From 2007 to 2010, B.C. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4.5 per cent or 2.9 million tonnes, which is the equivalent to eliminating emissions from all the homes in Metro Vancouver (almost three million), Environment Minister Terry Lake announced as he tabled 'Making Progress on BC's Climate Action Plan' and the 'BC Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report 2010'.
"The success we've achieved to date is like taking one million cars and their emissions off the road and is a testament to choices being made by British Columbians every day to reduce the amount of fuel they use and to power their businesses with cleaner energy," said Lake.
B.C. achieved GHG reductions of 4.4 per cent at the same time as achieving GDP and population growth above the Canadian average between 2007 and 2011. At the same time, B.C.'s green business opportunities are providing 117,160 direct jobs and B.C.'s clean tech sector sales growth was 48 per cent over the is period.
"Human actions are changing the global climate, presenting an urgent challenge that B.C. is addressing with strong leadership," said Tom Pedersen, director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. "This report shows that with strong, smart policies like those now in place in B.C., emissions can be reduced in parallel with strong economic performance."
Also noted in the report is a reduction in B.C. sales of the main types of fossil fuels (natural gas, diesel, motor gas and light fuel oil) since 2007, and in each case by a greater degree than the rest of Canada.
While data remains limited, making it premature to directly attribute lower fuel use results to climate change policies, B.C.'s experience so far is exceptional in Canada and could be the result of increased efficiency, switching to other fuels like electricity, and North America's most comprehensive, revenue neutral carbon tax. The tax is designed to work with other policies to promote energy efficiency, behaviour changes and the adoption of new clean technologies.
"B.C. has created a policy regime that is moving us in the right direction to meet our targets," said Nancy Olewiler, economist at Simon Fraser University. "This report shows that B.C.'s climate action policies are working and that economic growth can happen in concert with environmental responsibility."
The progress report covers the period from 2007 to 2010, and is a legally required update on BC's greenhouse gas emission levels and progress made toward its targets.
New policies complementary to the Climate Action Plan include:
- The Clean Energy Vehicle Program provides incentives for eligible clean energy vehicles and supports charging point deployment.
- Financing options for energy efficiency retrofits in buildings.
- Proposed energy-efficiency programs for industry.
- Various offset protocols, including the Forest Carbon Offset Protocol.
- Building code updates will continue to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
- The Northwest Transmission Line will support electrification of B.C.'s mines.
- The GHG Reduction Clean Energy Regulation allows utilities to provide incentives for natural gas buses, trucks and ferries.
- The Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative (COAC) reduces emissions in heavy duty truck fleets.
Both Making Progress and the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report 2010 can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cas/2012-update.html
The Climate Action Plan can be found at: http://www.livesmartbc.ca/attachments/climateaction_plan_web.pdf
B.C.'s Green Economy Strategy can be found at http://www.bcge.ca/BCs_Green_Economy.pdf
BC Newsroom - Ministry of Environment: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/environment-1
Ministry of Environment