Climate Action Now
Our Plan For Surrey’s Zero-Carbon Future
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Surrey's Response to the Climate Crisis
We’re developing a new climate action plan to reduce our carbon pollution and improve the community’s resilience to climate change impacts.
Climate change is happening here and now.
Here in Surrey, we’re experiencing things like more flooding, hotter summers, and poor air quality from wildfire smoke. We are seeing food prices go up due to disruptions from climate impacts in other countries. Impacts in far-away places can affect us here. We’re all in this together.
Climate change is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels.
When we burn fossil fuels – like gasoline and diesel in our vehicles, and natural gas in our buildings – we release greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Clearing forests and damaging ecosystems also releases GHGs from carbon stored in plants and soil. The gases act like a blanket that wraps around the earth and traps the heat of the sun. The more fossil fuel we burn, and the more land we clear, the thicker we make the blanket.
The science is clear: climate change is a global crisis. But we still have time to act, and we have most of the solutions at hand.
We know what we need to do.
Fortunately, we know most of the solutions to turn the crisis around, but we need to act quickly. We can reduce the need for burning fossil fuels in the first place, by making buildings more efficient, by planning our city so more of our daily needs are close to home, and by investing in safe walking, cycling and transit. We can use hydro-electricity and other renewable energy to power our cars and homes. And we can protect and restore our ecosystems like forests and wetlands.
Many of these choices will also make us healthier and help us prepare for the future.
In 2019 Surrey City Council declared a Climate Emergency, joining a growing wave of other cities and countries worldwide. In 2020 Council approved bold new targets to reduce our carbon pollution before 2050. Council also directed staff to create a plan to reach these targets. Our 2050 targets are in line with the global science, with other local governments and with Metro Vancouver. They are:
- Before 2050, we will reduce our city-wide* carbon pollution to “net zero”. This means we will reduce community emissions very close to zero. From there, we expect to use natural solutions and technology to remove carbon pollution from the air and balance any remaining emissions.
- Before 2050, the City will eliminate all the carbon pollution from City operations, like buildings and vehicles we own and operate.
The City can’t do this alone. We will need the support and cooperation of other levels of government, industries, and the organizations that provide our energy and our transit system. And we need your support!
*Our climate plan follows the Global Protocol for Cities method. We measure emissions from sources within the city limits, with the exception of most agricultural and industrial emissions which are accounted for in the provincial and regional climate inventories and plans.
- Climate Action Now Survey
- Climate Action Framework
- GHG emissions inventory and modelling
- Best practices review
Mapping Net Zero
- Exploring and modelling policy shifts
- Internal engagement
Sharing & Listening
- Sharing information and seeking community feedback
- Refining the policy framework
Finalizing the Plan
- Completing and sharing the draft plan for feedback
- Seeking Council approval
Surrey's Carbon Pollution Sources
Most of our carbon pollution comes from passenger vehicles and buildings.
Every year, we emit 2.3 million tonnes of carbon pollution from the following sources. Burning gasoline in passenger vehicles, and burning natural gas to heat our buildings, is responsible for the large majority of this pollution.
- On-road transportation 46%
- Buildings 40%
- Non-road equipment 10%
- Waste 2.5%
- Rail 1%
- Industry 0.5%
Connection to other City Plans
The Climate Change Action Strategy is connected to several other city strategies, including the Surrey Transportation Plan now in progress, the Official Community Plan, and the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. Staff are working across departments to embed climate action in our decision making and policies, to make sure we will meet our targets.
The City’s existing Community Energy and Emissions Plan (2013), Climate Adaptation Strategy (2013), and Corporate Emissions Action Plan (2010) will be incorporated in the updated Climate Change Action Strategy.
Corporate Reports & Committee Minutes
- Corporate Report 2020 No. 048: Update on the Climate Emergency Response and Amendments to Surrey Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2013, No. 18020
- Corporate Report 2019 No.213: Update to Surrey’s Community Climate Action Strategy
- Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee Minutes from October 30, 2019
- Corporate Report 2019 No.048: Update on Implementation of Community Climate Action Strategy
- Surrey’s Sustainability Charter 2.0 (2016)
- Community Climate Action Strategy (2013)
- Community Energy and Emissions Plan (2013)
- Climate Adaptation Strategy (2013)
- Corporate Emissions Action Plan (2010)
- Surrey Transportation Plan – update in progress
- Surrey Official Community Plan (2013)
- Surrey Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2014)
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