Premier John Horgan announces his government’s plan to address climate change in Vancouver on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Kat Slepian/Black Press Media)

VIDEO: B.C. reveals plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2040

Horgan aims to cut fossil fuel use by 20 per cent and boost green energy use by 60 per cent by 2050

The NDP government revealed a slew of transportation, building and jobs measures on Wednesday as part of its wide-scale effort to reduce greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2040.

Dubbed CleanBC, the plan lays out how the province will transition from fossil fuels to a “low-carbon economy,” though the public will have to wait on how much it will cost.

“The challenges of climate change are clearly global,” Premier John Horgan told a packed room at Vancouver Public Library’s central branch.

“But the impact is being observed and felt right here… in our forests, in our rural communities where we are facing floods and droughts within months of each other.”

The plan centres on cutting fossil fuel use by 20 per cent and boosting green energy use by 60 per cent by 2050.

Horgan said the move will require an additional 4,000 gigawatt hours of electricity, or an eight-per-cent increase, over current BC Hydro projections. Currently, the province gets two-thirds of its energy from fossil fuels.

That will put the province on track to meet Canada’s commitment to keep global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, or well below two per cent above pre-industrial levels.

Building on an earlier promise that every car sold in B.C. will be zero-emission by 2040, Horgan said the government will bring down the price of electric vehicles and work with private industry to build more charging stations and train more mechanics to work on them.

The province’s goals will require a 200-per-cent increase in electric car sales by 2030.

The government also promised to lower carbon intensity in fuels by 20 per cent by 2030 and to enhance tailpipe emission standards for cars sold after 2025.

It will also make B.C.’s Building Code more efficient and require buildings to get 15 per cent of their energy from renewable natural gas.

READ MORE: B.C. sets new greenhouse gas reduction targets

Meanwhile, industry will have to make sure 15 per cent of its gas usage is from renewable sources by 2030. Currently, large-scale industry pays about one-third of the carbon tax collected by the province. The government will create a fund from the proceeds to be funnelled back into green incentives.

The plan also targets waste, aiming for 95 per cent of B.C. communities to divert garbage from the landfill, as well as capture and reuse 75 per cent of landfill gas by 2030.

‘Sign of hope’

Environmentalists praised the requirement for the government to project and report on pollution cuts every year, as well as the creation of an independent oversight group.

“It’s taken almost a year, but the Green-supported NDP government has started to head in the right direction,” said the Wilderness Committee’s Peter McCartney. “There’s still much work to do, but this plan is a good start.”

The B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, however, slammed the NDP for reaching high without providing details.

“I really think this this would be better if they rolled this out in shorter pieces, always with costing attached,” Kris Sims said. “I don’t care who you vote for, but you need to know how much this is going to cost you.”

Instead of regulating natural gas use and car emissions, she said the province should scrap the carbon tax and let the market innovate its way to a climate change solution.

What will it cost?

Horgan repeatedly deflected questions from reporters on how much the plan would cost to Finance Minister Carol James and stuck to talking points.

He did say he’d look to Ottawa for help, as well as speak with other premiers at the First Ministers’ meeting in Montreal on Friday.

Said Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman: “We’ve been through this with the finance minister and the details will be in the budget in the spring. Our plan will be fully funded.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Pick all your apples and save the bears

As summer ends, bears become more active looking for food

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. Premier announces fall election

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka reacts to election announcement

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read