VANCOUVER - In an open letter released today, 85 British Columbia business leaders call on the provincial government to reaffirm and strengthen its leadership on climate change.
The letter appears one week after Canada's federal government pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, and highlights the opportunity that provinces have to create jobs while reducing the carbon pollution that causes global warming.
"British Columbia is globally recognized for implementing one of the most progressive carbon policies toward climate stability," said MEC CEO David Labistour. "We all benefit — businesses, communities and ecosystems alike — from the province's continued leadership on the carbon tax, and we encourage Premier Christy Clark and her cabinet colleagues to stay the course with effective pricing."
The letter calls British Columbia's carbon tax "one of the best tools we have at our disposal to fight climate change." That tax is set to rise to $30 per tonne next year, but the provincial government has not yet indicated what will happen after that point. Today's letter urges the province to commit to a schedule of further increases, in a way that is fair and enables all B.C. businesses and communities to be part of the solution.
"Meeting the climate challenge isn't just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense," said Richard Kouwenhoven, the senior vice-president of customer service and business development at Hemlock, one of the largest commercial printers in the province. "We're proud of B.C.'s leadership on carbon pollution, and like many other businesses we want to see it strengthened."
"B.C.'s clean-tech industry is already generating $2.5 billion a year, and employing approximately 8,400 people," said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. "B.C.'s strong roots in innovation and clean technology help deliver a positive signal to the investment community and provide an ideal environment for low-carbon investment."
According to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, by the middle of this century, human-caused warming could cost our nation up to 25 percent of its wealth. Without strong leadership, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians could face lost jobs and missed opportunities.
"The International Energy Agency says we have fewer than five years to act to avoid irreversible global warming," said Bing Thom, one of Canada's most celebrated architects. "This is not the time to waver; this is the time to strengthen and build upon our existing climate policies."
The open letter was coordinated by Tides Canada, The Pembina Institute, and the David Suzuki Foundation.
The open letter can be found on our website. (PDF)