Monday, 10 December, 2018

Numbers for the BC government's climate change plan

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Elijah Vega | 08 December, 2018, 03:47

"CleanBC will position our province for success as the world transitions to low carbon solutions", Weaver said in a government news release.

The Province said it is committed to giving people the skills they need to thrive in the low-carbon economy. "By moving to clean, renewable energy - like our abundant supply of BC electricity - we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians".

Every new building constructed in B.C. will be "net-zero energy ready" by 2032.

The government says new buildings will be 80 per cent more efficient by then compared with homes built now.

The government also recently announced a zero emission vehicle mandate that will require 10% of all new auto sales to be low-emission vehicles (electric or hydrogen fuel cell) by 2025.

- Seventy-five per cent of landfill methane will be captured by 2030.

"Honestly, I don't think it needs to be a one or the other (electricity vs fossil fuels)".

"The challenges of climate change are clearly global, but the impacts are being felt here", Mr. Horgan said, pointing to the province's record-breaking forest fires, and communities dealing with both floods and drought. "We need to begin changing how we live, work and commute to put B.C. on a cleaner, more sustainable path". The government said they would be outlined in the next provincial budget.

The plan has been formulated as a way to achieve the province's legislated climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030, based on 2007 levels.

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.

Benchmarks will be set for industries like mines, LNG, pulp mills and cement plants, and those that meet or beat emissions intensity benchmarks will get carbon taxes rebated.

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And it appears to have the support of Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

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. As the price rises, CleanBC will offer tax reduction incentives to further reduce emissions, and a carbon tax exemption for any company that proves it's the cleanest in its sector globally.

Horgan was asked if this will mean a Hydro rate increase.

The government's plan says by 2030, its new policies would require an additional 4,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity over the current demand.

Many business and environmental groups and advocates are lauding the government's Clean B.C. greenhouse gas reduction plan announced Wednesday but some, like Peter McCartney of Wilderness Committee, are raising concerns. The remaining 25 per cent, Heyman said, will be identified through initiatives rolled out over the next 18 to 24 months.

The Sierra Club BC's campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon said the plan has transparent reporting and accountability.

"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".

"This is not only a climate plan, this is an economic plan, and that's what's so exciting about what's being announced today", he said.

David Austin, an energy lawyer at Stirling LLP who has worked with the Clean Energy Association of B.C., said he's always been advocating for the electrification of the oil and gas industry, which would require B.C Hydro to add transmission lines to get enough energy to gas fields.

The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation voiced concern about the lack of information on how much the climate plan will cost.

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