On Wednesday, the government of British Columbia issued its CleanBC plan which takes aim at cutting climate pollution and welcoming low-carbon businesses.  BC government photo.

CleanBC plan puts priority on shift to electricity, making BC destination for green industry

On Wednesday, the BC government unveiled its CleanBC plan which Premier John Horgan says will be the blueprint for cutting climate pollution and creating more jobs and economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities in the province.

“The low-carbon economy we build together will bring opportunities and jobs throughout the province, so people can live and work with greater security in the communities they call home,” said Premier John Horgan.

“By moving to clean, renewable energy – like our abundant supply of BC electricity – we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians.”

Horgan says through the program, his government will cut climate pollution by shifting homes, vehicles, industry and business off fossil fuels to BC hydroelectricity and other renewable energies.

As well, Horgan says part of the plan is to boost energy-efficient solutions, including zero-emissions vehicles and home heat pumps.  Horgan says the provincial government will make these more affordable and available for British Columbians.

The BC government says it is opening its doors to new investment and industry creating low-carbon products, services and pollution-reducing technologies.

“B.C.’s new climate plan signals an exciting vision for a clean economy. In just over 10 years, all new homes and buildings will be low carbon. In just over 20 years, all new cars sold will be zero emissions,” Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute, said in a release.

Going forward, we will generate more clean electricity and renewable fuels, and burn less oil and gas. B.C.’s climate strategy brings hope for all Canadians concerned about the wellbeing of their families and communities.”

Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change said “British Columbia has shown real leadership on climate action in Canada and on the world stage”.

“A decade ago, British Columbia put a price on pollution, and has since cut pollution, led the country in economic growth and built the fastest-growing clean tech sector in Canada,” said McKenna.

“Their climate leadership is good for the environment and it’s good for the economy.”

According to a press release from the BC government, the CleanBC plan was developed as a pathway to meet the Province’s mandated climate targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, based on 2007 levels.

As part of the CleanBC plan, there will be a quicker switch to cleaner burning fuels at the pump along with further reductions to the carbon intensity of transportation fuels, cutting 4.0 Mt of carbon pollution by 2030.

By 2040, every new car sold in BC will be a zero-emissions vehicle, saving 1.3 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon pollution by 2030.

And by 2032, every new building constructed in the province will be net-zero energy ready.  As well, the BC government will require new buildings to be more efficient and will boost funding for renovations and energy retrofits to existing homes and offices.  The Province will also offer $400 million to support retrofits and upgrades for publicly funded housing, cutting 2.0 Mt of carbon pollution by 2030.

CleanBC will also help cut 0.7 Mt of carbon pollution by turning residential and industrial organic waste into a clean resource.  The plan will also help industry cut 8.4 Mt of carbon pollution by 2030 by lowering its emissions and cutting pollution.

“CleanBC is a B.C.-specific approach to making our communities strong and vibrant for decades to come as we rise to the challenge of global climate change,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“We can build a low-carbon economy that includes all sectors and all workers. Together, we can protect our children’s future, while making life more affordable today.”

As part of the strategy, the government is developing a CleanBC labour readiness plan to address the labour and workplace opportunities that emerge through the implementation of CleanBC.

The government says the plan shows and quantifies measures that will eliminate 18.9 Mt of its 2030 target. Remaining reduction initiatives will be quantified over the next 18 to 24 months.

CleanBC drew praise from a variety of business leaders.

Aaron Sutherland, vice president for the Pacific region, Insurance Bureau of Canada, says climate change is a clear and present danger that increasingly affects British Columbians and all Canadians.

“Insured losses due to extreme weather now exceed $1 billion annually across the country and, as evidenced by the impact that floods and wildfires had across the province this year, B.C. is not immune to these trends,” he said in a release.

“IBC commends the government for today’s renewed commitment to climate action and looks forward to B.C.’s renewed climate adaptation strategy in 2019.”

With half a million members, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union.

“Our members care deeply about environmental sustainability and climate action. This climate plan will improve access to low carbon buildings and electric vehicles and rebates for home retrofits,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and chief executive officer.