Metro Vancouver’s draft 2021 Clean Air Plan is the regional plan for managing air quality and greenhouse gases over the next 10 years. Actions in the plan will reduce air contaminant emissions, including greenhouse gases, and support the commitment to a carbon neutral region by 2050. The Clean Air Plan will also help improve air quality in the region.
Clean Air Plan includes three regional targets for 2030:
- Reduce GHGs by 45% from 2010 levels;
- Ensure ambient air quality meets or is better than objectives and standards set by Metro Vancouver, and the BC and federal governments; and
- Increase the amount of time that visual air quality is classified as excellent.
The draft 2021
Clean Air Plan comment period ended June 15 2021.
Air contaminants and greenhouse gases
The Clean Air Plan targets both health-harming air contaminants and GHGs. Why? Many emission sources emit both. Examples are vehicle engines that use gasoline and diesel to move people and goods, furnaces that heat our homes and buildings with natural gas, and industrial manufacturing processes.
GHGs are also an air contaminant. Recent years have seen an increase in local government actions to reduce GHG emissions. Examples include: investments in green
electric vehicle programs and
low-carbon home heating; developing walkable neighbourhoods so residents can choose to walk, roll or cycle; and establishing
carbon pricing policies to incorporate emissions considerations into decision making. Some actions in this draft
Clean Air Plan are also already underway, reflecting an ‘action while planning’ approach.
Working Together on Climate Action
Metro Vancouver and local governments have been taking action on air quality for decades. Examples for air quality actions include;
an air quality monitoring network;
ozone management programs; a
regulation and enforcement program; and
actions to reduce smoke from wood burning. But we can and need to do more - and increase the focus on GHG emissions.
Clean Air Plan was developed with input from stakeholders across the region. It includes 132 recommendations in key areas. These actions are science and data-driven, and will:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the largest sources (about 95% of GHGs) in this region
- buildings we live and work in
- transportation of goods and people
- industrial sources
- Continue to improve air quality to protect people and the environment.
Working together, if we implement every action in the
Clean Air Plan we will make enormous progress on reducing GHG emissions in this region. Initial modelling indicates regional greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 15% below 2010 levels. We must be clear this will not achieve the 2030 target to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 45% from 2010 levels, but puts us on the path to a carbon neutral future. Taking action today, with current innovation, best practices and leadership is a giant step towards the goals for this region. It will align Metro Vancouver with national and international organizations, and current climate science. As technologies and innovations change, and more organizations move from planning to action, action in this region will expand, and implementation will accelerate.