BC’s new climate plan a huge step forward

Second phase of work must ensure further emissions reductions from oil and gas industry, which is critical to achieving climate targets

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UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES (Vancouver, BC) — CleanBC, British Columbia’s new climate plan announced today, is a huge step forward but also leaves hard decisions for the second phase of work over the next 18-24 months, said international environmental organization Stand.earth.

“It’s a relief to have a government in British Columbia taking climate change seriously again and working to reduce pollution. The CleanBC plan has some of the strongest climate policies in North America on transportation and buildings. However, the government is leaving the hardest decisions for the second phase of the plan. It remains to be seen if British Columbia can meet its climate targets, especially given the projected growth in fracked gas and LNG,” said Tzeporah Berman, international programs director at Stand.earth.

While the CleanBC plan is still 25% short of meeting BC’s legislated 2030 carbon reduction goals, it does commit to ending the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2040, and requires that new buildings constructed after 2032 must have net zero carbon emissions. Under the plan, emissions from all sectors decline significantly before 2030 — other than emissions in the industrial sector, which decline only marginally.

“We are encouraged by the commitment to pass a Climate Accountability Act, but we would like to see the government set sectoral emissions reduction targets as part of the second phase of the plan, which will create transparency and fairness and ensure emissions reductions from every sector — including oil and gas. So far, the CleanBC plan gives an easy ride to those responsible for the greatest increase in emissions. We can’t keep propping up the fossil fuel sector with tax write offs and lax regulations and allowing it to expand,” said Berman, who sat on British Columbia’s previous Climate Leadership Team.

A recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the world has just 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe and keep Earth to a 1.5 degree celsius future.  

“The recent UN report makes clear we have a very small window to get off fossil fuels if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The CleanBC plan moves us in the right direction — but 75% of the way there is not good enough. Stand.earth is committed to work with the government to find solutions that will meet our targets over the next two years,” said Sven Biggs, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Stand.earth.  

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Media contacts:

Tzeporah Berman, International Programs Director, Stand.earth, tzeporah@stand.earth, (604) 313-4713 (In Poland at COP 24, +9 PST or +6 EST)

Sven Biggs, Climate Campaigner, Stand.earth, (778) 882-8354, sven@stand.earth (In Vancouver)