Protecting our environment and responding to climate change

Metro Vancouver is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with sea-level rise, wildfire activity and extreme weather events threatening to significantly impact our air quality, economy and overall livability.

Unprecedented wildfire activity in western North America has resulted in a record-breaking number of Air Quality Advisories over the past several years. It is expected that these smoky skies will continue, along with drier, hotter summers and warmer, wetter winters. These changes will significantly impact the quality of life in the region and will have severe financial impacts for residents, businesses and governments.

As our region’s population continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to protect and preserve sensitive ecosystems and green spaces, including Regional Parks. Addressing environmental issues and helping local governments be better prepared must be among the top priorities– otherwise future generations will pay the price.

More about the Issue

Climate 2050 Caring for the Air Regional Parks Plan Metro Vancouver’s Sensitive Ecosystems

QuestionS

 

If elected, will your party commit to at least doubling the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund in consultation with local governments?

 

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    Metro Vancouver is already experiencing the effects of climate change with hotter summers and warmer, wetter winters. These seasonal changes in weather patterns are anticipated to result in extended drought periods, an increase in rainfall intensity and a one-metre rise in sea level by 2100.

    It is essential to ensure Metro Vancouver’s infrastructure is resilient to the changing climate and other potential disasters. If we don’t prepare, this level of environmental change will significantly affect the quality of life in the region and have severe financial impacts for residents, businesses and governments.

    The federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund currently commits $2 billion nationwide to resiliency projects and upgrades, but this is not enough to meet the needs of all communities across the country. This could result in worthy projects being postponed, putting communities at risk.

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    Response not yet received.

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    Climate change is happening and it is affecting Canadian communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. More and more Canadians realize that natural hazards like floods, wildland fires and winter storms are increasing in frequency and intensity. Building on the $2 billion we have already invested in helping communities prepare for and prevent weather related disasters like floods and fires, we will move forward with an additional $1 billion investment over the next decade in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, so communities have a proactive, permanent and sustainable way to address the emerging threats of climate change.

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    Yes, Canadian families are already living with the impact of climate change – for too many, climate-related disasters like flooding have turned lives upside down, destroying homes and neighborhoods – with no end in sight. New Democrats have a bold climate plan that will confront the climate crisis and help our communities protect themselves from the impacts of climate change, like flooding and forest fires. We won’t leave Canadians to deal with these disasters by themselves – it’s time to step up.

    We’ll expand federal funding by $2.5 billion to help communities respond to disasters and strengthen infrastructure to withstand floods and other extreme weather events. We will sit down with provinces, territories and local governments to ensure that the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund meets the needs of communities.

  • If elected, Greens will:

    • Makes changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
    • Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
    • Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.


If elected, will your party commit to improving regulatory standards for air, marine and rail emissions to help Metro Vancouver and others fight against air pollution and climate change?

 

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    Metro Vancouver is in the process of implementing a regional climate strategy—Climate 2050—that will guide climate change policy and action in the region over the next 30 years. Metro Vancouver’s Board has also committed to becoming a carbon neutral region by 2050.

    In order to achieve these ambitious goals, greater federal regulations are required to address greenhouse gas emissions on a national level. This includes strengthening regulations around emissions from air, marine and rail modes of transportation as they contribute over one-third of the region’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

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    Response not yet received.

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    When it comes to fighting climate change, one thing is clear: doing less costs people more. The best way through the climate emergency we are all facing is forward – toward a net-zero emissions future. To help achieve this goal by 2050, we will:

    • set legally-binding, five-year milestones, based on the advice of the experts and consultations with Canadians, to reach net-zero emissions;
    • appoint a group of scientists, economists, and experts to recommend the best path to get to net-zero;
    • exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions goal by introducing new carbon reducing measures; and
    • ensure energy workers and communities can shape their own futures by introducing a Just Transition Act, giving workers access to the training, support, and new opportunities needed to succeed in the clean economy.

    The transportation sector is Canada’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 173 megatonnes or 24% of the national total. Transport Canada leads a suite of regulatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the rail, aviation and marine sectors, and also supports emission reductions from the on-road sector.

    For instance, our government has moved forward on a range of activities related to rail emissions, including:

    • Funding 10 university projects through the Clean Rail Academic Grant Program in 2016/17, including work on developing a wireless charging system for an electric rail system;
    • implementing new Locomotive Emissions Regulations in June 2017 to reduce the emissions of air pollutants from new locomotives;
    • addressing GHG emissions from the rail sector through the joint Canada–U.S. locomotive emissions initiative under the Regulatory Cooperation Council, a voluntary agreement with the Canadian rail industry, and research activities to enhance understanding of new technologies to reduce GHG emissions; and
    • supporting research and analysis on new technologies and practices that improve efficiency through the Regulatory Cooperation Council and Transport Canada’s Clean Rail Academic Grant Program, thereby leading to reductions in GHG emissions or emission intensity.

