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Transition Sooke asks for hold on all new development, until OCP completion — 5 Comments

  1. Can anyone tell me how we can measure a 50% reduction in greenhouse gasses and what are they st now,? Also greenhouse gasses,CO2 are necessary for the health of trees and the ocean. How fo wr know how to balance that?

  2. Currently Sooke’s annual GHG burden currently (2018 figures) is 48,386 tons of CO2e. The District’s Climate Action Committee has come up with a solution to reduce this amount annually by 7%, achieving a 50% reduction (24,193 tons C02e) by 2030. However, this solution does not include additional GHGs emitted by new construction. As each 100 new homes adds about 1,968 tons of GHGs each year, the impact of additional development is sizable– especially when considering that 1200 new homes are already approved and the OCP anticipates a further 167 units to be constructed each year. (or 328,656 additional tons of GHG annually) This clearly would wipe out any hope of reaching our targets.

    While some greenhouse gasses such as CO2 do contribute to the health of oceans and forests, unfortunately our planet is currently making far more CO2 than is healthy– about 35 Billion tons– per year with the result that the ocean is becoming more and more acidic, to the detriment of all ocean life. Due to logging and land clearing, our global forests are actually emitting more GHGs than they use for food. And don’t forget– Greenhouse Gasses also include substances such as methane, Nitrous Oxide, Hydrofluorocarbon gases, Perfluorocarbon gases and Sulfur Hexafluoride which are toxic to all life.

  3. Even reducing human-caused CO2e releases would have no impact on plant growth. Our plants evolved to take advantage of 280ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. Now, scarcely 150 years later, our current level is over 415ppm. Even if our plant life isn’t affected by the additional CO2, they are being affected by the massive climactic change now underway. As NASA points out: “An increase in global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) could shift the ideal growing conditions for North American tree species as far as 322 kilometres (200 miles) north of their present location. If this warming occurs over the next 100 years as predicted, trees would have to migrate about 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) every year. Just over three kilometres a year may not seem like much, but even that short a distance may be unattainable for trees that reproduce by means of wind-dispersed seeds or nuts, such as oaks. Some scientists fear that even some of the faster migrators, such as jack pine, which the fossil record has shown to spread as much as 500 meters in a year, may not be fast enough to keep pace with the rapid warming expected in the next 100 years.”
    As well, garden plants will have to adjust to new, more extreme conditions as the climate collapses. We’re already experiencing longer summer droughts here in Sooke, higher temperatures both on average and at the extremes, and greater rainfall in the winter with an increasing number of atmospheric rivers reaching us. Sure, we’re used to rain. But we’re not really ready for a month’s rain in a couple of days–and then the rest of the month’s rain after that. And this is already happening more frequently, and will happen more and more often over the next decade.
    So, in order to achieve the IPCC recommended 50% reduction in tCO2e (tonnes co2 equivalent) by 2030, Sooke needs to drop its total tCO2e emissions by about 7% every year. But here’s the problem…the construction of the new library used ~800 cubic metres of concrete. That translates to ~320 tCO2e released. The new sports box 220 cubic metres or ~88 tCO2e release. A reduction target of 1,452 tCO2e emission is set by Sooke as part of its 7% Solution calculation for 2021. The additional 408 tCO2e from just these two projects represents 28% of Sooke’s 1,452 tCO2 emission reduction target. This shows how difficult a problem we’re facing; every addition to the built environment requires at least equal cuts elsewhere just to stay even.

  4. Sooke’s greenhouse gases right now are about 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). There are various ways of directly or indirectly estimating reductions in oil and gas for home heating and transportation, which are our two biggest sources of greenhouse gases. You can survey households and businesses. You can look at data from Fortis Gas and gasoline companies and make an estimate for Sooke. There is more than enough CO2 for the plants and the ocean and there will continue to be so. It is unlikely we will ever reduce CO2 in the atmosphere at all, but what we are trying to do is not add any more. That is why we are trying to reduce our greenhouse emissions as soon as possible.