Climate change is affecting the long term survival of our urban forest. Metro Vancouver is developing guidelines and education materials to help landscapers choose trees that can adapt to our region’s urban environment and weather conditions.
When we talk about Climate Change we usually talk about the need to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Each year in the region, 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gases are released. Metro Vancouver wants to reduce these emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050.
But, how do you measure 15 million tonnes of GHGs??
Well, turns out you don’t – they’re calculated.
Greenhouse gases are created when fuels are burned. If you know how much fuel is being burned you can figure out how many GHGs are being created. So, the data nerds and engineers at Metro Vancouver gather fuel consumption data from a whole bunch of sources, add in some chemical formulas, and then mass of emissions can be estimated.
For things that move around like the family car, ships, aircraft, trains, heavy duty trucks, bulldozers and tractors, federal agencies like Transport Canada and provincial agencies like ICBC, can tell us how many of these vehicles there are in the region. Combine that with fuel consumption data and you can come up with a good idea of total emissions.
So that makes up about a half of the greenhouse gases – of which about 30 per cent is from cars and trucks. Next, coming in at about 25 per cent are things that stay put: namely, buildings.
For example, rooftop vents release CO2 in the process of heating and cooling buildings. Natural gas provider FortisBC provides the information needed for most of these calculations. Industrial facilities also track their fuel use and report to Metro Vancouver. And then those data nerds go to work to calculate the GHGs emitted by this sector.
Data is also collected on a range of other emission contributors, like cement production, petroleum refining, landfilling, and agriculture. There is a bit more fine tuning to meet United Nations International Climate Change protocols, but generally, that’s how we measure greenhouse gas emissions.
Find out more on how we plan to meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
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It’s December 8th and Vancouver is experiencing a King Tide — as the sun and moon’s gravitational forces come together to create some of the highest tides of the year. It’s also a preview of what we can expect if global temperatures, and sea levels, continue to rise. To better understand the future implications, the City of Vancouver has people taking pictures… in the name of science.
Most electric vehicle charging takes place at home, which can be a challenge for apartment dwellers as multi-family buildings comprise about half the housing choices in the region. New bylaws and incentives are advancing EV charger requirements in multi-family dwellings in the region, such as the City of North Vancouver’s newly established guidelines.
The first year of the Corporation of Delta’s Urban Reforestation Project will see more than 1,000 trees planted in Delta. In five years, a total of 5,000 trees will be planted in Delta’s parks, boulevards, and medians.
Surrey is one of the first cities in Canada to embark on a full conversion of street lighting to LED. The high efficiency and life expectancy of LED lights will result in about $1 million in annual savings in reduced power consumption and maintenance costs.
It’s a green sweep at the Coquitlam Curling Club. We stop in at the Provincial Women’s Curling Championships at the Poirier Leisure Centre in Coquitlam to look below the ice on the facility’s impressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction track record.
The City of Surrey Organic Waste Biofuel Processing Facility will process food scraps into renewable natural gas. The gas will fuel the City’s natural gas fleet, fuel a District Energy System, and reduce Surrey’s carbon footprint.
West Vancouver’s location between the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains makes for a beautiful setting. But it also leaves it vulnerable to climate change impacts — such as sea level rise and extreme weather events. So the municipality is looking to the future and seeking local input in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — through the creation of a community energy and emissions plan (CEEP).