The provincial government unveiled its Climate Leadership Plan Friday, including a goal of creating 66,000 jobs over the next decade and reducing 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 percent reduction in emissions from 2007 levels.
Stand, the non-profit environmental group formerly known as ForestEthics, responded with disappointment and dismay after the plan was unveiled.
“While the plan claims to create a decrease in emissions the actual policies outlined will likely lead to an increase in CO2 emissions over the next decade,” said Karen Mahon, national director of Stand. “Today’s announcement is a massive missed opportunity just at the moment in history when we need real leadership on climate change.”
Environment Minister Mary Polak maintained the plan represents a balance of greenhouse gas reduction and economic growth.
“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,” Polak said.
The 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. That work, under the Vancouver Declaration announced in March, covers four different areas of climate action including:
Clean technology, innovation, and jobs;
Specific mitigation opportunities;
Adaptation and climate resilience; and
Carbon pricing mechanisms.
The Climate Leadership Plan will continue to be a living, dynamic document. Government will establish periodic progress reviews on meeting targets and will update the plan as necessary.
The plan reflects many recommendations made by the Climate Leadership Team and feedback received through two rounds of public engagement with stakeholders and citizens, as well as consultations with sector-specific industry groups.
Stand pointed out four areas where the plan falls short:
- Failing Carbon Accounting 101: Clark’s plan counts only the GHG revenues from carbon reduction projects, ignoring the costs from forest losses.
- Show us the Funding: Clark’s plan has funding to reduce only 2.1MT of the 25MT emissions reductions that the government announced today.
- Emissions Enlargements instead of Reductions: Clark’s plan supports an increase in sectors like LNG that will only raise BC’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- Baseline Jumping: Clark’s new plan plays games with its carbon target dates, effectively moving the GHG goal line and declaring victory while raising emissions
“The Climate Leadership Team presented her with a balanced and responsible plan for keeping B.C. at the forefront of responding to the climate crisis,” said Mahon. "Unfortunately the Premier chose not to follow their advice.”