VICTORIA — Despite an additional $419 million over three years for CleanBC, today’s B.C. 2020 budget falls short of what’s needed to respond to the climate emergency.
“B.C. is going in the right direction, but given that responding to the climate crisis is the defining issue of our time, we were hoping to see even more support for a transition to a low-carbon economy,” David Suzuki Foundation policy specialist Theresa Beer said.
Welcome investments include continuing the momentum for transition to zero-emission vehicles by adding $20 million to the point-of-sale incentive program, prioritizing funding for Vancouver’s Broadway subway and support for energy-efficiency improvements to schools, universities, colleges and hospitals.
“With transportation being one of our biggest carbon-emitting sectors, shifting quickly to electric cars and trucks is an effective climate strategy, and consumer incentives are clearly helping, with B.C. topping the country in new electric vehicle sales. We need to go further, though, and fund a faster transition to electrified buses and ramp up EV infrastructure more quickly,” Beer said.
A large portion of carbon emissions is from buildings. “Incentives for heat pumps will help families, but more financial incentives to support energy efficiency at a larger scale will not only pay off in climate strategy but will also save money over the long run,” Beer said.
Funding climate mitigation efforts now saves money in the long run. “As climate impacts worsen, governments that don’t adequately fund the energy transition will need to devote more to responding to extreme weather–related events such as worsening wildfires and flooding. You pay now or you pay more later,” Beer said. This budget includes $519 million over the three-year fiscal plan to respond to and recover from extreme weather events, including wildfires and floods.
“We’d like to have seen more dedicated funding to support a low-carbon economy through a clean and renewable energy transition,” Beer said. “If even a portion of the sizable incentives and tax breaks given to the liquefied natural gas industry were offered instead to clean energy companies, B.C.’s ability to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate goals would be much stronger. Although we welcome the funding for climate initiatives, we question whether government can meet its climate objectives while supporting massive new liquefied fracked gas developments.”
Additional priorities for the Foundation not mentioned in the budget include funding for caribou and other wildlife recovery efforts.
The $419 million in funding for CleanBC in Budget 2020 is in addition to the more than $900 million over three years devoted to the climate plan in Budget 2019.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Theresa Beer, 778-874-3396, firstname.lastname@example.org