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Climate Change

What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to the current accelerated rate and scale of change in global temperatures and climate patterns, compared to the past range of variability, due largely to the emissions of greenhouse gases by human activities. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and other products of combustion.

Canadians produce among the world’s highest quantity of greenhouse gases per person.

What Are We Doing

Climate change planning usually falls into two categories.

  • Mitigation means reducing greenhouse gas emissions to lessen one of the main drivers (causes) of climate change
  • Adaptation means preparing for the inevitable impacts of climate change to the degree possible

Burnaby’s Response to Climate Change

Burnaby’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS), approved in 2016, includes a section called Breathe – Climate and Air Quality, having the goal of “a community resilient to climate change, with clean air and low carbon emissions.” This goal and supporting strategies and actions addresses both climate change adaptation and mitigation, as explained above. Supporting the ESS and Breathe goal, the Community Energy and Emissions Plan was also approved in 2016 and includes targets, goals, strategies and actions to reduce GHG emissions across the community. These policies build on the City’s previous and ongoing initiatives to address climate change, including:


Our Goals:

In June 2010, the City of Burnaby adopted an interim target for community scale greenhouse gas emissions reduction, of 5% below 2007 levels. This target is anticipated to be met relatively easily through policies and initiatives already in place or in progress, and complies with the Province’s Bill 27 Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act. Meanwhile, the City is preparing to embark on a more comprehensive approach to address both corporate and community emissions reduction. This approach will likely integrate sustainability goals related to issues including health (air quality), transportation, sustainable energy initiatives and land use planning and development.

In 2016, the City of Burnaby adopted goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction within the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP). The CEEP recognizes that Burnaby has already made progress in key areas of GHG emissions reduction, especially with the planning and building of compact land uses around SkyTrain stations. At the same time, the City is faced with significant population growth in the decades ahead, and has limited control over certain areas of action for reducing emissions. Burnaby’s approach to community GHG targets therefore take a unique approach: setting two targets, one that the City has direct control or significant influence over, called the City-Only target, and one that could be achieved with support from other jurisdictions such as regional, provincial and federal governments, TransLink, utilities, etc., called the City-Plus-Others target.  

The City Only target calls for a 5% reduction in GHGs by 2041 (compared to 2010), which amounts to reducing total community emissions by over 20% in 2041. The City has control over these actions.

The City Plus Others target calls for further reduction in GHGs by 2041, which amounts to reducing total community emissions by over 40% in 2041. Reaching this target would depend on actions by other levels of government as well as the City.

Recommended Targets

Read more about the CEEP »

What We're Doing Today:

Existing policies and programs that contribute to GHG emissions reduction and climate change adaptation include:

  • Corporate initiatives in Energy Planning and other corporate green initiatives. 
  • Compact land use and a development approach with a strong relationship to alternative transportation options and other support services and infrastructure, resulting in more efficient buildings, less reliance on personal automobiles for transportation, with overall less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Green Development practices and features in private and City developments, with energy efficiency resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A robust Environmental Planning approach that includes protected network of green spaces and stream corridors that provide some buffering of extreme weather events and temperatures, including the Urban Forest that stores and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. 
  • Transportation Planning, involving a strong emphasis on walking, cycling, transit and other initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Urban Agriculture programs, helping to reduce reliance on imported food and associated greenhouse gas emissions.



  • Environment Awards

    Env Awards pagelet picMoreNominations closed April 5, 2019.


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