File photo, traffic in Surrey

Surrey aims to develop greenhouse gas reduction targets by end of 2021

Council expected to see corporate report on interim targets in January

Surrey council has endorsed city staff’s recommendation to develop interim greenhouse gas reduction targets before year’s end, based on four key principles.

“I can honestly say we are a leader, literally in the world, in some of the things that we’re doing for the climate and for the environment also,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said.

Specifically, this will involve alignment with the latest reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; jurisdictional alignment, including with peer local governments, partner jurisdictions, and senior governments; risk management and fiscal prudence, accounting for transparency in reporting and alignment with best practices in climate accountability in financial decision-making; and ensuring Surrey keeps pace with and helps to accelerate regional and broader societal and economic response to opportunities and challenges of the zero-carbon economy.

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Coun. Linda Annis told council Monday she’s concerned about the amount of travel time local residents need to commute. “I believe our city, the commute times compared to our neighbouring municipalities is almost twice as long so I’m hoping we can really develop a policy or program to create more jobs in Surrey and I know the staff is working on it but I would really like to see that accelerated,” she said.

Coun. Laurie Guerra said city staff is doing an “amazing” job on climate change for such a rapidly growing city but Coun. Doug Elford expressed “serious doubts we can meet these, they’re very ambitious, these targets.” He said he likes to see focus on mitigation.

Council is expected to see a corporate report on the interim targets in January. According to the report that came before city council on Monday, the framework includes draft targets, vision statements, and key strategies for each of the five components: Resilient zero-carbon neighbourhoods; safe zero-carbon transportation; healthy zero-carbon buildings; climate-positive resilient ecosystems; and bold city leadership.

Meantime, a public engagement process found more that 84 per cent of Surrey residents are concerned about climate change.

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