Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson
Chapter 6: Local Solutions to a Global Problem? Climate Change Policy-making in Vancouver
Elizabeth Schwartz 1. INTRODUCTION In the face of limited action at other levels of government, some cities around the world have adopted various policy and regulatory measures to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. This chapter seeks to explain the relatively expansive mitigation and adaptation policies and related measures in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) relative to other Canadian cities. A brief survey of Canadian cities suggests significant variation in the climate change mitigation policies enacted. Some cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto, have created a range of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) through densification, building retrofits, changes to the municipal fleet (city-owned vehicles) and more. Others, such as Calgary and Quebec City, have made rhetorical claims of commitment to climate change policy but have done little to translate them into action. Furthermore, there has been little policy action with regard to adaptation: of Canada’s largest cities, only three have developed plans to guide municipal adaptation.1 This chapter presents a case study of the City of Vancouver.2 As the 1 Canadian cities that have official adaptation plans are Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. City of Toronto ‘Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change’, available at www.toronto.ca/teo/pdf/ahead_of_the_storm.pdf (accessed 1 December 2011); ‘City Council Meeting Highlights’ (August 2008), available at http://ottawa.ca/city_hall/mayor_council/council_updates/2008/20080828_en.html (accessed 1 December 2011); ‘Greenest City Action Plan’ (July 2011), available at http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110712/documents/rr1.pdf (accessed 1 December 2011). 2 From September to November 2011, I conducted 17 interviews with current and former...
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