Dear Premier Clark,
The Energy Forum is a collaboration of British Columbian power producers, industry associations, and non-government organizations that are working together to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the nexus of energy, climate and ecosystems. Our members continue to support an ambitious Climate Leadership Plan that transitions B.C.’s buildings, vehicles and industries away from fossil fuels to become increasingly energy efficient and reliant on renewable energy, while minimizing impact on the environment.1
With the successful Paris climate talks behind us, the Climate Leadership Plan is timely. Along with the overwhelming evidence of the social, economic and environmental threat posed by climate change, there is now growing commitment at all levels of government to solve the problem. The Climate Leadership Plan must be B.C.’s contribution to that emerging global solution and is the opportunity to reinvigorate actions that have stalled in recent years.
As the Climate Leadership Plan process moves into its next phase of development, we are encouraged by the creation of the new cabinet working group on climate leadership. Having a group of senior ministers dedicated to regularly working on the issue is a positive step that will help the government quickly transition from developing to implementing the Climate Leadership Plan.
We also wanted to share our perspectives on the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations to government. We are supportive of the package of recommendations proposed by the team and encourage government to implement all of them. Doing so will re-establish B.C. as a climate leader, ensure that carbon pollution starts dropping again and maintain a strong and diverse provincial economy. In particular:
- We agree with the team’s findings that B.C. should move ahead with strong climate policies to help address the climate crisis, and that in doing so the province can continue building a strong and diverse economy. B.C.’s positive economic performance under the Climate Action Plan provides solid evidence in support of this conclusion.
- We agree with the team’s recommended approach of building on the climate policy framework already in place. Policies such as the carbon tax, the clean electricity standard, the energy-efficient building code and the low-carbon fuel standard have proven successful environmentally and economically, and it makes sense to build on that foundation of success.
- We agree with the team’s recommended approach of moving ahead quickly on implementation and having most of the policies committed to with substantive progress made by the end of 2016. Moving forward in a timely manner will help get B.C. back on track, and it is also a critical opportunity to support global momentum following the positive agreement in Paris.
We are concerned that the stall in B.C.’s climate policy development since 2012 left the Climate Leadership Team in the position of being unable to produce recommendations that would get B.C. on track to its legislated 2020 target. We don’t want to see delayed action and missed targets become the dominant climate narrative in B.C. To help avoid this we are committed to continue working with government on the Climate Leadership Plan — both in terms of further developing policy ideas and building support for implementation.
Regarding policy development, our members have highlighted the following areas of interest:
- Filling in gaps in the transportation and buildings recommendations to ensure that the policy package in the final Climate Leadership Plan is adequate to meet the 2030 targets identified in the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations.
- Providing further detail on how the province can successfully implement the recommendations to increase the use of renewable energy in remote communities and on the integrated grid.
- Providing government with specific solutions on how competiveness for emissions- intensive, trade-exposed sectors can be maintained while increasing and expanding the carbon tax, and how to assess when such measures are necessary.
- Recommending approaches to minimize the local environmental impacts from the new renewable energy sources that will be needed as a result of the policies in the Climate Leadership Plan.
- Supporting opportunities to increase and expand the carbon tax sooner than recommended by the Climate Leadership Team (2018 and 2021 respectively).
- Ensuring that LNG and natural gas development do not undermine the province’s ability to meet medium and long-term climate targets.
- Providing further detail on the direct investment that the provincial government should be making in transportation choices that help British Columbians and B.C. businesses reduce their carbon pollution (e.g. transit, walking/cycling infrastructure, rapid electric vehicle charging, etc.).
- Recommending approaches to reduce B.C.’s reliance on imported electricity from coal and other fossil fuels.
- Recommending approaches to account for, and reduce, the carbon pollution associated with imported electricity.
Thank you again for continuing to advance the Climate Leadership Plan and for considering our perspectives. The plan offers a huge opportunity for the province to help contribute to global progress in the fight against climate change by demonstrating economic and environmental success stories close to home. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and/or members of the cabinet working group on climate leadership during the consultation currently underway.
Associate Director, BC, Pembina Institute
Executive Director, Clean Energy BC
On behalf of all members of the Energy Forum:
Alterra Power Corp
Clean Energy BC
Chinook Power Corp.
Ecofish Research Ltd
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc
MK Ince & Associates
Sea Breeze Power Corp.
BC Sustainable Energy Association
Clean Energy Canada
David Suzuki Foundation
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
West Coast Environmental Law
Environment Minister Mary Polak
Finance Minister Mike de Jong
Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister Shirley Bond
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone
Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender
Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman