News of climate progress here at home, across Canada and around the world. 
IN THIS ISSUE - so many questions
  • COP26: is 1.5 still alive? 
  • Flooding and climate change - what's the connection?
  • Should the city's Transportation Plan be tied to climate?
  • BC's natural gas royalty review 
  • Come join the Climate Conversations Facebook group

COP26: is 1.5 still alive? 

After all the buildup to COP26, and various announcements released throughout the conference, was anything really accomplished? 

In an article in The Guardian Alok Sharma, president of COP26, writes that we kept the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels within reach. But while 1.5 is still alive, he states, "...its pulse remains weak." Only by ensuring countries deliver on their promises, will we achieve the goal. 

Merran Smith from Clean Energy Canada agrees. "Canada’s climate ambitions continue to be at odds with its position as the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer," she states. "The oil and gas sector is Canada’s biggest source of carbon pollution, and we cannot limit the worst effects of climate change while growing that industry." 

Flooding and climate change - what's the connection?

British Columbia was in the middle of updating its provincial flood strategy when a record-shattering atmospheric river event wrecked highways, stranded motorists, cut off communities and flooded farms and fields all across Sumas Prairie. And the series of storms isn't over yet. 

  • Read more from The Tyee about how we can move forward 

What's the connection with climate change? Climate scientists say that wildfires in recent years, extreme drought, early snow and an intense atmospheric river created a perfect storm of circumstances that led to the destruction.

And they tell us it's a combination we are likely to see more frequently, and more severely, in the future.  

Should the city's Transportation Plan be tied to climate?

The City of Maple Ridge is moving to the next phase of public engagement on their updated Strategic Transportation Plan (STP). In this stage we're invited to comment on the city's vision, goals and long-term direction for our transportation needs. 

The draft STP is a solid start. But one thing missing is a clear commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) caused by transportation. Given the year we're having, this is a critical omission. The STP must align with Translink's draft Transport 2050 strategy and the province's CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, both of which call for a high level of ambition to reduce emissions.

In Maple Ridge, transportation accounts for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). A majority of trips taken in our city begin and end right here, and most of these trips are shorter than 5 km. There's a huge opportunity here that shouldn't be overlooked. 

To be successful we need a new way of thinking and planning for people-friendly streets through better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, shared mobility, and improved transit services. Many of these things are addressed in the STP, but the timeline is vague. We need these things pronto, not sometime in the next 30 years.  

Don't miss this opportunity to let the City of Maple Ridge know we're excited to see this plan take shape for transportation in our community; that we expect to see it include a clear goal to reduce emissions; and that given the current climate crises, we expect to see an ambitious timeline for implementation. 

BC's natural gas royalty review

The Province is reviewing its 30-year-old oil and gas royalty framework to ensure that it meets the Province’s goals for economic development, a fair return on the public resource, and environmental protection.

Most oil and gas reserves are owned by the province, and are leased by oil and gas companies. Royalties are what the companies pay for these leases.

The existing royalty framework was developed when technology and market conditions were far different than they are today, before climate change was recognized for the challenge that it is, and before the Province had embarked on the journey of full reconciliation with First Nations. 

An independent assessment identified that the existing royalty framework is wildly out of step with these considerations and badly in need of an overhaul, so this is a welcome step. 

The province has provided a reasonably digestible discussion paper to help BC citizens understand the issues, but in all honesty, it's still pretty opaque. What is clear, is that embedded in the document is the assumption that oil and gas production will increase. 

So it's important for us to weigh in through the province's survey or letter-writing option, even if only to let them know that a more consistent and fair royalty framework is important, that they should apply it right away (not grandfather existing wells) and that whichever of the three proposed options they choose (environmentalists uniformly vote for #1), nothing is more important than vetoing continued growth and expansion of oil and gas production. 

The deadline for public input is Friday, December 10. 

Come join the Climate Conversations Facebook group

We're excited to invite you to join Climate Conversations, a new Facebook group to connect people who want to move Maple Ridge to a low-emissions future.

Become a member, and you can start or join a discussion on climate change and climate action. The conversation can be anything you want it to be -- from personal action and local opportunities, to global solutions. 

Feel free to forward

At this critical time in the race to combat climate change, it's crucial that we stand together and act in big and small ways to move our community to a low-emissions future.   

You can take one simple step today: forward this newsletter to friends and family members, neighbours and co-workers. One of the most effective ways to fight climate change is simply to talk about it. By sending this newsletter out into your world, you are talking about our climate, and helping others join the conversation. 

Sustainably yours,

The Maple Ridge Climate Hub team 

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Image attribution

The final moments of COP26 - Reuters
Volunteers helping flood victims - Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press
LADOT - Los Angeles Livable Streets
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