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Climate Change Background – Local


​Climate change impacts are already evident in our region, and will become more marked in the near future. Metro Vancouver’s Climate Projections Report details the projected impacts of climate change in this region, including:

  • Warmer temperatures: with increasing daytime and nighttime temperatures, there will be more hot summer days and fewer winter days with frost or ice.
  • Longer summer dry spells: summer rainfall will decline by nearly 20%, with increased likelihood of extended drought periods.
  • Wetter fall and winters: although on average the total annual rainfall is expected to increase by just 5%, there will be a large increase in rainfall during fall and winter.
  • More extreme precipitation events: more rain will fall during the wettest days of the year and the frequency of extreme rainfall events will increase.
  • Decreased snowpack: the deep spring snowpack in the mountainous watersheds is expected to decrease by over 50% compared to present day.
  • Sea level rise: in addition to these weather-related changes predicted in our region, warming global temperature is projected to bring at least 1 metre of sea level rise by 2100, which will impact coastal communities in our region.

The impacts of 150 years of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are also being seen around the world. Research suggests that if we rapidly reduce global emissions to net-zero, temperatures could stabilize relatively quickly thereafter. Every fraction of a degree of warming avoided by taking collective action to reduce these emissions will save lives and avoid damage to infrastructure and ecosystems, both locally and globally.​

Canada’s Changing Climate Report (CCCR2019)

CCCR2019, released in 2019, and led by Environment and Climate Change Canada, is the first major report of the National Assessment Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action. This report is about how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future. It includes clear and concise statements about Canada’s climate change story. Much of the content confirms research conducted at the Provincial and regional level. Sample findings from the report are:

  • ​​​​Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming. Northern Canada has warmed and will continue to warm at more than double the global rate.
  • The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing, with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.

Read the Canada’s Changing Climate Report.


Regional Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Regional Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Source: Metro Vancouver 2018

Above is a summary of how different sources contributed to the regional “carbon footprint” (approximately 14.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2015). Transportation and buildings continue to contribute the greatest share of greenhouse gas emissions in Metro Vancouver’s emission inventory.

Carbon Neutral by 2050

Creating a carbon neutral region by 2050 will require unprecedented greenhouse gas reductions across most sectors. Many sectors must become “zero emissions”, and any remaining greenhouse gas emissions will need to be balanced with ecological and technological carbon removal approaches. The graphic below illustrates how a carbon neutral region can be achieved by a combination of deep emissions reductions in all sectors and some carbon removal.

How we create a carbon neutral region by 2050 infograph

Source: Metro Vancouver 2018


Carbon Neutral 2050 – a Policy and Modelling Report (2021)

This report describes the anticipated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by modelling and comparing climate policies for a ‘business as planned’ scenario and an ‘aggressive but achievable’ scenario.

Highlights from the report include:

  • By implementing a suite of ‘aggressive yet achievable’ policies, it is possible to significantly decreases greenhouse gas emissions in this region.
  • However, even with this significant decrease, the modelling indicates we are not on track to achieve our 2030 and 2050 targets. To reach these targets, additional and accelerated actions are needed.
  • Reducing overall energy use and switching to clean, renewable energy are key to reaching the goal of a carbon neutral region by 2050.

Read the Carbon Neutral 2050 – a Policy and Modelling Report (2021)


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