The BC government’s Climate Leadership Plan (PDF), released in August 2016, promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs over a ten year period.
The Plan builds on BC’s 2008 Climate Action Plan and, based on the recommendations of the Climate Leadership Team and public engagement, outlines 21 actions for BC to help meet its existing emissions reduction target of 80 percent below 2007 levels by 2050. The actions are initially intended to reduce annual emissions by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050, and to create up to 66,000 jobs over the next ten years by targeting key areas.
The Plan will be updated over the next year as work progresses on the pan-Canadian framework on climate action that is contemplated by the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, adopted by First Ministers in March 2016. Pursuant to the Vancouver Declaration, the First Ministers committed to meeting this Fall to finalize the pan-Canadian framework and review progress on the Canadian Energy Strategy (PDF).
The Plan reaffirms BC’s commitment to its carbon tax and emissions reduction targets, while protecting competitiveness of affected industries. With respect to the $30/tonne carbon tax, BC has confirmed it supports increasing the price once other jurisdictions catch up, and that revenue neutrality remains a fundamental principle, such that the tax will only increase if every dollar is returned to tax payers.
Some of the other initiatives in the six key areas of natural gas, transportation, forestry and agriculture, industry and utilities, communities and built environment, and public sector leadership, include:
- Developing regulations to enable carbon capture and storage
- Investing in infrastructure to power natural gas projects with clean power
- Enhancing low carbon fuel standards and regulations to encourage fuel switching
- Expanding programs to encourage zero emission vehicle adoption and use, including support for charging stations and the Clean Energy Vehicle incentive program
- Amending regulations to promote energy efficient buildings
- Creating a strategy to reduce waste and convert to energy or other resources
- Facilitating projects to fuel marine vessels and commercial vehicles with natural gas
- Improving power utility demand-side management programs
- Committing to make BC’s electricity 100% clean or renewable, with allowances for reliability
The Plan represents an effort to take action now on items that will continue to improve BC’s prospects of achieving its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, while recognizing the need to coordinate with, and adapt to address, similar initiatives of other provinces on a pan-Canadian basis. We will be watching for further developments on that front this Fall as BC and Alberta, in particular, move forward with their respective Climate Leadership Plans in the context of a coordinated national approach.