B.C. climate plan leaves massive gap to carbon pollution targets

Province needs significant increase in efforts to cut carbon pollution, modelling shows

The green line (reference case) shows projected carbon pollution before accounting for the policies in the Climate Leadership Plan and the federal carbon price schedule. The blue line (B.C. climate plan & federal carbon price) shows projected carbon pollution with those policies included. Chart: PICS/Pembina Institute/CEC

VANCOUVER / COAST SALISH TERRITORY — Today, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Pembina Institute, and Clean Energy Canada released the first independent assessment of British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Plan in combination with the federal government’s recently announced carbon price schedule.

The analysis, prepared by Navius Research, projects that the combined carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas, industry and utilities, transport, and buildings will increase until 2030 and remain above current levels until at least 2050. Carbon pollution from these sources is forecast to hit 66 megatonnes (Mt) in 2050, compared to the province’s legislated target of 12.6 Mt.

The modelling used in the analysis did not assess or incorporate the province’s commitment to increase the amount of carbon stored in B.C.’s forests. Based on the government’s estimates, these actions could close the projected 53-Mt gap in 2050 to 41 Mt.

Growing carbon pollution from LNG and upstream shale gas operations constitutes the largest contributor to the size of the gap. Relative to today, carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas is projected to double by 2050. In comparison, carbon pollution from transport and buildings is forecast to see respective declines of 35% and 50% over the same period. Additional actions will be required in all sectors for B.C. to meet its targets.

B.C. has promised to update its climate plan in 2017. To achieve B.C.’s 2050 carbon pollution target and do its part in Canada’s efforts to meet the country’s Paris Agreement commitments for 2030, the province will need to further develop the policies and make the investments promised in the current plan. The B.C. government will also need to commit to stronger policies across all sectors of the economy to bridge the sizable gap. The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Pembina Institute, and Clean Energy Canada continue to support the development and implementation of those next steps.

Quick facts

  • B.C.’s annual carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas, industry and utilities, transport, and buildings is projected to hit 68 Mt in 2030 under B.C.’s climate plan — an 8-Mt increase from today.
  • An 8-Mt increase in carbon pollution is akin to adding two million cars to the province’s roads.
  • The province’s legislated emissions targets are 43.5 Mt in 2020 and 12.6 Mt in 2050. In the Climate Leadership Plan released in August, the government renewed its commitment to meeting the 2050 target.
  • Under the plan, fossil fuels will continue to supply the majority of the province’s energy until at least 2030.


“This analysis highlights the extent of the gap between B.C.’s legislated emission reduction targets and where this initial plan takes us. As Canada gets ready this week to create its national strategy on climate, this report is a timely reminder of increased effort that is required by all, if we are to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.”
— Sybil Seitzinger, executive
director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

“For Canada’s climate plan to be successful, B.C. needs to step up its game. The province needs a carbon pollution reduction plan that closes the gap to its climate targets and builds a sustainable economy powered by renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
— Matt Horne, B.C. associate director, Pembina Institute

“B.C.’s climate plan is out of step with national climate efforts: Canada’s carbon pollution has to go down to meet its 2030 target, while B.C.’s plan will see pollution climb. Accelerating a transition to renewable energy would help B.C. reduce carbon pollution and increase jobs in the sector from 11,000 today to over 15,000 over the next 10 years.”
— Jeremy Moorhouse, senior analyst, Clean Energy Canada


Download the report and detailed results: Modelling the Impact of the Climate Leadership Plan & Federal Carbon Price on British Columbia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Join the conversation on Twitter: #BCClimatePlan


Stephen Hui
Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
Tw: @StephenHui

About us

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is a collaboration of B.C.’s four leading research universities, hosted and led by the University of Victoria.

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean-energy transition.

Clean Energy Canada is a climate and clean energy think tank within the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University and is working to accelerate our nation’s transition to clean and renewable energy systems.

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