VANCOUVER — The David Suzuki Foundation is encouraged by the release of the BC Green Party’s climate change platform, which includes numerous proposals to help B.C. regain its status as a climate leader. The platform includes ideas that the David Suzuki Foundation has long advocated for, such as:
- Reinstating annual increases to the provincial carbon tax incentive
- Applying the provincial carbon tax to include fugitive emissions from oil and gas companies
- Increasing provincial government investment in public transit and cycling infrastructure
- Legislating a zero-emission vehicle standard to increase the availability of non-emitting vehicles
- Supporting energy efficiency improvements to buildings across the province
“The BC Green Party platform makes several key pledges to restore B.C.’s reputation as a climate action leader,” Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. “This is the first platform we’ve seen from a major B.C. party that goes beyond the minimum standard for carbon pricing set by the federal government.”
The BC Green Party has committed to a range of policies to put B.C. back on track to reach its target of 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030. With current provincial policies, B.C.’s emissions are projected to rise.
The platform includes a pledge to raise the province’s carbon tax by $10 per year for four years beginning in 2018, surpassing the federal government’s requirement for provincial carbon pricing policies to achieve a price of $50 per tonne of emissions by 2022.
“It’s promising to see the Climate Leadership Team recommend a commitment to mid-term emissions reductions targets,” Bruce said. “B.C. has a real opportunity to prosper in the emerging clean energy economy, but we need to take action immediately if we don’t want to be left behind.”
Missing from this announcement are details of a funding framework for public transit infrastructure investment and a firm commitment to expand the use of low-impact renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal power to achieve the province’s energy needs.
The Foundation’s 2016 report Breaking Gridlock: B.C.’s transit investment deficit and what can be done to fix it recommends that the provincial government live up to its 2008 pledge to provide 43 per cent of the funding for new transit projects, reducing the burden on local governments by empowering municipalities to raise new sources of revenues.
“Expanding public transit through reliable provincial funding and expanding the use of low-impact renewable energy in B.C. are two things we can’t afford to overlook,” Bruce said. “Excluding job-creating industries like wind and solar power in favour of big hydro projects fails to recognize the potential of these rapidly growing industries.
“We look forward to hearing more details about all parties’ climate action strategies as the election unfolds.”
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Emily Fister, Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation