This summer temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius across the province in the latest sign of global warming. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

This summer temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius across the province in the latest sign of global warming. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Draft Penticton climate plan aims to cut emissions to zero by 2050

The plan has not yet been approved by city council

The City of Penticton is looking at potentially adopting an aggressive climate change plan that would aim to cut all emissions in the city to zero by 2050.

The draft plan went before the community sustainability advisory committee on Oct. 20 ahead of going to city council for approval or rejection later in 2021.

The community climate action plan aims to have a 40 per cent reduction in the community’s emissions below 2007 levels by 2030, with the remaining 60 per cent being targeted for reduction over the next 20 years.

The community’s previous plan from 2011 had set a goal of a comparatively small five per cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2020, when the community instead saw 22 per cent increase by 2020.

The newly proposed plan would include a recommended target and a carbon budget to be measured each year.

According to the draft plan, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses in the community comes from vehicles, with 54 per cent. Buildings and waste make up 33 and 13 per cent respectively.

Cutting down on vehicle emissions would have a secondary benefit as residents spend $143 million a year on energy costs, with 47 per cent of that for passenger vehicles.

The plan has recommendations to tackle those emissions by encouraging transit usage and a zero-emissions transit network, moving towards electric passenger vehicles and low-carbon options for commercial vehicles and encouraging active transportation such as cycling.

READ MORE: Penticton looks to spend over $15 million on bike lanes over the next 5 years

Separate from reducing vehicle emissions, the plan has recommendations for improving efficiency requirements for new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings and reducing the carbon emissions from the city’s waste.

Three particular aspects of the plan are still in drafting, including recommendations on urban tree canopy in the city, mobility recommendations and recommendations of a home energy retrofit strategy.

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Climate change