Paris climate deal leaves questions for B.C.

International agreement calls for additional emission cuts, but Canada and B.C. haven't decided how to do it

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other national leaders in hailing the international greenhouse gas emission agreement reached in Paris over the weekend, but the implications for Canada and B.C. remain unclear.

Trudeau said in a statement from Ottawa that he and the provincial premiers will meet within 90 days to develop a plan to do Canada’s part in the effort to keep average global temperature rise below two degrees from pre-industrial levels.

Canada’s official submission to the Paris talks was the previous Conservative government’s plan of a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, starting from the 2005 level, including restrictions on coal-fired power and methane emissions.

The Paris agreement notes that existing voluntary targets by countries do not meet what is calculated to prevent a two per cent increase, and more emission cuts will be required. Article 28 of the legal text also gives every country the ability, after three years of implementation, to give a year’s notice and withdraw.

In a year-end interview, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the government will wait until a national emissions goal is established before deciding whether to add measures to the existing carbon tax on carbon-based fuels. The B.C. tax has been frozen at $30 a tonne since 2013, adding about seven cents to the price of a litre of gasoline with similar increases for natural gas and other heating fuels.

An advisory committee recommended in November that the tax be increased by a third starting in 2018, with annual increases after to drive down carbon dioxide emissions.

Clark said the carbon tax freeze means B.C. won’t meet its own legislated target of reducing emissions by a third by 2020, but the government couldn’t keep raising it and risk pushing industries and jobs out of the province.

“Other provinces are starting to get closer to where we are,” Clark said. “By 2018, Alberta’s going to have come some way. By then Ontario will be into a plan, and Quebec already is.”

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan said he’s “comfortable” with the advisory committee’s date of 2018, which would give an NDP government time to assess the situation if he wins the 2017 B.C. election.

Horgan said he is inclined to support the carbon tax proposed recently by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, which means “taking revenues and driving them into industries, or activities like transit, that will reduce emissions over time.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alistair MacGregor column: Standing up for seniors

Across Canada, seniors are scared.

Lake Flashback: Museum preserves future, new hope for a pool, and a murder

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Cobble Hill man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Drivesmart column: The registered owner is responsible

Have you ever stopped to consider the risk involved in handing your keys over to someone else?

Aquatic Centre renovations starting soon

More space promised for crowded fitness and aquatic areas

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read