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Surrey’s Carbon Pollution Sources

Community emissions

As of 2020, Surrey’s total carbon emissions were about 2.4 million tonnes (tCO2e) per year.

Figure B.1. Estimated amount and sources of Surrey’s community carbon pollution in 2019 (total: 2.4 million tCO2e/y)

Community emissions sources

Vehicles are the biggest source of Surrey’s community carbon emissions, accounting for 45% of total emissions. Most of these emissions come from the 235,000+ passenger vehicles registered in Surrey (38%), followed by commercial vehicles like freight trucks (7%) and public transit (0.8%). As of 2017, Surrey residents used personal vehicles for about 80% of their trips, while 20% of trips were by public transit, cycling, or walking. To reduce vehicle emissions, the City can make changes to land use planning, work with TransLink to improve public transit, plan and build roads to prioritize transit vehicles, create safe and connected networks of walking and cycling routes, and support the transition to zero-emissions vehicles. More details about these approaches can be found in the Resilient 15-Minute Neighbourhoods and Safe Zero-Carbon Transportation sections.

Buildings are the second-largest source of Surrey’s community emissions, accounting for 42% of total emissions, mainly due to burning gas for heating and cooking. Since 98% of British Columbia’s power comes from hydroelectric facilities, switching to electric heating and appliances can greatly reduce these emissions. To cut building emissions, the City can work with other municipalities and the provincial government to adopt higher energy efficiency standards for new construction, adopt regulations to phase out fossil fuels from buildings, support building retrofits, provide low-carbon heating via the City’s district energy system, and promote more efficient building forms in land-use policies. These approaches are outlined in the Healthy Zero-Carbon Buildings, Resilient Energy and Zero-Waste Systems, and Resilient 15-Minute Neighbourhoods sections.

Non-road equipment like construction and agricultural machinery, contributes 8.2% of total community emissions. Metro Vancouver regulates non-road equipment and the City has limited influence over this sector.

Waste contributes 3% of Surrey’s total community emissions, mainly from methane released by decaying organic matter in landfills. The City already has strong programs in place for recycling and organic waste diversion, including a biofuel facility that captures methane.

Industry represents emissions from large industrial facilities, which contribute 0.52% of community emissions. Heating small and medium industrial buildings is accounted for separately in the “Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Buildings” category.

Corporate emissions

The City also generates carbon emissions from its own operations, which amount to 1% of community emissions. The City has committed to eliminating these emissions before 2050 to set an example and show its dedication to climate action.

Figure B.2. City of Surrey corporate emissions in 2019 (total: 22,245 t CO2e/y)

Corporate emissions sources

City-owned facilities are the largest source of corporate emissions, mainly from burning gas for heating the City’s pools, arenas, community centres, fire halls, libraries, and administration buildings. These emissions can be reduced by upgrading civic facilities and replacing equipment, such as switching out gas boilers for electric heat pumps.

City-owned vehicle fleets account for the next largest source of corporate emissions.The City is beginning to transition some vehicles to electric models and planning for the long-term shift to electric and renewable fuels.

  • Solid waste (waste-hauling trucks) - these emissions have recently been canceled; as of April 2023 Renewable Natural Gas produced in the biofuel facility is used to fuel the City's wastehauling trucks.
  • Contracted work, such as road building.
  • City infrastructure, such as pump stations.

Corporate emissions since 2009