Documentation:Open Case Studies/Political Science/Municipal1

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Climate Change Action Plan

Municipal Group 1 : Shanel Feller, Abu Kamat, Katherine Lay, Carissa Block, Jennifer Dinh, Evan Paulse

Introduction

We believe that city-level government is the most effective level at which climate change can be addressed, as it relates directly to the people and can hear the opinion of the public at a more intimate level. Change starts at the individual level, and changes within a municipality can effect change at a greater national and international level.

Action Plan

Housing and Infrastructure:

We propose that making changes to building regulations to promote energy efficiency would be a effective way of generating change at the municipal level. This would apply to residential dwellings (such as houses and residential towers), and would include changes such as energy-efficient electricity, lighting, heating/cooling (for instance, required double-pane windows and insulation), plumbing, and green roofs. These changes would be required for buildings that are constructed after the policy has been implemented. They would be encouraged, but not required for existing dwellings. Changes in existing residential buildings would be accompanied by a rebate, which would provide an incentive for individuals to make green changes.

A requirement in terms of energy efficiency of individual residences will be required as well. This will include the replacement of all incandescent lightbulbs with LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs to increase energy efficiency within the household. In the long run LED lights will require less wattage and will last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Residences that don't comply with this could be subject to a fine. Incentives will be providing households with a certain amount of these bulbs to begin replacing their incandescent ones with.

Implications

There are several areas of note in which there may be implications.

Political

(There could be possible political repercussions to suggesting such policy, especially during periods of election which may antagonize voters. It is therefore important to establish approval for such policy changes early and acquire support from local leaders and government officials who will push for environmental change within their campaign)

Economic

(Taxes interfere with the market, dead weight loss)

The city needs to increase awareness of the benefits of energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. These may have a higher initial cost, but will provide cost savings in the future. For low-income individuals who cannot afford to pay a premium for energy efficiency, the municipal government can provide rebates as a monetary incentives.

(Ensure tax rebate in income dependent)

Social

If the policy changes prove to be effective within the municipality of Vancouver, other municipalities can look to the policy for guidance, or may adopt it as a whole. Smaller municipalities may not have to resources to formulate such a policy of their own accord depending on the financial and social risks involved, but may be more inclined to change their policies when presented with an effective plan.

Remaining Challenges

Enforcement: Government inspections of households, to ensure that these rules are being complied with. Thorough inspections of all newly built residences and buildings to ensure compliance with new guidelines.

Possible Solutions (Hire on more inspectors)