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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

 CONFRONT THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

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The following is the text of an open letter sent to to the Government of British Columbia

I read about it in the National Observer. They provided a link to the letter but did not publish its actual content. And the link led to a pdf file. I used their web page to send out a Tweet. I then decided that it was worth a bit of cut and paste to create a post here that will, I trust, reach a different audience than Twitter.

AN URGENT CALL TO THE BC GOVERNMENT

September 2021 

Dear Premier Horgan and the Government of BC,

We write on behalf of diverse environmental, Indigenous, labour, health, business, local government, academic, youth, and faith communities who collectively represent well over one million British Columbians.

We call on the BC government to recognize the urgency and alarm that people all over the province are feeling as the climate crisis directly impacts our communities and our health: deadly heat waves, wildfires, drought, floods, crop failure, fisheries collapse, and costly evacuations and infrastructure damage. These climate-related impacts are unprecedented and intensifying. Indigenous peoples stand to be disproportionately impacted by climate events despite successfully taking care of the land since time immemorial.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a ‘code red’ for humanity. The International Energy Agency has called on world governments to immediately stop investments in and approvals of new oil and gas projects. 

The provincial government’s CleanBC climate action plan is insufficient to limit warming to 1.5°C and will not keep British Columbians safe from the worst impacts of climate change. 

We therefore urge the BC government to develop and implement a transformative climate emergency plan that recognizes the interconnected climate, ecological, and social crises; embeds equity, anti-racism, and social justice at its core; and upholds Indigenous Title and Rights, and Treaty Rights.

To implement the rapid systemic change that is required, we call on the provincial government to demonstrate the leadership necessary to confront the climate emergency, and immediately undertake the following ten actions:

1

Set binding climate targets based on science and justice

Reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions by ~7.5% per year below 2007 levels. Set binding reduction targets of 15% by 2023; 30% by 2025; 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2040 (below 2007 levels). Review and update targets regularly as climate science evolves.

2

Invest in a thriving, regenerative, zero emissions economyInvest 2% of BC’s GDP ($6 billion dollars per year) to advance the zero emissions economy and create tens of thousands of good jobs. Spend what it takes to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new economic institutions to get the job done. Ensure that the economic component of Aboriginal Title is recognized through the sharing of benefits and revenues that result.

3

Rapidly wind down all fossil fuel production and use

Immediately stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure including fracking, oil and gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and fossil fuel-derived hydrogen. Rapidly phase out and decommission all existing fossil fuel production and exports.

4

End fossil fuel subsidies and make polluters pay

End all fossil fuel subsidies and financial incentives by 2022. Ensure that those industries that profit from fossil fuel pollution pay their fair share of the resulting climate damage.

5

Leave no-one behind 

Ensure a just transition for fossil fuel workers, resource-dependent communities, and Indigenous and remote communities impacted by fossil fuel production. It will be critical to collaborate in true partnership with Indigenous peoples in climate action. Prepare our communities for the impacts of the climate crisis to minimize human suffering and infrastructure damage. Support those most vulnerable to climate change impact.

6

Protect and restore nature 

Protect 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030; support and invest in Indigenous-led conservation initiatives; restore natural ecosystems to enhance ecosystem functions and services, preserve biodiversity, increase carbon sequestration, and improve human and ecosystem resilience to climate impacts. Impose an immediate moratorium on the industrial logging of all old growth forests which are critical carbon sinks. 

7

Invest in local, organic, regenerative agriculture and food systems 

Incentivize carbon storage in soil, restore biodiversity, and ensure food sovereignty and food security across the province. Increase consumption of plant-based foods, and reduce food waste. Support Indigenous communities that wish to maintain traditional food systems and enhance their food security. 

8

Accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation 

Invest in affordable, accessible, and convenient public transit within and between all communities. Reallocate infrastructure funds from highway expansion to transit and active transportation (cycling, rolling, and walking). Mandate zero emissions for all new light vehicles by 2027, and all medium and heavy duty vehicles by 2030. 

Accelerate the transition to zero emission buildings 

Ban new natural gas connections to all new and existing buildings by end of 2022. Create a Crown Corporation to mobilize the workforce to retrofit all existing buildings and eliminate fossil fuel heating by 2035, and to build new affordable zero emissions buildings. 

10 

Track and report progress on these actions every year 

Embed all of these actions in legislation to ensure accountability, transparency, and inclusion. Establish rolling 5-year carbon budgets that decline over time towards zero emissions by 2040 or sooner 

A VISION FOR OUR FUTURE

The climate emergency offers an unprecedented opportunity to generate new, vibrant economic and social wealth as we transform where our energy comes from and how it is used. It offers an opportunity to achieve energy security, ensure food security, develop more sustainable local economies and jobs, transform our buildings, redesign transportation, reduce pollution, improve human health and wellbeing, and enhance our quality of life. The transition from fossil fuels to a zero emissions economy has clear benefits for people and natural ecosystems, and is an opportunity to create a more prosperous, just, and equitable society.

Every person, every business, every industry, and every government has a role to play as we coordinate individual and collective actions to create a thriving, resilient, and regenerative society that respects its interdependence with healthy ecosystems and a safe climate.

British Columbia is positioned to become a visionary world leader and demonstrate that innovative and rapid change is possible as we transition to a zero emissions economy.

We urge you to seize these opportunities, and demonstrate to British Columbians that our government is indeed a true climate leader by implementing the 10 climate emergency actions set out in this letter.

We must act now.

