Premier Christy Clark meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at UN climate talks in Paris

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Vintage vehicles, costumed drivers cruise Fernie streets

Wheels in the Valley hosted their first ever Rally in the Valley event this past Saturday

Food conditioned black bear destroyed in Elk Valley

The bear was destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service on June 28

Elkford students plant trees as part of reclamation project

The students planted over 200 trees throughout the community

Elk Valley wildlife conservation projects receive funding

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation announced $9.2 million in funding across the province

Registration opens for Fernie Writers Conference

The conference will take place from August 17-23 and will feature several accomplished authors

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read