A successful Climate Leadership Plan will need public engagement Solutions for Climate Leadership — Part 1

Blog - July 20, 2015 - By Matt Horne

Matt Horne, B.C. Associate Director with the Pembina Institute and member of British Columbia's Climate Leadership Team, provides remarks with Environment Minister, Mary Polak, at the launch of the public consultation period for the province's new Climate Action Plan. Photo: Kevin Sauvé, Pembina Institute. 

British Columbia has now launched a public consultation to help develop its Climate Leadership Plan. If the end product is a success, it will help B.C. meet its climate change targets and prepare the economy for a world beginning to move away from fossil fuels. Please take the time to let the government know that acting on climate change is important to you, and share the solutions that you’d like to see.

Thankfully, B.C. isn’t starting from scratch. The province has a good foundation of climate policies to build upon, which includes the carbon tax, the clean energy requirements and the low-carbon fuel standard. Collectively, those policies have helped lower per-capita fossil fuel consumption by 16 per cent, prevented two coal-fired power plants from being built and supported the development of affordable renewable fuels. And during the period these policies have been in place, B.C.’s per-capita GDP has grown faster than the rest of Canada’s.

There is also a robust clean energy economy employing over 123,000 British Columbians and contributing $15 billion to the province’s GDP. Those jobs include the people working at the 156 renewable energy projects operating (or under construction) around the province and the more than 200 companies selling clean technology around the world. 

Even with these solid starting points, successfully navigating the path to B.C.’s 2020 and 2050 climate targets will still be a huge challenge. B.C.’s carbon pollution is projected to rise over the next five years and, as the province has acknowledged, ambitious new policies will be needed to change that projection. Much of that new policy can come from simply strengthening existing policies like the carbon tax, the green building code, the clean energy requirements and the low-carbon fuel standard.

We’ll know by December if the government is willing to make those improvements — that’s when they’ll be releasing a draft plan. That’s also when they’ll be heading to the international climate conference in Paris, where we’ll see new commitments to climate action from around the world. One such commitment will be coming from our neighbours, as Alberta’s new government has promised updates to their climate change strategy. 

In advance of December, British Columbians will need to let the government know they want the province to do more to fight climate change if the Climate Leadership Plan is going to be successful. The consultation that's underway until August 17th is an opportunity to deliver that message. I’ll be working with the rest of Pembina’s team to share our thinking on what should be included in a successful plan, and we’ll be working with a variety of organizations, businesses and governments to make the case for a successful Climate Leadership Plan. Feel free to email me with questions or comments. Once again, please take the time to make your voice heard.

Matt Horne
Matt Horne

Matt Horne was the Pembina Institute's associate regional director for British Columbia until 2016.


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