The BC government went to the Paris climate talks with the recommendations of a blue-ribbon Climate Leadership Team in hand. Now it wants to hear from you – should they be implemented?
It is crucial that the government hear loud and clear that, taken together, these recommendations are the bare minimum that the government should do to address the global security crisis that is climate change. It is important that the government does not pick some recommendations and ignore others.
Noted climate economist, Prof. Mark Jaccard, refused to be on the Climate Leadership Team precisely because he feared that the province would implement only the easy recommendations, and ignore the important ones:
[A] long list [of recommendations] enables such a government to loudly enact one negligible policy after another — such as ads to promote energy efficiency — while “waiting for the right time” to implement the few truly effective policies. This has happened repeatedly.
Jaccard has also criticised Premier Clark’s 2012 decision to drop or freeze many of BC’s successful climate initiatives, which has meant that BC will not achieve its legislated 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The Climate Leadership Team recommendations are meant to inform the BC Climate Action Plan 2.0.
Unfortunately, Premier Christy Clark has already suggested, shortly after receiving the Climate Leadership Team’s report, that she might want to pick and choose from the team’s recommendations:
We've received the recommendations. … There's a lot of recommendations … so let's consult, and then decide where we're going to go next and when we want to get there. We are leaders now. Nobody has caught up to us. … but we want to stay leaders, so we want to act on that and act on the elements that we think could work.
The Climate Leadership Team made 32 recommendations, many of which have sub-recommendations, which, if fully implemented, will move BC a long way towards achieving our greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Telling the government what you think
So now it’s your turn to tell the government what you think. Your comments can be as general as “I’m looking for strong climate leadership and hope that the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations will be a minimum that you will build on.” Or you can read the read and make detailed comments on each of the 32 recommendations and the government’s Consultation Guide (which re-organizes, but does little to simplify the recommendations).
Some additional points to make are:
- Don’t cherry pick: The Climate Leadership Team recommendations are a package, and should be the minimum in any new Climate Leadership Plan. Dropping anything from it – except to strengthen it – will undermine the province’s ability to achieve its targets.
- Do not delay: While increasing BC’s carbon tax by $10/year, and expanding it to include other sources of greenhouse gas emissions is important, we can’t wait until 2018 and 2021, respectively, to implement these measures.
- Don’t be complacent: Further action is necessary – BC will not achieve its legally enshrined 2020 target because it failed to update and build on its climate plans, and we can’t afford to make the same mistake twice! The recommendation that the government work with a Climate Leadership Team every 5 years to review the plan, and the province’s progress towards BC’s targets, is essential.
If you want to dig deeper and make more detailed submissions on particular recommendations, that’s wonderful. But either way, if you care about climate change, do take a few minutes to send a message, short or long – ideally in your own words – about the government’s obligation to defend our atmosphere, and supporting the full implementation of the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations.
By Andrew Gage, Staff Counsel