B.C. unveils Climate Leadership Plan

Friday, August 19, 2016

The B.C. government has unveiled its highly anticipated Climate Leadership Plan which outlines the province’s strategy for limiting greenhouse-gas emissions and combating climate change.

According to the province, the plan will lead to the creation of up to 66,000 jobs over the next 10 years, and reduce net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050.

“We are continuing to lead the way in reducing emissions and creating jobs with the release of our new Climate Leadership Plan,” said Premier Christy Clark. “We are taking action with an approach that balances environmental responsibility with economic opportunity.”

The plan’s initial 21 action items include making electric vehicles more affordable and buildings more energy efficient. Government is also targeting sequestration opportunities in our forests and emission reductions in our natural gas production and processing. As demand for clean solutions increases, these actions continue to position B.C. for growth.

Emissions will be reduced further as subsequent actions are introduced, putting B.C. on course to achieve its 2050 target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions from 2007 levels.

“We are taking further action to keep our province on track to meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets, while continuing to grow our economy,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak. “Through the Climate Leadership Plan, we are taking strong actions that will ensure we continue to be an international climate leader, and that our province remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The B.C. Climate Leadership Plan encourages industries to look at new technologies and innovation for the built environment, with a focus on energy efficient buildings, infrastructure upgrades and less waste to landfills.

The Climate Leadership Plan will be further updated over the coming year, in response to work underway between the federal government and the provinces and territories to develop a pan-Canadian approach to climate action.

The plan has been met with mixed reactions. The Cement Association of Canada and The Canada Green Building Council welcomed the commitments made under the plan.

“The Canada Green Building Council is pleased that the B.C. government is continuing its leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by targeting public sector buildings, promoting the use of low carbon and renewable materials in construction, and driving innovation by developing policies toward net zero buildings. Improving building energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective and readily available solution to reducing emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs for British Columbians,” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO, Canada Green Building Council.

But according to the Pembina Institute, the plan does not go far enough and carbon pollution will not start to significantly decline for 15 years.

“This falls far short of the level of ambition needed to reach B.C.’s 2050 target and leaves the hard work for a later day,” said Josha MacNab, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute. “A climate plan must do two things: reduce emissions and support B.C.’s transition to a clean economy so it can remain competitive in a decarbonizing global market. B.C. has missed key opportunities on both fronts.”

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