Ex-premier gets climate credit
Former premier Gordon Campbell is being credited for spearheading B.C. emissions targets that have recently been met. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)
B.C. is reporting success in lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 2007 levels — fulfilling one of the first climate targets set by then-Premier Gordon Campbell after his surprise conversion to climate action in 2008.
The target, reached at the end of 2012, now sets the stage for bigger and more difficult cuts to come.
B.C. emission reduction targets were set in 2008, the year Campbell forged ahead with his Climate Action Plan, which created short- and long-term emission reduction targets, a carbon tax, and a vision to make government operations “carbon neutral.” The province says this latter goal has been achieved for several years running — largely by making it mandatory for many provincial government operations to buy “carbon credits” to offset their direct emissions.
Moving forward, B.C. faces more legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: a 33% reduction below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% below 2007 levels for 2050. How these will be reconciled with B.C.’s plans to develop a busy, energy-intensive liquefied natural gas industry is unclear, as noted in the province’s latest 2014 Progress Report on B.C. climate action.
“There remain big challenges ... B.C.’s commitment to having the world’s cleanest LNG facilities is world-leading, but will still bring about an overall emissions increase for the province.”
B.C. is at a crossroads when it comes to action on climate change, says Ian Bruce, science and policy manager at the David Suzuki Foundation, with much of the progress achieved to date the direct result of action taken by Campbell.
“The current government has yet to show how they will continue to lead on climate change while ramping up production of fossil fuels in the province,” he said. “Its leadership around environmental innovation has stalled.”