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LETTER: Maple Ridge climate activist defends electric heating and cooling

Former climate hub president lauds council for leadership

Dear Editor,
Maple Ridge council's carbon plan will add to house building costs and more,, June 24]
I would like to respond to the letter from Ron Lauria on June 24.
The idea that heating our homes with electricity will somehow add to overall costs is disinformation at its finest.
A builder with Climate Safe Cities has put it clearly: a zero-carbon home can, in most cases, be built for less cost than a house with gas plus air conditioning. To clarify the comparison, electric heat pumps provide cooling in warm months, as well as heat during the winter. And with the extreme heat waves triggered by climate change, air conditioning is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. In addition, by heating and cooling with electric heat pumps, operational costs are lower. Simply put, zero carbon equals affordability. 
The letter writer throws water on the idea that B.C. can produce the electricity we need. The reality is that we are ready. Besides the massive investment in new production and transmission capacity that BC Hydro is undertaking, consider this: about 35 per cent of all homes in BC are heated with electric resistance (mainly baseboard) heating. Heat pumps are three to four times more efficient than baseboard heaters (or gas furnaces, for that matter). As those homes convert to heat pumps over the next 15 to 20 years, they will free up enough electrical consumption to supply electricity to the majority of homes converting from gas to heat pumps.
The recent announcement about solar panel rebates from the B.C. government will take us even further toward a clean energy future. 
As for the writer’s assertion that we need a reality check on Canada’s contribution to emissions, try this one. Canada has one of the highest emissions rates per capita, at 14.25 metric tonnes (mt) in 2022 (the most recent year we have records for). Contrast this with China, which the letter writer points to as a giant emitter that needs to get off coal before we should worry about our emissions. In 2022 China released just under eight metric tonnes per capita.
According to the Yale School of the Environment, China leads the world in clean energy capacity with solar, hydro and wind combined. The reality is, Canada lags far behind other wealthy industrialized nations, and it’s time to join comparable countries like Norway (7.51 mt in 2022), which is also an oil-rich, cold country that has nevertheless found ways to massively reduce its carbon footprint.
We are ready for this. Electrified homes are more affordable, more comfortable and healthier.  And building new all-electric homes now means avoiding costly retrofits to make them electric later.
Maple Ridge council is showing leadership, courage and practicality in adopting the Zero Carbon Step Code. They should be applauded.
Kirk Grayson, Maple Ridge Climate Hub past president, Maple Ridge