Strong action on climate change
COPE is committed to a just and sustainable city and will work to achieve this by providing options to meet basic needs that reduce emissions and support environmental well-being. COPE will also be strong and vocal opponents of development and resource exploitation that endangers the health and well-being of our planet and future generations.
Vision Vancouver claims that Vancouver is on its way to being the world’s "greenest city.” Yet in several important areas, Vancouver is heading in the wrong direction. According to a report by city staff, Vancouver's tree canopy has shrunk by 20% since 1995. Existing buildings along with mature trees and landscaping continue to be demolished and thrown into landfills to make way for energy and resource intensive condominium towers. After five years of Vision government, greenhouse gas emissions in Vancouver have only decreased by an estimated 4 percent; this is a far cry from Vision's stated goal of a 33 percent reduction by 2020. To actually meet this target we must adopt real community-based solutions, not top down public relations campaigns.
COPE will provide affordable and accessible public transit to increase ridership and lower emissions from cars and trucks. To look past local initiatives to tackle the global problem of climate change, COPE will also take a strong stand against proposed Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline extension and work to decrease current levels of oil tanker traffic through Vancouver’s ports.
How will COPE take strong action on climate change?
Create Greener Schools
COPE will take strong action to create a green school system by implementing a Students’ Environmental Bill of Rights. Through this policy, COPE will develop a targeted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Program, and lobby for funding to build and upgrade schools that meet silver or gold LEEDS standards. COPE will also support student participation in developing green programs and initiatives. A COPE school board will support the establishment of school gardens wherever possible and facilitate the use of alternative methods of transportation by staff, parents and students.
Make Vancouver a Pipeline- and Tanker-Free Zone
With BC’s beautiful coast at stake, it is not enough to merely oppose increases in tanker traffic. COPE will be proactive to eliminate all existing tanker traffic from Vancouver shores. COPE will also keep Vancouver a pipeline-free zone. In the upcoming election, COPE will demand that the city include a referendum on making Vancouver a Pipeline and Tanker Free Zone on the ballot in November.
Support Environmental Social Movements and Communities Fighting for a Sustainable Future
COPE recognizes the importance of grassroots organizing in social change. COPE will provide yearly city grants to social movements, social justice groups, tenants unions and advocacy groups to help them push for climate justice on the ground.
Support Local Food Production
COPE will collaborate with residents and other stakeholders to increase local food production. To this end, COPE will organize the establishment of Community Food Exchange Markets to complement and enhance farmers’ markets as a locus for the distribution of affordable local produce.
COPE will consult with the public and City staff to identify appropriate land and resources to establish urban food forests, including design, site preparation, planting, and maintenance. All food produced in urban food forests will be entirely public and both harvested and consumed by Vancouver’s residents on a basis of mutual trust. Both native food forests and food trees from around the world, representing Vancouver’s diverse communities, will be established. The focus will be on community building and education, including soil building, fruit tree care, seed saving, bee-keeping, composting, safety, and identification of unfamiliar plants.
Build a More Affordable and Convenient Public Transit System
Emissions from cars and other motor vehicles are one of largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. To lower emissions, COPE needs to get more people into public transit and out of their cars. This necessitates lowering fares and improving service.
To increase transit ridership, COPE will use best practices, proven precedents, and intelligent planning to create a convenient and cost-effective transit system that will serve both existing demand and expected growth. COPE will work to reduce transit fares, with a view to eliminating them within 10 to 15 years and issuing community transit passes. COPE will improve services by pursuing low-cost, flexible bus and light rail transit service enhancements, especially along the Broadway corridor. COPE will use revenues from parking fees and violation fines to establish free shuttle services in key, underserviced areas, including the reestablishment of the free shuttle in Stanley Park.
New developments will also be planned with accessible transit in mind. COPE will refuse to rezone for higher density developments in single-family residential neighbourhoods far from rapid transit stations, and will make accessibility by walking, cycling and public transit a priority when siting new recreation facilities and parks.
Support Sustainable Resource Use
COPE will expand the City of Vancouver’s Ethical Purchasing Policy to include a ban on genetically modified products, open net farmed salmon, and other unsustainable products. COPE will protect and conserve Vancouver’s water resources, ensure public ownership and operation of water resources, and secure funding to renew existing infrastructure.
Support Global Efforts Against Climate Change
COPE will update and implement the Cool Vancouver Climate Change Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. COPE will adopt the Kyoto protocols and all subsequent international agreements that are designed to balance ecological and economic necessities. In doing so, a COPE Council will recognize the limits to growth and the need for concrete action.
Facilitate an Open and Informed Discussion about Air and Water Quality
COPE will support an ongoing public forum on air and water quality, and inform the public of the current state of the environment and potential effects on public health in Vancouver as well as performing research on solutions to climate change. A COPE Council will also address Fukushima Seepage by monitoring radiation types and levels, informing the public of the situation and solutions to protect health, and ensuring the distribution of appropriate remediation.