Earth Day is a time for us to think hard about what kind of world we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.
Tackling climate change, in a real way, is the most important, and perhaps most challenging issue facing governments around the globe. I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful changes that will not only improve the quality of life for British Columbians, but also grow an economy that’s stronger, cleaner, more diverse and more resilient.
It all starts with a meaningful climate strategy: one that’s clear, credible and achievable. From 2008 to 2011, British Columbians made some initial reductions in greenhouse gases, but that positive start was regrettably short-lived. B.C.’s carbon pollution has actually risen four of the past five years. We can, and must, do better.
Work is already underway on our new climate strategy, expected to be released in the fall, thanks to the hard work of environment staff and our new Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council. The council is supporting government’s goal of reducing carbon pollution, and helping people and industry reduce their carbon footprints while we grow a sustainable economy and seize new and lasting economic opportunity.
Our climate strategy will remove barriers and make it attractive, easy and affordable for people to move to a lower-carbon lifestyle in all aspects of our lives.
Imagine a B.C. with less air pollution because there are more low- and zero-emission vehicles on our roads, with charging stations as plentiful as gas stations are today. Imagine a B.C. with more efficient and effective public transit – reducing congestion, while making daily life more comfortable and healthy. These actions will improve the lives of British Columbians.
Let’s make it easier for people and families to easily retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. Let’s take action to minimize food waste, and prevent it from ending up in landfills where it will release harmful methane. These are all real, practical solutions our government is working on to both save you money, and lower emissions.
With sensible carbon pricing, we’ll not only create good jobs through a vibrant clean-tech sector, but we’ll also be supporting B.C.’s traditional resource-based industries to use the greenest technology available. Imagine a B.C with competitive industries reducing their emissions, encouraging a cutting-edge, low-carbon economy that produces jobs and economic growth.
Moving toward a low-carbon economy is filled with possibilities, but we must be clear in our thinking. New technologies, reduced dependence on fossil fuels and a massive infusion of clean energy will benefit not only our economy, but our daily lives as well.
As we embrace a cleaner, healthier B.C., I look forward to directly engaging British Columbians with our ideas and proposals. In the coming months, B.C. residents will have an opportunity to help shape B.C.’s climate strategy. I encourage everyone to be a part of the process, as we all have a stake in a cleaner future.