Climate Action

Big news for Big Moves: On January 25, Council unanimously approved the Climate Action Strategy. Stay up-to-date on Climate Action in the Township by signing up for the Sustainability and Climate eNews newsletter.

In the Township of Langley, we are building a sustainable community. A place with clean air and drinking water; healthy, and inclusive communities that can walk, bike or roll to everything they need in their neighbourhoods; where the wildlife and nature thrive; and our local businesses and agriculture system are strong and robust. 

Unfortunately, climate change threatens this future. Prolonged summer heat and drought, wildfire smoke, and extreme weather such as flooding and windstorms each pose serious risks to our residents, businesses and natural systems. But the worst impacts of climate change are not inevitable. 

As a local government, it is our job to ensure that we work together to minimize climate change and increase our resilience to the effects of a changing climate. If we act now to reduce carbon pollution and prepare ourselves for future climate change, we can transition and adapt on our own terms. 

Together, let’s continue building a better Township of Langley.

Want to learn more about the causes and effects of climate change? See Climate Change 101.


Latest News and Updates
  • October 4, 2021 - TransLink offers free rides to car-owners who scrap their vehicles. Read more.
  • September 1, 2021 - Transit free in B.C. for children 12 and under. Read more.
  • July 9, 2021 - Government of Canada announces up to $1.3 billion in federal funding for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project. Read more.
  • June 9, 2021 - B.C. releases plan to prepare for climate change, seeks public input. Read more.
  • May 14, 2021 - Weight allowance green-lit for low-carbon commercial vehicles. Read more.
  • January 25, 2021 - Big news for Big Moves: Council unanimously approved the Climate Action Strategy. Stay up-to-date on Climate Action in the Township by signing up for the Sustainability and Climate eNews newsletter.



Climate Action Strategy

In July 2019, Township of Langley Council declared a Climate Emergency with the goal of highlighting and accelerating climate change action. In response, the Township of Langley has developed a Climate Action Strategy that will work to:

  1. tackle the causes of climate change through actions to cut carbon pollution
  2. prepare our community to better adapt to a changing climate well into the future

Targets

In the fall of 2019, Township Council adopted the following greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

These targets are based on the best global climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and align with regional, provincial and federal targets and best practices.

Reduce

How will we get there?

Since 2010, carbon pollution has been increasing in our community. Though greenhouse gas emissions per person have recently decreased thanks to various municipal sustainability initiatives, they are still above the global average. A combination of federal and provincial government policies such as the BC Energy Step Code and electric vehicle mandates is forecast to help stabilize emissions over time, but alone they won’t be enough to reach our targets. The remaining emissions have been modelled to show where the Township will need to focus actions to achieve the required emission reductions by 2030 and 2050.

Graph

Big Moves

To reach Council’s adopted targets, the Climate Action Strategy includes 5 Big Moves which represent more specific targets to focus our effort and resources. The Big Moves will keep us on track and give us a better understanding of what it will take to get us to the 2030 and 2050 targets. 

Each Big Move also has accompanying data sets that allow us to track how much progress we are making, and will tell us whether more effort is needed to achieve our goals.

Graph

Why act now?

Reduce risk

Reduce our risk.

Climate changes can bring intense heat, drought, and more extreme storms, which pose risks to our community members, environment, and to critical Township infrastructure that we all rely upon. As a government it is important that we identify these risks and plan accordingly to minimize negative impacts.

Save money

Save money.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities have estimated that $1 invested now will equal $3-5 in savings in future clean-up costs associated with climate change. Investing in solutions now will save the Township (and taxpayers) down the road.

Think global act local

Think global, act local.

Climate change does not occur in isolation: greenhouse gas emissions spread across the planet with widespread and varying effects on communities around the world. Municipalities across Metro Vancouver, Canada, and around the world are developing similar strategies and plans to tackle this complex issue. Each government, business and individual has a responsibility to act now, doing our part to ensure a better future for all.

Priority Areas

The Climate Action Strategy has over 140 actions across eight Priority Areas. Click on each below to learn more. 

In the Township, we are creating a future where transportation choices are healthy and clean. Active mobility such as walking, cycling and rolling provides health benefits from physical exercise, and offer more equitable choices for residents who are unable or choose not to drive (e.g. youth, older seniors, and lower income residents). When residents travel longer distances, a transition to electric vehicles and transit will cut pollution, keeping our air and water clean, and reducing noise so it’s more enjoyable to be outside near roadways.

Transportation in gas and diesel fuelled vehicles is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the Township, accounting for 54% of total carbon pollution. 

Vehicle

Actions in the Transportation and Mobility Priority Area will support a transition to electric vehicles, advocate for public transit expansion, and increase opportunities for active mobility (e.g. walking, biking) around and between our neighbourhoods. See full action list. 

Buildings represent a big part of our livable environment. They are our homes, workplaces, schools, and businesses. Buildings also use a lot of energy, and are the second largest contributor to our greenhouse gas emissions. 

Priority Building and Land Use

Actions in the Buildings and Land Use Priority Area will ensure our buildings are energy-efficient and use clean energy sources. The way we use our land is critical, too – well-designed communities have all the amenities you need close to home, including shopping and outdoor park spaces, as well as safe active mobility options to travel where we need to go.

