Community climate change responses: what role does jurisdiction play?

While debates rage on about the potential for international negotiations (such as those through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to reach our climate change goals, communities around the globe have stepped in to fill the vacuum. Communities are equipped with a particularly compelling set of tools, such as control over land use, transportation (in part) and waste management. In many cases, however, communities’ hands are tied by limited jurisdiction: the federal government controls fuel efficiency standards, for instance, while the provincial government in BC develops the BC Building Code. Deborah Curran prepared a report for the Pembina Institute on just these issues, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and green buildings. She finds that tools such as development permit areas, development cost charge regimes, and revitalization tax exemption zones may serve municipalities and regions well as they pursue climate change mitigation. All of this begs the question, though: can we evaluate and revise jurisdiction to deepen and accelerate the transition to sustainability?