SIGNATORIES

Indigenous

British Columbia Assembly of First Nations

First Nations Summit

Gidimt’en Checkpoint

RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs)

Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Arts / Culture

Brackendale Art Gallery

Canadian Media Producers Association (BC Branch)

Claymates Ceramics Studio Inc.

Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice

Hummingbird Music Studio

Indian Summer Arts Society

Neworld Theatre

South Cariboo Arts and Culture Society

Spring Magazine

Women in Film and Television Vancouver

Business

1st Knowledge Bank Ltd

Audiopile Records

Barnacle Strategies Consulting

Bydand Wealth Management

Calmura Natural Walls Inc.

Climb On Equipment Ltd

Cool.World

Crowned Vitta LLC

Curio Research Ltd.

Drinkfill Beverages LTD

Earnest Ice Cream

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society

Goldilocks Goods

Harvey McKinnon Associates

Hollyhock

KWENCH

Lush Cosmetics North America 

Nada

New/Mode

OMC Inc.

Patagonia 

Persephone Brewing Company

Rain or Shine Ice Cream

Redroof Enterprizes

Renewal Funds

Rethink2gether

Salish Soils Inc.

Sea To Sky Cable Cam Inc.

Squamish ReBuild Society

Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD)

Tegan McMartin Photography

TREE WORLD Plant Care Products, Inc.

Vedalia Biological Inc.

Viridian Energy Coop

Visual Science

Community group

Alliance4Democracy (Sunshine Coast)

BC Hydro Ratepayers Association

Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.

Council of Canadians (Campbell River Chapter)

Council of Canadians (Comox Valley Chapter )

Council of Canadians (Nelson Chapter)

Council of Canadians (Terrace Chapter)

Council of Canadians (Victoria Chapter)]

Courage Coalition

Food Stash Foundation

Friends of Tilbury Working Group

Global Peace Alliance BC Society

Kaslo Community Action Team

Language Partners BC

Out Here Ski & Board Club

Philosophers Anonymous

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

South Park Family School

Tree of Life Nature Playschool 

UNBC Outdoors Club

Health

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Canadian Health Association for Sustainability & Equity (CHASE)

Doctors for Planetary Health (West Coast)

Inner Light Healing Arts

Mental Health and Climate Change Alliance

Public Health Association of BC

Faith

Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

First Unitarian Church of Victoria

Holy Cross and Saint Patricks RC Parishes 

KAIROS (BC-Yukon Region)

Naramata Community Church 

North Shore Unitarian Church Environmental Action Team

Salt Spring Island Unitarian Fellowship

Squamish United Church

Vancouver Unitarians

Yasodhara Ashram Society

Labour

Douglas College Faculty Association

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators

North Island College Faculty Association 

Public Service Alliance of Canada (BC Region)

Worker Solidarity Network 

Seniors

Canadian Senior Cohousing Society

Pacific Park Place Housing Cooperative

Squamish Seniors Society

Suzuki Elders

Youth

Douglas Students’ Union

My Sea to Sky Youth Council

Quest Student Environmental Committee 

Reel Youth

Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)

Students for Mining Justice

Sustainabiliteens

Take a Stand: Youth for Conservation

Environment / Climate action

350 Vancouver

Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary

Alberni Climate Action

Alberni Valley Transition Town Society

Armstrong/Spallumcheen Climate Action

Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards

Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment 

Babies for Climate Action (New Westminster)

Babies for Climate Action (Vancouver)

BC Climate Alliance

BC Nature

BC Sea Wolves

Below2C

Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria

Bowen Island Conservancy

British Columbia Cycling Coalition

Burnaby Climate Hub 

Burnaby Residents Against Kinder MorganExpansion (BROKE)

Canadian Freshwater Alliance

Chase Environmental Action Group

Chemainus Climate Solutions

Citizen’s Climate Lobby (Okanagan Chapter)

Citizen’s Oil & Gas Council

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Nelson-West Kootenay Chapter)

Climate Action Now!

Climate Caucus

Climate Emergency Unit

Climate Justice Victoria

Concerned Citizens Bowen

Cowichan Valley Naturalists

Creatively United for the Planet

David Suzuki Foundation

Denman Island Climate Action Network

Dogwood

First Things First Okanagan

For Our Kids (North Shore)

For Our Kids (Sunshine Coast)

For Our Kids (Vancouver)

Force of Nature (North Shore Community Action Team)

Georgia Strait Alliance

GOAL12 Sustainable Consumption and Production Society

Green Teams of Canada

HUB Cycling

Lawyers For Climate Justice

Leadnow

Living Forest Institute Society

Living Oceans Society

Mount Work Coalition

My Sea to Sky

Nanaimo Climate Action Hub

Net0world 

North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club

OneEarth

Parents 4 Climate

Planetary Resilience Council of BC

Protect Our Winters Canada

Roots on the Roof

Saanich Eco Advocates

Salish Sea Renewable Energy Cooperative

Salt Spring Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society

Sea Smart

Shuswap Climate Action

Sierra Club BC

Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Squamish Climate Action Network (Squamish CAN)

Squamish Environment Society

Squamish Food Policy Council (SFPC)

Stand.earth

Sunshine Coast Conservation Association

Sunshine Coast Streamkeepers Society

Sustainability Action Group for the Environment

Synergia Institute

Transition Kamloops

Transition Salt Spring

Transition Sooke

Victoria Climate Hub

Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Watershed Watch Salmon Society

West Coast Climate Action Network (WE-CAN)

West Coast Environmental Law Association

West Kootenay EcoSociety

Wilderness Committee

Wildsight

Yellow Point Ecological Society

Zero Waste BC

Written by Stephen Rees

September 29, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Environment

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