The B.C. government is expected to release its clean growth strategy this fall. The Pembina Institute argues that successful implementation will require carbon budgeting by sector and robust accountability mechanisms.  Pembina Institute photo.

B.C. clean growth strategy released this fall

This article was published by Pembina Institute on August 22, 2018.

Vancouver / Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories — British Columbia’s government has taken another step towards regaining climate leadership with strong policy proposals in its first three intentions papers on clean growth.

However, further bold actions must be forthcoming for B.C. to effectively curb climate-damaging carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Pembina Institute has submitted dozens of recommendations in response to the intentions papers on Clean, Efficient Buildings and A Clean Growth Program for Industry.

On Friday, August 24, the public consultation period for the papers (including a third one on Clean Transportation) comes to an end.

B.C. should set a target for carbon pollution from homes and buildings to be reduced by 50 per cent to 60 per cent by 2030, as suggested by the government’s Climate Leadership Team and Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council.

“The task of reducing B.C.’s carbon pollution must not be underestimated. With B.C.’s climate action having stalled in recent years, we must be ambitious to make up for lost time,” said Karen Tam Wu, B.C. managing director of the Pembina Institute.

She added “British Columbians deserve a forward-thinking clean growth strategy that will accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy, curb carbon pollution, and secure economic prosperity”.

Carbon pollution from buildings should also be virtually eliminated by 2050. To meet these goals, the province must ensure new buildings are energy-efficient and heated by low-carbon fuels, such as renewable electricity, renewable natural gas, or renewable district energy systems.

B.C. also needs a low-carbon retrofit strategy — to upgrade 30,000 houses, 17,000 apartment units, and 3 million square feet of commercial space every year between now and 2050.

Making our homes and workplaces energy-efficient, healthy, safe, and affordable is the next mega-project for B.C. — one that calls for private and public investment of up to $1 billion per year.

The Pembina Institute is generally supportive of the proposed Clean Growth Program for Industry, which would maintain the incentive to reduce carbon pollution. Our recommendations are aimed at ensuring the policy is simple, temporary, and transparent.

Addressing industry concerns about carbon pollution pricing and competitiveness will help prevent emissions leakage, alleviate a barrier to further carbon price increases, and secure a strong economy for B.C.

The B.C. government is expected to release its clean growth strategy this fall. Successful implementation will require carbon budgeting by sector and robust accountability mechanisms.