B.C. postsecondary students aim to persuade peers to vote for the climate on May 9

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      College and university students hope to make climate change a voting issue on campuses in the May 9 provincial election.

      Volunteers with a group called Young Climate Voters BC are trying to motivate students to go to the polls with the future of the planet on their minds.

      Only 47.9 percent of registered voters between 18 and 24 cast ballots in the 2013 provincial election.

      “We believe the real success of this campaign lies in using face-to-face conversation and social media tactics to create a social awareness of voting among young people,” Steph Glanzmann, coordinator of YCV, said in a news release.

      Meanwhile, West Coast Environmental Law recently gave letter grades to the three major parties on their climate-change plans.

      The B.C. Liberals received a "D" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to WCEL, the party's initiatives "will not reduce emissions until after 2030".

      The B.C. NDP received a "B" for its approach to greenhouse gas emissions.

      "It would result in reductions, although details need to be fleshed out," the WCEL report card states.

      The Greens received the highest mark, "A", because it's "clear on the need to achieve reductions and adopts key recommendations of the province's Climate Leadership Team as a means to doing so".

      With regard to complying with legal targets enacted by the B.C. legislature, the Greens also received an "A".

      "In terms of how these targets will be achieved the Green platform—at least until 2021—follows the Leadership Team's recommendations to increase the carbon tax by $10 per year," WCEL declares.

      The environmental group gave the B.C. NDP a B for its proposals for complying with legislated targets.

      Thats because it's proposing a new 2030 target of 40 percent reductions, as recommended by the Climate Leadership Team, and will reconvene the group to help figure out how to achieve this.

      "The NDP also takes the additional step (per the Leadership Team's recommendations) of creating new targets for different parts of the BC economy—transportation, industry and buildings/homes—which may assist in planning how to achieve the provincial targets," WCEL states.

      The B.C. Liberals were given an "F" for their approach to complying with the legal targets. While Christy Clark's party says it intends to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, it has not identified any path to reaching this goal.

      For a comprehensive analysis of the three main parties' climate-change and energy promises, check out this policy note by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior economist Marc Lee.

      "In summary, there are some real distinctions across the Liberal, NDP and Green platforms on climate and energy policy, but it can be challenging to cut through the rhetoric and get down to the specifics," Lee wrote in his concluding paragraph. "Hopefully, the campaign will spawn more debate about how BC can create jobs, increase efficiency and meet its climate targets."

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