VANCOUVER — Three days before the United Nations climate conference begins in Paris, France, British Columbia has yet to announce climate commitments. This is disappointing as other provinces are taking new, credible plans and policies to address climate change to the UN climate talks. B.C. risks not regaining its status as an innovative leader in an area it originally championed.
Today, the B.C. Climate Leadership Team released recommendations it says are needed for British Columbia to step up strongly at the Paris conference.
The Climate Leadership Team was appointed by the B.C. government in May to provide expert advice and recommendations for the province's climate action plan. It includes representatives from environmental groups, government, First Nations, the business sector, academia and other sectors. The David Suzuki Foundation helped develop B.C.'s groundbreaking climate polices in 2008, and submitted material for the current team's consideration.
Although B.C.'s adoption of a carbon tax incentive in 2008 has received praise, the B.C. government froze tax levels in 2012. The Climate Leadership Team recommends an annual $10 increase in the tax starting in 2018 and expansion to include all emissions.
Other highlights include energy-efficiency recommendations for buildings, more financing for energy retrofits, a task force to investigate B.C.'s competitive advantages in a low-carbon economy and moving toward zero-emissions standards for vehicles. The leadership team also looked at B.C.'s plans to expand liquefied natural gas development and recommends that BC Hydro develop a strategy to supply LNG, natural gas and associated infrastructure projects with clean power.
The team acknowledges that more work is needed to develop requirements to reduce emissions in the transportation sector and to build public-transit infrastructure. Even with the team's strong recommendations, B.C. will have to take further action to meet its 2020 emissions target, the team concludes.
"With support for action on climate change coalescing at all levels in Canada — on the streets, among businesses, in cities and at the provincial level — B.C.'s lack of a strong climate commitment so far seems out of step," said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. "We hope the B.C. government will make an announcement at the UN climate conference, but it's disappointing that a province that once led on climate solutions is in danger of losing its status as world leaders gather for the climate summit. Adopting the leadership team's recommendations would be a good start, with more work needed before 2020 targets can be met."
The David Suzuki Foundation is sending a three-member team to the UN climate talks in Paris. For more information, see: www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2015/11/david-suzuki-foundation-delegation-available-for-media-interviews-at-un-climate-/
— END —
For information, please contact:
Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy Analyst
David Suzuki Foundation: