VANCOUVER— With the release of its 2017 election platform, the B.C. Liberal party has maintained its position on climate action and expanding fossil fuel production within the province. The platform celebrates achievements put in place under former premier Gordon Campbell, which have not been strengthened or built upon for a number of years.
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The platform calls for:
• Extending the freeze on the carbon tax (in place since 2012) to 2021, effectively reducing B.C.'s price on carbon pollution as inflation erodes its value.
• Continued expansion of the LNG/fracking industry within the province.
• Pushing forward the costly and controversial Site C dam project.
• Hitting B.C.'s 2050 emissions reductions target, but not its 2020 target.
Analysis of B.C.'s Climate Leadership Plan by the Pembina Institute suggests present commitments will cause the province to miss its 2020 emissions reductions target and likely its 2050 target. This failure is due in large part to the decision by the B.C. government not to implement the 32 recommendations prescribed by the Climate Leadership Team that the government itself assembled.
"The B.C. Liberal platform suggests the province can expand its fossil fuel industry and achieve ambitious emissions reductions targets at the same time — but this is not the reality," said David Suzuki Foundation policy analyst Steve Kux. "The present plan rejects expert input into necessary climate action and pushes ahead with projects that will delay the growth of low-impact renewable energy in B.C."
Last February, the Canadian Wind Energy Association shut down its operations in B.C., citing a lack of interest on the part of the provincial government and BC Hydro in pursuing opportunities for wind power. At the same time, provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan have made commitments to grow their wind and solar power capacity.
"Instead of focusing on fossil fuels like fracked gas, B.C. should invest in good, long-term jobs in clean tech," Kux said. "This province would benefit from continued leadership in reducing emissions and growing a clean energy economy."
The current Climate Leadership Plan contains a few positive elements, such as strengthening B.C.'s low-carbon fuel standard and reducing methane emissions from the LNG/fracking industry by 45 per cent by 2025, but it relies heavily on carbon offsets from forestry rather than plans to actually reduce emissions.
Emily Fister, Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation