climate Action Big Moves Strategy was presented to Whistler Council – including six proposed Big Moves focused on the transportation, buildings and waste sectors and a new proposed 2030 target for Whistler’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.
"Whistler Council is pleased to see this important strategy continue to advance and looks forward to engaging with community organizations and the community-at-large,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton. “Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our community – and the world – face, and taking targeted, impactful actions to reduce Whistler’s contribution is critical.”
The ambitious strategy is currently being workshopped with various community groups. In addition to Whistler Council, the plan has been reviewed by the original Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) committee, the Transportation Advisory Group, the Zero Waste Committee and a Whistler climate leader’s group organized by AWARE.
RMOW staff will now reach out to key community partners, including Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, the Canadian Homebuilders Association (Whistler), the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and others. Community engagement is also being planned and details will be announced when ready.
The intention is to return to Whistler Council to request adoption in the fall of 2020.
Six proposed Big Moves
The Big Moves Strategy identifies three specific areas where Whistler can have the biggest impact to dramatically reduce the community’s contribution to GHG and energy consumption: transportation, buildings and waste sectors.
The proposed Big Moves are:
- Move beyond the car – By 2030, 50 per cent of all trips in Whistler are by transit and active transportation.
- Decarbonize passenger and commercial transportation – By 2030, 50 per cent of all vehicle kilometres travelled are from zero-emission vehicles.
- Reduce visitor travel emissions – By 2030, Whistler demonstrates leadership in redefining tourism in a low carbon world.
- Build zero emission buildings – By 2030, all new buildings achieve the top step in B.C.’s Energy Step Code, use only low carbon heating systems, and embodied carbon emissions drop by 40 per cent.
- Make existing buildings better – By 2030, reduce emissions from residential buildings by 20 per cent and from large commercial buildings by 40 per cent.
- Close the loop and shift toward lower carbon consumption – By 2030, reduce waste sector emissions by 95 per cent and reduce embodied emissions from products and services.
Approximately 90 per cent of Whistler’s emissions are from vehicle transport and buildings.
Personal transport within Whistler is the biggest source of GHG emissions, accounting for 56 per cent of total emissions. Emissions have declined by six per cent in the buildings sector since 2007, but they still account for 34 per cent of Whistler’s emissions, with commercial buildings representing 24 per cent and residential buildings 11 per cent of the total. While the waste sector is Whistler’s best performing sector, reducing emissions by 90 per cent since 2005, it is still included in this strategy for consistency with others using the Big Moves approach and to recognize that more can be done.
New 2030 target
The Climate Action Strategy also sets a new 2030 target for Whistler’s GHG reductions of 50 per cent below 2007 levels.
Even with the increased urgency to address climate change, Whistler is not on track to achieve its existing climate targets, which are set at achieving reductions of 33 per cent by 2020, 80 per cent by 2050, and 90 per cent by 2060 – all below 2007 levels. To motivate action and increase accountability, the new 2030 target will provide greater focus on more near term deliverables.
The 2030 target is in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations of achieving a 45 per cent reduction below 2010 levels and is even more proactive than the target set by the Province of British Columbia of a 40 per cent reduction below 2007 levels.
If Whistler’s six Big Moves are achieved successfully, it is estimated that they will reduce emissions by 36 per cent from 2007 levels. To close the gap for the 2030 target, additional action at the municipal, provincial and federal levels will be needed in the next decade.
Building on CECAP and the OCP
The draft Climate Action Strategy builds on the work of the 2016 CECAP and supports the Official Community Plan (OCP).
The strategy’s projects and initiatives will be funded through the RMOW’s Climate Action Rebate Incentive Program (CARIP) and supplemented with outside funding as much as possible.
Learn more at whistler.ca/BigMoves.