Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3): Municipal Responses to BC Climate Policy

In response to the threat of anthropogenic climate change, the provincial government of British Columbia has introduced a number of innovative policies[1], which go far beyond those in other North American jurisdictions. British Columbia is on the front edge of what is likely to be a major wave of policy response to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The result of these policies is that all BC municipalities have a major economic incentive (the sum of the carbon tax and mandatory offsets will amount to $40/tonne of CO2e emissions in January 2010, increasing at $5/tonne/yr to 2012), to reduce carbon emissions. With few exceptions, most municipalities in BC have very limited knowledge of their carbon inventory, or the costs, characteristics and likely effects of the available options. A major opportunity exists to learn from the varied efforts of municipalities to undertake adaptation and mitigation, to identify best practice, and to contribute to a process of social learning among municipalities.

The goals of this CURA[2] project are firstly, to identify and investigate innovative municipal approaches to provincial climate policy and document best practices through selected detailed case studies, and secondly, to spur cross scale knowledge mobilization between communities in order to bootstrap innovation diffusion. The dissemination of innovative responses and actions on the ground is critical as other jurisdictions in North America begin to develop active climate policy regimes.

This research project, as part of its application to the granting councils, will be preparing a preliminary environmental scan of all B.C. municipalities, regional districts and First Nations communities, which will be available on-line at the end of July 2010. In terms of its social learning, five channels will be used—real time, on-line e-Dialogues, webinars, peer to peer learning exchanges, on-line case studies and social media.

The Primary investigator for the project, Dr. Ann Dale, holds a Canada Research Chair in sustainable communities and recently completed a SSHRC/PRRS Infrastructure Canada Grant, Infrastructure Choices for Community Sustainable Development, that identified and disseminated case studies in sustainable infrastructure at the municipal level. Co-applicant Dr. John Robinson is one of Canada's foremost scholars in the area of sustainable development and leads the development of UBC's Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. The co-investigators include, Dr. Nola-Kate Seymoar, President of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, a leader in peer to peer knowledge sharing between municipal actors, Dr. Lenore Newman, Assistant Professor at Royal Roads University and Dr. John Curry, Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Download full proposal here


Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3)

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[1] These include a carbon tax on fossil fuels, and a requirement that all public sector organizations must be carbon-neutral by 2010 and buy offsets to the extent this is not so. The province has also set a target of reducing total provincial emissions by 33% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The Local Government (Green Communities) Statues Amendment Act, Bill 27, sets out similar targets for municipalities; the bill requires that local governments set targets to reduce GHG emissions and develop policies and actions to achieve those targets in their Official Community Plans by May 31, 2010

[2] Canadian University Research Alliance