Vancouver City Council voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to declare a climate emergency and gave city staff 90 days to “come up with new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set new climate change targets,” Global News reports.
Before the vote, local high school students relied outside city hall to demand faster climate action.
The unanimous vote “speaks to the urgency that people recognize the climate crisis and that people need to be stepping up,” said Councillor Christine Boyle, who presented the motion. “I was really inspired to see the students there, and to know that they are acting similarly to students around the globe to get older elected leaders in office to listen to them.”
Boyle’s motion referred to the provincial state of emergency declared in British Columbia in 2018 due to record-setting wildfires, the costs Vancouver will face as a result of climate change, other local governments’ response to the climate crisis, last year’s landmark IPCC report on 1.5°C pathways, and the emergency debates in the B.C. legislature and the House of Commons that followed the IPCC report. It directs city staff to recommend ways of speeding up and widening Vancouver’s climate ambition, achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2050, set a “remaining carbon budget” consistent with the 1.5°C threshold, and form a climate and equity working group to support the city’s transition of fossil fuels.