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British Columbia's New Climate Action Plan

British Columbia's New Climate Action Plan

 
On December 5th the Government of British Columbia announced a new climate action plan, CleanBC, replacing the former plan released in 2008. The 2008 Climate Action Plan defined the Province’s climate objectives and guided the provincial officials as they developed new strategies and implemented new initiatives to achieve their GHG emissions mitigation and climate change adaptation goals. Earlier in 2018, the Province legislated new climate targets under the Climate Change Accountability Act and now they have renewed their commitment to climate action with CleanBC.
 
With CleanBC the Province has defined their new strategy to reduce climate pollution as well as create new economic opportunities in a low-carbon economy. The actions identified in the plan will allow British Columbia to achieve 75% of their 2030 target to reduce emissions by 40% below 2007 levels. In 2019 the Province will be working on identifying additional methods to achieve the remaining 25% of emission reductions. The following action items provide a summary of British Columbia’s strategy to create a clean future for their citizens with a focus on local governments in B.C.
 
To achieve cleaner transportation and better air quality the province will:
  • Lower the price of clean vehicles and make it easier to charge or fuel a ZEV;
  • Create grant opportunities (available to local governments, citizens, and businesses) such as the CEVforBC program to subsidize the purchase of clean vehicles;
  • Speed up the switch to cleaner fuels by increasing the low carbon fuel standard and increasing tailpipe emissions standards for vehicles sold after 2025; and
  • Offer incentives to local governments to reduce the need for citizens to commute with grants such as the Public Trans Infrastructure Fund.
 
In order to improve where we live and work the Province will build healthier, more energy-efficient buildings by:
  • Improving the Building Code and increasing efficiency standards to make buildings more efficient;
  • Giving local governments the option to adopt BC Energy Step Code (ESC) which sets targets for new buildings, provides technical roadmaps for users, and supports the improvement of the BC Building Code;
  • Creating incentives to make homes more energy-efficient and heat pumps more affordable;
  • Upgrading public housing to be more energy-efficient;
  • Helping remote communities to reduce their dependence on diesel;
  • Supporting public infrastructure efficiency updates and fuel switching to biofuels with the CleanBC Communities Fund (CCF), a funding program for local governments and Indigenous communities; and
  • Create inventive for local governments to conserve energy with the EfficiencyBC program.
 
To create a cleaner industry that cuts pollution the Province will:
  • Release incentives for cleaner operations using a portion of carbon tax revenues paid by industry;
  • Improve air quality with a pilot project to test options to switch freight trucks to cleaner or zero-emission fuel;
  • Increase access to clean electricity to existing larger operations; and
  • Implement a minimum of 15% renewable gas on industrial natural gas consumption.
 
British Columbia will also be implementing strategies to reduce emissions from waste, these strategies include:
  • Support to local governments and communities to reduce 95% of organic waste for agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste;
  • Put systems in place to capture 75% of landfill gas; and
  • Wasting less and making better use of waste across all sectors of the economy by renewing the B.C. Bloenergy Strategy and Building our the bloenergy and biofuels cluster.
 
Finally, the Province has reaffirmed their commitment to the carbon pricing framework with:
  • Rebates for low- and middle-income citizens and
  • Support for clean investments.
 
The Climate Solutions and Clean Growth (CSGC) Advisory Council was created as an independent body to measure the progress in achieving these goals. The Advisory Council is made up of members from local governments, indigenous communities, environmental organizations, industry, and academia. CSGC will also supervise the development of further strategies that will help British Columbia with the remaining 25 percent they need to achieve the 2030 goal to reduce emissions by 40% below 2007 levels.
 
In order to achieve these goals, the Province has outlined how it will be working with other groups to “protect what we care about and move towards a cleaner future”. Their plan defines their strategy to strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples, business adaptation and industry, technology and innovation, educators and workers, academic organizations, the federal government, utilities, and local governments. The Province acknowledges that local governments are best positioned to make a difference in British Columbians daily lives. In order to build a clean future, local governments will support the development of new clean energy sources and active and cleaner transportation. Local governments will also play a key role in helping British Columbia transition to zero waste. Throughout the next decade, local officials will support the ongoing efforts to make B.C. communities more energy-efficient and compact.