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B.C. climate plan leaves massive gap to carbon pollution targets, says Pembina Institute


December 6, 2016
by Canadian Architect

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Pembina Institute, and Clean Energy Canada have 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, explores projects where 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.

“This analysis highlights the extent of the gap between B.C.’s legislated emission reduction targets and where this initial plan takes us,” says Sybil Seitzinger, executive director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. “As Canada gets ready 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.”

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 per cent and 50 per cent over the same period. Additional actions will be required in all sectors for B.C. to meet its targets.

“For Canada’s climate plan to be successful, B.C. needs to step up its game,” says Matt Horne, B.C. associate director, Pembina Institute. “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.”

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.

To download the full report and view detailed results, please click here.

The Bill Fisch Forest Steward-ship and Education Centre by DIALOG generates more energy than it consumes. Photo by Cindy Blazevic

The Bill Fisch Forest Steward-ship and Education Centre by DIALOG generates more energy than it consumes. Photo by Cindy Blazevic