Improving our buildings and land use offers many other benefits, such as lower utility bills, better air quality, and improved comfort in our homes and workplaces. See full action list.

Climate change has an impact on our weather patterns, causing more frequent storms and extreme weather, as well as worsening drought conditions in the summer. Actions in the Infrastructure Priority Area ensure that our community members can continue to count on clean, safe drinking water, and that new developments will utilize nature-based green infrastructure (such as bioswales and rain gardens) to help manage storm water. The Township will also explore opportunities to integrate community renewable energy systems into our neighbourhoods.

By improving our infrastructure, we can also reduce operating costs, improve water quality, and expand habitat for birds, fish, animals and insects. See full action list.

LED Streetlight Replacement Project

Conversion to LED streetlights increase the visibility of sidewalks and roads at night, help reduce light pollution, are more economical, last longer, and require less maintenance. View the progress of LED conversion in the Township below:

The Township has an abundance of beautiful natural areas and parks that provide benefits to our community members and wildlife alike. Climate change impacts such as hot, dry summers can impact our natural and Township-managed planted areas such as parks and boulevards. Excessive heat and sun exposure can also impact our children when park playgrounds and sports fields become too hot to safely enjoy. 

Actions in the Greenspace and Ecosystems Priority Area will increase our tree canopy and shade to make our parks, trails, and walkways more comfortable, and will help ensure we are planting drought-tolerant plants and trees that can withstand increasing temperatures. Through improved maintenance in key locations, we can also limit erosion around vital waterways, and reduce the impact of invasive species. 

Actions in this priority area provide a host of other benefits, including improving biodiversity, slowing storm water run off, and reducing costs for watering and tree replacements. See full action list.

Good health is a key component of a thriving community, but sadly, climate change is a threat to our health. Extreme weather events can cause wind damage and flooding leading to injury, mould growth, and mental health issues. Rising summer heat has a larger impact on vulnerable populations, including the homeless, and lower-income groups (e.g. some seniors) without access to air conditioning. As heat and forest fire smoke impact our air quality in the summer, pregnant women, children, and individuals with asthma are at increased risk, as are individuals who work outdoors during the day. 

Actions in the Heath and Emergency Preparedness Priority Area will take a proactive approach to support local health authorities where possible. Actions include developing plans to keep our outdoor workers safe in the heat, as well as establishing protocols to ensure our summer events and outdoor activities are cool and comfortable. The Township will also explore opportunities for outdoor cooling such as misters and spray parks, and will increase the number of public water fountains in parks and along trails. 

A focus on Health and Emergency Preparedness has other benefits as well, such as increasing important connections between our community members, and ensuring we are more resilient in emergencies. See full action list.

Agriculture is a big part of life in the Township, and 75% of our total land is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve. Local farmers rely on quality harvests to make a living, and we rely on the food our farmers produce. Climate change makes our weather less predictable, with more drought in the summer and risk of flooding in the shoulder seasons. 

Federal and provincial governments have jurisdiction over agriculture, but the Township can have influence through partnerships, advocacy, and policies in some key areas. Actions in the Agriculture Priority Area help prepare farmers to be more resilient to a changing climate, while promoting eating locally and ensuring residents can grow their own fresh, healthy and inexpensive food close to home. 

A sustainable food system also ensures healthier ecosystems, improved air and water quality, and provides benefits to the local economy. See full action list.

Waste is the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the Township. This is mostly due to methane, a potent gas that is released when organic waste (such as food and yard trimmings) decompose in a landfill. Gas and diesel-powered waste collection vehicles also pollute our air and add to our greenhouse gas emissions.

Actions in the Waste Priority Area will increase composting and recycling opportunities for residents, as well as local businesses and institutions. The Township will also work with our waste collection company to reduce fuel use, and will explore alternatives to burning green waste. 

Other benefits include improved air quality and limiting our resource use. See full action list.

To lead the way on climate change, climate-related information must be integrated throughout Township decision-making processes and procedures.

Actions in the Leadership and Integration Priority Area will ensure that climate change is a consideration in Council reports, annual budget requests, and purchasing processes. The Township will also develop a funding mechanism to support the Climate Action Strategy, and will review all existing policy documents to ensure they support climate action. 

The actions in this section will ensure the Township is accountable, both to our climate commitments and to our residents. See full action list.

Investing in Climate Action

Why invest now in climate action? We can’t afford not to. If we do not accelerate action on climate change, the Canadian Government estimates that the cost of managing climate impacts could rise from $5 billion per year in 2020, to $21 to $43 billion per year by 2050. Similarly, increases in extreme weather events such as ice storms, wind storms, and flooding have increased the Township’s clean up costs in recent years. Learn more about investing in climate action.

Timeline

Timeline

 

Further resources

To help newcomers to the Township and those with English as an additional language, Empower Me provides in-language energy conservation education opportunities and training throughout the year. To see current offerings and workshops in your neighbourhood, visit Empower Me.

Stay in Touch

If you would like to be notified of upcoming climate action events or news, please subscribe to our Sustainability eNews newsletter.

For additional questions, comments, or concerns, send a message to our Sustainability team via email or the form below.