Why is the City of Chilliwack taking action on climate change?

    In Chilliwack, changes to our climate are already noticeable with more frequent extreme weather events (droughts, floods, heat waves), and these changes are projected to increase over the coming decades. Residents and businesses of Chilliwack can expect to see more extreme heat days, longer dry spells, more precipitation in the fall and more intense extreme events. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that explains that the world needs to cut emissions substantially by 2030, and reach net zero emissions by 2050 in order to avoid more catastrophic climate changes. To help meet these goals, efforts are needed by many organizations and individuals, including the City, to reduce Chilliwack’s contribution to climate change. In particular, the community needs to cut emissions from home and building heating by almost half by 2030, and, similarly, we need to cut emissions from vehicles by almost half by 2030.

    What is the City doing?

    In 2011 and 2012, the City adopted the Integrated Air Quality, Energy and Greenhouse Gas Community Action Plan and the Integrated Air Quality, Energy and Greenhouse Gas Corporate Action Plan. The plans provided a baseline of energy use and resulting emissions, set reduction targets, and identified 36 actions to support targets.  

    After 10 years, the City is reflecting on progress and refreshing the plans into Chilliwack Climate Action Plans to assess progress made since the original plans were created, develop updated inventories and forecasts of energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, identify updated GHG targets, and identify cost-effective strategies for achieving these targets. The plans will cover the City’s corporate operations, and the broader community activities. Both plans will continue to identify air quality issues and co-benefits with climate action strategies.

    What are the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our community?

    There are many benefits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the City of Chilliwack – benefits you may experience in your family and home include:


    • Improved health from using active transportation methods such as walking and biking 
    • Reduced costs associated with vehicle ownership when using sustainable transportation options such as car sharing, transit, cycling and walking 
    • Better air quality from reduced vehicle emissions and energy use 
    • Lower costs to heat your home, and having a heat pump that also provides cooling on hot days 
    • More comfortable, less drafty homes that are more efficient
    • Job opportunities in green building, retrofits and energy assessments 

    Where do our emissions come from?

    A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory helps us understand the current state of affairs, and identify areas that need to be addressed to meet emissions reduction targets. In 2018, about half of the community’s GHG emissions in Chilliwack came from heating our homes and buildings with natural gas, another 40% came from driving our vehicles fueled with diesel and gasoline, and the remaining 7% came from waste decomposing in our landfill. These are the core community activities that are typically included in Climate Action Plans, and break down as follows:

    Fig 1. Core Community GHG Emissions (2018)With Chilliwack being a rural community, there are other substantial sources of GHG emissions. If total emissions are taken into consideration, agricultural activities contribute about the same GHG emissions as vehicles. The breakdown is as follows: 

    Fig 2. Total Community GHG Emissions (2018)

    Municipalities have limited jurisdiction over agricultural activities, but the City is exploring ways in which it can facilitate reductions in agricultural GHG emissions.