    Canada’s Shore Power Technology for Ports program has also invested over $19.5 million in Canadian port authorities, terminal operators and ferry operators to support the deployment of marine shore power technology. The program reduces emissions by reducing ship idling at ports. We have also moved forward with a significant pilot project that will deliver quieter, lower-emissions tankers for transporting oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline.

    To help make Canada’s ports some of the world’s cleanest in the world, a re-elected Liberal government will support efforts that convert ships from heavy oil and diesel, such as the ferries serving Canada’s coastal communities. We will work with partners over the next year to design and introduce appropriate programs.

    A re-elected Liberal government will continue to improve air quality and fight climate change by investing in green technology and pursuing effective emissions regulation of the aviation, marine and rail sectors.

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    We’re committed to improving regulatory standards for air, marine and rail emissions to help Metro Vancouver fight against air pollution and climate change.

    We need to make sure every child can play outdoors in the fresh air without choking on hazardous fumes or smoke. Polluted air and unsafe drinking water hit the most vulnerable communities the hardest, deepening injustice and compounding decades of environmental discrimination.

    As a first step, it’s time to enshrine in law the right to a healthy environment. Our federal Environmental Bill of Rights will ensure that all communities can enjoy a guarantee to clean water, land, and air, and will set the stage for the adoption of serious measures to curb climate pollution.

    Recognizing that protecting our oceans is also an important part of fighting climate change, a New Democrat government work to reduce emissions from shipping and fishing, prevent ocean acidification, and reverse the loss of coastal blue carbon ecosystems, such as salt marshes. We’ll also protect ocean biodiversity by expanding well enforced marine protected areas.

  • The transportation sector produces over a quarter of Canada’s climate pollution and this is growing. A Green government will develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040.

    To get there, Canada needs regulations to shift from gasoline-powered transportation. Greens will:

    • Ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030.
    • Require all passenger ferries to convert to electric or hybrid systems by 2030.
    • Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses.
    • Maximize emissions reductions in all transportation through the use of sustainably produced biofuels, made from waste wood by-products and used vegetable oils, where electric and fuel cells not viable, as is the case for fishing, mining and forestry equipment.


If elected, will your party support the acquisition and protection of regional parkland and ecological conservancy areas?

 

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    With Metro Vancouver adding 35,000 people every year and the number of park visitors rapidly increasing, our regional parks are quickly reaching their capacity. In order to maintain livability for current and future generations, we need to ensure a vibrant and robust regional parks system.

    Between 2009 and 2014, over 1,600 hectares of sensitive ecosystems across the Metro Vancouver region were lost—the equivalent of losing four Stanley Parks over five years. Ten percent of the region is made up of sensitive terrestrial ecosystems that could still be protected.

    But in the face of escalating land costs and development pressure, acquiring new parkland and ecological conservation areas has become increasingly difficult. Although the Canada Nature Fund in 2018 committed $500 million for ecological conservancy activities, local governments were not identified as eligible participants.

    With a limited ability to raise funds, Metro Vancouver will need support from other orders of government if we are to protect these sensitive areas and preserve parkland for current and future generations. This has been highlighted in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Land Acquisition 2050 Strategy where Metro Vancouver outlines the need for partnership and collaboration with the federal government in order to acquire park lands.

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    Response not yet received.

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    Our Government has committed to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial and freshwater areas, and 10% of marine and coastal areas, by 2020. This represents a doubling the amount of protected lands and oceans by 2020. In Budget 2018, the Government announced $1.3 billion over five years to support Canada’s biodiversity and protect species at risk, including $500 million to create a new Nature Fund to protect species at risk, expand wildlife areas and sanctuaries, manage protected areas, implement the Species at Risk Act, and establish a coordinated network of conservation areas. Since 2015, we have protected an additional 530,000 km2 of our land and oceans – an area a little bigger than Spain. We will continue to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and scientists to protect, sustain, and restore our species in their natural habitat.

    To protect more of Canada for our kids and grandkids to enjoy, we will move forward with an ambitious plan to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent in each by 2030.

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    Conservation is a vital way to protect ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. We’re committed to protecting at least 30% of our land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030 and to backing those protections with the funding and enforcement in order to achieve this goal. We’ll also work with other levels of government to develop a system of urban national parks – to advance our conservation goals while connecting more Canadians to our natural heritage. And we will work with the provinces to develop a national approach to tree-planting, using responsible reforestation to help lower our carbon footprint.

  • Greens look forward to working with regional actors through the Council of Canadian Governments in order to meet our target of protecting a minimum of 30 per cent of freshwaters, oceans and land by 2030.

    We will increase funding to federal departments to dramatically ramp up the development and implementation of endangered species recovery plans required by legislation, placing tight deadlines on completion, and invoke emergency powers of the federal government to protect species when provincial governments fail to do so.

    We will also commit $100 million annually over the next four years to create Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas and fund stewardship of these lands and waters by Indigenous guardians.