Transportation, buildings, and industry account for 95% of direct emissions from the Bay Area.
Developing and advocating for climate solutions in these three sectors is BACCC’s main focus. Although our efforts are targeted at these three sectors in particular, we continue to support other forms of climate action.
Transportation is a major source of emissions and air pollution. About 17% of our region’s carbon pollution comes from burning gasoline and diesel in our cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and light freight shipping (including e-commerce deliveries).
The transformation to a low carbon economy is only achievable with deep reductions in personal and commercial vehicle emissions.
Options for Travel: Giving Residents a Real Choice
Cycling, walking, and taking public transit should be safe, reliable, and convenient for residents of Hamilton and Burlington. If there are significant barriers to walking, cycling, or taking public transit, we can’t reasonably expect residents to choose those forms of transportation.
Our newest report provides a roadmap to make sure residents of Hamilton and Burlington get a real choice for how they get around.
Nearly 18% of our region’s carbon pollution comes from heating, cooling and powering our homes, apartments, and commercial buildings.
The only pathway to a low-carbon future for the Bay Area involves transitioning our existing buildings off fossil fuels and undertaking deep energy retrofits on a massive scale. At the same time, we need to build new structures to a zero carbon standard.
Home Energy Retrofits
BACCC is supporting the successful implementation of home energy retrofit programs – identified as one of the most important opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.
What is a Home Energy Retrofit?
A home energy retrofit involves a systems approach to reducing carbon emissions from existing buildings, with a focus on actions that will reduce and/or eliminate the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Retrofit measures can include:
- Adding insulation
- Sealing air leaks
- Upgrading mechanical systems
- Replacing windows and/or doors
- Heat pump installation
- Thermal controls
- Renewable energy
A full retrofit can cost upwards of $30,000. Programs can support homeowners in accessing grants and/or low-cost financing to undertake the renovation. In Canada, these are often provided through the municipality through Local Improvement Charges (LICs).
Retrofit Program Design
BACCC’s Implementation Team has advised on the design of a municipal retrofit program for both cities in the Bay Area. This design primarily considers emissions targets, cost benefit analysis, local context, and equity. BACCC is sharing the outcomes of this work with City of Hamilton and City of Burlington staff, to ensure local homeowners receive support for their home upgrades.
What is a Retrofit Delivery Centre?
A retrofit delivery centre is a “one stop shop” for consumers to access the information they need to undertake a home energy retrofit.
Currently, Bay Area homeowners who want to undertake home energy retrofits are left to navigate a complex system on their own – from trying to find a trusted energy advisor, to securing financing and incentives, to comparing the costs of new technologies with limited information. This is a time-intensive, often frustrating and expensive process. A delivery centre can help streamline these services for homeowners.
BACCC is supporting market readiness for the home energy retrofit sector by convening and educating stakeholders, by liaising with industry associations, and training providers to develop programs.
Once a home energy retrofit program is established, the market for retrofit services will grow exponentially. Demand will grow for energy advisory services, renovations, and energy efficient equipment sales, installation, and maintenance.
There is an opportunity to meet the market by growing the number of trained professionals for residential retrofits. There will be new jobs for energy advisors, tradespeople, and HVAC professionals. New graduates will find a new set of skills in demand. Professionals currently in the field will require training to learn new technologies and techniques.
Education will also be needed in real estate and financial services sectors. Realtors, appraisers, inspectors, and loan officers will have to learn about home energy retrofits and their impact on home values and loans.
Municipal inspectors and permitting staff will also need education on the new technologies and installation practices.
Industrial emissions account for 60% of Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions.
Without significant, deep cuts in industrial emissions, our climate targets will not be met. That said, how we address industrial emissions in our community matters.
It is technically possible for Hamilton and Burlington to reduce their emissions without having any impact on climate change whatsoever. If, for example, a major manufacturer leaves the Bay Area for another jurisdiction, the Bay Area’s industrial emissions will drop, but the overall climate impact remains unchanged. This is referred to as carbon leakage.
Carbon leakage occurs when production is shifted to areas outside of a targeted jurisdiction. Leakage undermines the environmental effectiveness of a policy by failing to actually reduce emissions, but rather, simply moving their origin elsewhere.
In order for Burlington and Hamilton’s efforts to reduce emissions to have any impact whatsoever on global climate change, their emissions reductions need to be a reflection of deep local reductions, not industrial flight.
- Reduce local industrial emissions without carbon leakage
- Support local industrial players in their advocacy for emissions reductions funding
- Convey existing opportunities for emissions reductions to decision makers
- Connect industrial players with supports for R&D where the path to emissions reductions is unclear
- Convene and connect industrial players, sharing best practices
A Just Transition
As is most often the case, it is the poorest and most vulnerable that suffer the greatest impacts of a crisis.
Climate change is no exception.
“Populations at disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences with global warming of 1.5°C and beyond include disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some Indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods.”IPCC’s Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5
Equity and Climate Change
Equity and Climate Justice
Learn about environmental racism and the links between inequality and climate change.
- Anti-Racism for Cyclists – Bicycling.com
- A Just Recovery for Hamilton – Just Recovery Hamilton
- Beat the Heat – Hamilton ACORN
- Climate Action and Structurally Oppressed Communities – Podcast – Disability Visibility Project
- Equitable Climate Adaptation – Webinar and Resources – ICLEI Canada
- Equity in Canadian City-Building – Canadian Urban Institute
- Environmental Racism in Canada – EcoJustice
- The Skin We’re In – Documentary – CBC TV
Indigenous Awareness and Allyship
Understand Indigenous history, contemporary issues and learn how to become a better ally.
BACCC Indigenous Collaboration Policy
BACCC is committed to responding to the climate crisis with policies that promote equity through the lens of a Just Transition. To further our commitment to inclusive work and in recognizing that we are all treaty people, BACCC decided to develop a framework to ensure its policy development process considers the perspectives of Indigenous partners.