As if the 2015 federal candidates debates weren’t exciting enough, for 2016 the Victoria Chapter has taken on the municipalities of southern Vancouver Island.
Inspired by the Renewable City Strategy of the City of Vancouver, we are asking the municipalities in our area to adopt a 2050 goal of meeting 100% of their energy use with renewables. And we mean all energy use in the community, not just municipal operations.
Towns and cities are leaders on energy issues. Last December, as nations met at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, 1,000 mayors from around the world stepped up with major commitments on carbon pollution reduction and/or switching to renewable sources for their energy. Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson was honoured by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group for having the Greenest City Action Plan.
Municipal governments are mobilizing businesses and people to act on renewable energy and climate change. Since 2007, the US Mayors Climate Protection Center has promoted climate action policies. Similar work is being done in Europe and elsewhere. Osnabrück in Germany is pioneering the use of laser technology and thermal imaging to map the solar energy potentials and energy leakage of the roofs of the town. A key feature is that the town has persuaded banks to pay for the expensive data analysis, in expectation of lucrative loans to building owners wanting to install solar panels or improve the efficiency of their buildings.
We are not that far advanced on the Island, but the municipalities are trying to move forward. The District of Saanich has commissioned the Victoria Chapter to develop a “pathway” for Saanich to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. Look for notice of a town hall meeting this fall, where we will to present our findings. The details will be specific to Saanich, but the concepts will be applicable to all the communities in the area, and we hope everyone will come.
Also, BCSEA has submitted a proposal to the Union of BC Municipalities for a workshop on the 100% renewable energy concept, which would be presented at the UBCM 2016 Convention in Victoria in September.
Wanted: a climate action champion. We need a municipality to sponsor a 100% renewable energy resolution at the UBCM convention.
And finally, public outreach and engagement is extremely important. The Victoria Chapter has been at Car Free Day, the Canada Day Gorge Picnic and other events, telling people about “100% RE by 2050” and collecting signatures on a petition to our municipal leaders to adopt that goal. Results so far: over 1,400 southern Island residents want their towns and cities to shoot for the goal. Next up, the Saanich Strawberry Festival on Sunday the 10th. We hope to see you there!