BC climate plan leaves massive gap to carbon pollution targets
Province needs significant increase in efforts to cut carbon pollution, modelling shows
Today, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada released the first independent assessment of British Columbiaâ€™s Climate Leadership Plan in combination with the federal governmentâ€™s recently announced carbon price schedule.
The analysis, prepared by Navius Research, projects that 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 provinceâ€™s legislated target of 12.6 Mt.
The modelling used in the analysis did not assess or incorporate the provinceâ€™s commitment to increase the amount of carbon stored in BCâ€™s forests. Based on the governmentâ€™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 BC to meet its targets.
BC has promised to update its climate plan in 2017. To achieve BCâ€™s 2050 carbon pollution target and do its part in Canadaâ€™s efforts to meet the countryâ€™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 BC government will also need to commit to stronger policies across all sectors of the economy to bridge the sizable gap. PICS, the Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada continue to support the development and implementation of those next steps.
â€˘Â Â Â BCâ€™s annual carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas, industry and utilities, transport, and buildings is projected to hit 68 Mt in 2030 under BCâ€™s climate plan â€” an 8-Mt increase from today.
â€˘Â Â Â An 8-Mt increase in carbon pollution is akin to adding two million cars to the provinceâ€™s roads.
â€˘Â Â Â The provinceâ€™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.
â€˘Â Â Â Under the plan, fossil fuels will continue to supply the majority of the provinceâ€™s energy until at least 2030.
â€śThis analysis highlights the extent of the gap between BCâ€™s legislated emission reduction targets and where this initial plan takes us. As Canada gets ready this week 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.â€ť
â€” Sybil Seitzinger, executive director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
â€śFor Canadaâ€™s climate plan to be successful, BC needs to step up its game. 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.â€ť
â€” Matt Horne, B.C. associate director, Pembina Institute
â€śBCâ€™s climate plan is out of step with national climate efforts: Canadaâ€™s carbon pollution has to go down to meet its 2030 target, while BCâ€™s plan will see pollution climb. Accelerating a transition to renewable energy would help BC reduce carbon pollution and increase jobs in the sector from 11,000 today to over 15,000 over the next 10 years.â€ť
â€” Jeremy Moorhouse, senior analyst, Clean Energy Canada
Download the report and detailed results: Modelling the Impact of the Climate Leadership Plan & Federal Carbon Price on British Columbiaâ€™s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is a collaboration of BCâ€™s four leading research universities, hosted and led by the University of Victoria.
The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canadaâ€™s clean-energy transition.
Clean Energy Canada is a climate and clean energy think tank within the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University and is working to accelerate our nationâ€™s transition to clean and renewable energy systems.
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