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B.C. B.C. Environment Minister sees similarities in federal Climate Plan

B.C. B.C. Environment Minister sees similarities in federal Climate Plan

The federal climate program provides more details on how Ottawa will achieve its recent UN climate conference greenhouse-gas commitments

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented Tuesday a federal climate strategy that is in line the B.C.’s emissions-reduction ambitions, but without some of the more aggressive targets of switching to zero emission vehicles.

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Tom Gunton, a Simon Fraser University resource specialist, stated that the 2030 targets are basically the same. While the B.C. plan required a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the federal plan required a 45 percent cut.

Gunton said that the provincial (plan), unlike the federal, has statutory obligations to adhere to zero-emission vehicle mandates.

The plan was unveiled by Trudeau at Vancouver’s GLOBE 2022 conference on environment and business. It was also presented in Parliament by Steven Guilbeault, Environment Minister. This was a government-detailed explanation of how it will meet the UN climate summits commitments in Paris and Glasgow.

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The strategy uses economics and emissions modeling to determine the most affordable and feasible projects to help Canada reach its goal of reducing emissions to 60 percent by 2030.

This means that Canada’s oil and gas industry must reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 42% from their current levels by 2030 to meet its new targets. However, Ottawa promised a tax credit in order to encourage the adoption of new carbon-capture or sequestration projects.

The federal plan looks a lot like B.C.’s plan. The federal plan is modeled on the B.C. plan by George Heyman, Minister of Environment. It also mirrors B.C.’s multi-sector approach.

Heyman stated that today’s federal government made a significant step and was looking forward to further discussions about the details, especially regarding the support they would like to offer British Columbia.

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The federal plan, which includes $9.1billion in spending to support workers’ exit from the oil and natural gas sector, is a topic of conversation. Heyman stated that this part of the Ottawa plan seems to exclude B.C. Yet, this province is home to the country’s largest natural gas industry.

We all know the importance of transition in these sectors for workers and for communities. Heyman said that.

Some climate advocates praised the plan, including Clean Energy Canadas MerranSmith, who called it great for Canada. It takes government from high-level promises to a plan which is ambitious and achievable.

This plan will benefit Canadian industries. It (it) sets clear goals, you know that the oil and gas industry has to reduce carbon pollution by 42%, Smith stated. It has milestones, so we won’t have to wait until 2029 before we can see if we are on track.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with B.C. Premier John Horgan during a break from the GLOBE Forum at the Convention Centre in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Premier Justin Trudeau meets with B.C. Premier John Horgan, during a break from GLOBE Forum at Vancouver Convention Centre, B.C. on Tuesday, March 29, 20,22. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito /PNG

Smith said that details about when policies will be enacted are missing, such as specific dates for the oil and natural gas industry to reduce their emissions.

Gunton stated that it still has major, significant gaps. They have targets, but they don’t have the legal framework to ensure that zero-emission vehicle targets can be met. They have no plan for electrifying and decarbonizing heavy-duty vehicles.

The consultation process for elements of this plan is anticipated by industry, Terry Abel, executive Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it in a statement.

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Abel maintained that Canada’s liquefied gas export sector, which includes LNG Canada, which is currently being constructed at Kitimat in Canada, is one the most important contributions Canada can make to lowering global emissions of greenhouse gases.

This contention is irritating for climate advocates, who want to see clearer commitments to reduce fossil fuel use.

B.C. said that the plan is not climate-emergency planning. Green Leader Sonia Furstenau.

Trudeaus plan has some good points, such as nature-based solutions to climate change, but we must be serious about acknowledging that climate change is undermining global security, food security, and water security, Furstenau stated.

Furstenau said that we are well past the point where we can rely on technology to keep us going. In an emergency, this is not what you do.

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West Coast Environmental Law believes that the climate plan contains unequal reductions across sectors, especially in oil and natural gas.

Andrew Gage, a staff lawyer, stated that it is alarming to see the Emissions Reductions Plan predicting that emissions from the oilsands will rise and that plane travel will increase. Not only is this alarming, but the government is also banking too heavily on unproven and costly technologies like carbon capture or storage.

Files from The Canadian Press, Bloomberg

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