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Local responses to regional mandates: assessing municipal greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in British Columbia

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Author(s): Maged Senbel | Daniella Fergusson | Mark Stevens

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 28;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: climatic change | mitigation | emission reduction | legislation | urban planning | government regulations

ABSTRACT
Local governments around the world face external and internal pressures to adopt climate change mitigation strategies. Provincial legislation in the Canadian province of British Columbia has recently mandated that all municipalities adopt targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Lack of specificity in the legislation gives rise to the possibility that even if compliance with the legislation is universal it could nonetheless result in minimal reductions in emissions releases. This article examines the response to the legislation of twenty municipalities in British Columbia’s most populous regions. We hypothesized that noncompliance would be rampant and that cities with large populations, high residential densities, lower growth rates, and prior climate change planning work would set more ambitious targets. However, findings indicate that municipal targets vary widely in terms of intensity, target year, and type of reduction and have little or no relationship to population, residential density, or growth rate. We found 90% compliance and some correlation between prior planning activities related to climate change and target intensity. Findings also indicate that despite the wide range of emissions targets by each municipality, provincial per capita targets would be met if each municipality were to achieve the targets that they have set by the 2050 target year.
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