B.C. budget takes small steps toward clean economy goalsPembina Institute highlights opportunities to align investments with B.C.’s 2030 carbon reduction commitment

April 20, 2021

Workers retrofitting a residential building

The amount allocated in Budget 2021 to reduce carbon pollution from homes and buildings is not proportional to what is needed to meet our target. Photo: Roberta Franchuk, Pembina Institute

VANCOUVER — KAREN TAM WU, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the B.C. government’s 2021 budget announcement:

“We understand the imperative to address health and business needs as British Columbians struggle with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. As we plan for recovery in the face of increasing climate change costs and a decarbonizing global economy, we were hoping to see a level of investment that aligns more closely with B.C.’s climate goals. This means a level of investment necessary to meet 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets and secure a strong foothold for British Columbians competing in a decarbonized global economy.

“We have the tremendous task in B.C. of switching more than 80,000 heated homes and apartment buildings each year from natural gas to high efficiency heat pumps to meet B.C.’s target to reduce emissions from the buildings and communities sector by about 60 per cent. Yet the amount allocated in Budget 2021 to reduce carbon pollution from homes and buildings is not proportional to what is needed to meet this target. The $12 million for energy upgrades to schools and $11 million announced to support local governments to plan for compact, efficient communities won’t go far in delivering the 60 per cent reduction target.

“B.C. has been successful at reducing emissions from light-duty vehicles. Meanwhile, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are a growing source of emissions that will be challenging to reduce. Future investments targeting this source of carbon pollution from transportation will benefit the health of British Columbians and zero-carbon transportation industry and businesses. 

“In this budget, we are pleased to see over $500 million allocated to CleanBC’s clean energy and climate action goals. Providing support for remote communities to transition off diesel and on to clean electricity is welcome. Communities want to determine their own energy future and play a role in the clean energy economy. Energy independence is particularly important for remote Indigenous communities and efforts by governments toward this goal are critical to reconciliation. 

“Co-investing with the federal government in a Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy and in developing policy on low-carbon fuels will spur initiatives needed to transition B.C. off fossil fuels and on to clean energy while creating new zero- and low-carbon jobs. The development of a clean energy plan would inform which investments into what research, technologies and policies best align with the province’s climate goals.”


Sarah MacWhirter
Director, Communications, Pembina Institute


Report: A resilient economy and safe climate: Our vision for B.C.
Media release: B.C. recovery plan underscores links between health, economy, and climate
Media release: B.C. takes Canadian lead setting sectoral carbon budget targets

About the Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto. Learn more: www.pembina.org


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