Numbers for the B.C. government's climate change plan

Mindy Sparks
December 8, 2018

"By moving to clean, renewable energy - like our abundant supply of B.C. electricity - we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians".

It includes recently announced programs like the one that would require all new cars and light duty trucks sold in the province to be zero emission vehicles by 2040 and Efficiency B.C. which provides rebates to help people make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.

- By 2032, new buildings will be 80 per cent more efficient than homes built today.

The province's overall goal is a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2007 levels by 2030, with deeper cuts required by 2040 and 2050.

If successful, the plan released Wednesday will take B.C. 75 per cent of the way to meeting the 2030 target.

"Honestly, I don't think it needs to be a one or the other (electricity vs fossil fuels)". "Every year, we're seeing the unprecedented wildfires and floods that hurt so many people, communities and businesses". "We need to begin changing how we live, work and commute to put BC on a cleaner, more sustainable path". The government said they would be outlined in the next provincial budget.

When LNG Canada said in October that it was proceeding with its plan to operate a $40 billion LNG export terminal at Kitimat, Horgan said the government would still meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Overall, the plan aims to reduce the province's dependency on fossil fuels by more than 20 per cent and increase its dependence on clean energy by 60 per cent by 2050.

The province is helping industry lower its emissions and reduce its pollution: 8.4 megatonnes of carbon pollution reduced by 2030.

The province plans to achieve this by electrifying natural gas production on a mass scale.

Premier John Horgan said the enticements would be part of the framework for approving future projects but McCartney said the already-approved LNG export facilities - LNG Canada and Woodfibre in Squamish - would take up nearly all of B.C.'s allowable carbon footprint under the current targets.

He lauded former premier Gordon Campbell for taking the first step with the introduction of the carbon tax: "That leadership was fundamental to getting us to where we are today".

The switch to cleaner energy means increased biofuel consumption and a shift to hydro-generated electricity.

The government's plan calls for more electrification of the gas fields of northeastern B.C. That will require an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new transmission lines.

The sector that emits the most greenhouse gases is transportation, at 37 per cent of emissions, followed by oil and gas at 22 per cent, and residential and commercial buildings at 12 per cent, according to the National Energy Board. Remaining reduction initiatives will be quantified over the next 18 to 24 months.

The plan has also been applauded by the Pembina Institute and the Sierra Club.

"We're yet to be convinced how LNG and fracking will fit into this plan, how you square the circle of increasing emissions on one hand while on the other hand working to decrease emissions".

"Beyond the 2030s, we have to look at what are our generating opportunities", she said. Validators quoted in government background material included representatives of environmental groups, the Business Council of B.C., labour and academia.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist, said he has spent much of his life consumed with the issue of climate change, and this plan fulfills his ambitions: "This is a really big event, this reflects in my view the cumulation of a life's work ... to try to get British Columbia back on track as a climate leader". A previous version said net-zero energy buildings would generate enough on-site energy to power their own functions.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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