A climate strategy that works is not simply a plan to reduce GHGs. It’s about transforming our current economy to a lower carbon economy. It’s about recognizing that there is a tremendous opportunity in embracing an economic future with lower GHG emissions – and a cost to be paid in keeping the status quo.  Green Energy Futures photo by David Dodge.

Renewed BC climate strategy will be integrated with other provincial strategies

By George Heyman

VICTORIA – I recently introduced the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Amendment Act, 2018, which will set new interim targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions on the way to reaching our goal of an 80 per cent reduction in GHG levels from 2007.

It’s an ambitious goal, especially considering, after a good start when the initial target was set in 2008, British Columbia has lagged behind in recent years. B.C.’s carbon pollution has risen four of the past five years.

We can and must do better.

A climate strategy that works is not simply a plan to reduce GHGs. It’s about transforming our current economy to a lower carbon economy. It’s about recognizing that there is a tremendous opportunity in embracing an economic future with lower GHG emissions – and a cost to be paid in keeping the status quo.

We know there is wide acceptance of the overwhelming evidence of human impact on climate. Our job as government is to develop legislation and policies that encourage change, while leveraging the economic opportunities that are attached to it. The success of our new climate strategy will be when awareness is aligned with actions that create jobs and opportunities for clean growth.

That’s why our renewed climate strategy will be integrated with other provincial strategies, like a new economic development strategy. It will launch new foundational actions across industry, transportation, and the built environment, to advance innovation, efficient use of clean energy, and export opportunities.

The new legislated targets have set the stage for the work that needs to be done to develop clear, actionable goals and milestones, as we reach for a low-carbon economy.

In the coming months, we will consult with British Columbians as we move toward our new climate strategy. Your input and advice will inform and shape our actions. It will become a crucial piece of B.C.’s overall plan to ensure that we become more energy efficient, make life more affordable, and invest in innovation and new technologies, so all of B.C.’s industry sectors become clean-economy leaders, remain profitable and provide good jobs throughout our province.

British Columbians are poised to show the world how we can and will do better on climate action and economic prosperity. Our legislation outlines our intent – and our actions and plans in the coming months will give it life.

George Heyman is the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in the British Columbia Government.