Office of the Premier

B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan to cut emissions while growing the economy

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Office of the Premier

B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan to cut emissions while growing the economy

Contacts
Karen van Marum
Province of British Columbia
Media Relations
250 889-3664
Ministry of Environment
Media Relations
250 953-3834
(flickr.com)
Contacts
Karen van Marum
Province of British Columbia
Media Relations
250 889-3664
Ministry of Environment
Media Relations
250 953-3834

Backgrounders

B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan at a glance

B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan identifies key areas where British Columbia can take action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The initial 21 actions will collectively reduce net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050. Further actions will be announced over the coming year after the federal government releases their Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

With today’s announcement, the Province has addressed 18 of the Climate Leadership Team’s 32 recommendations. Government will continue to work on addressing further recommendations through the Pan Canadian Framework and other processes.

As recommended by the CLT, the Province reaffirms its legislated 2050 target of achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of 80% below 2007 levels.

NATURAL GAS

1. Launching a strategy to reduce methane emissions

  • Strategy targeting extraction and processing emissions (referred to as upstream in the natural gas sector), including:
    • Legacy phase, targeting a 45% reduction by 2025 in fugitive and vented emissions in infrastructure built before January 1, 2015;
    • Transition phase, including incentives through a new offset protocol to encourage further innovative projects and a Clean Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program for all applications built between 2015 and 2018; and
    • Future phase, implementing standards to guide developments of projects after the transition phase, where leak detection and repair will be mandatory and protocols developed to align with other jurisdictions.

The CLT recommended reducing fugitive and vented methane emissions by 40% within five years, and recommended regulating leak detection and repair programs

2. Regulating carbon capture and storage projects

Carbon capture and storage projects will be able to proceed upon the completion of regulatory policy work. 

3. The B.C. government is in dialogue with the federal government to provide the necessary capital to develop the required infrastructure

Programs are also being developed to close the gap between electricity and natural gas costs. Construction of this infrastructure will begin once LNG companies make their final investment decisions.

The CLT recommended a strategy to supply the clean electricity required to facilitate electrification of upstream natural gas, LNG, and associated infrastructure. 

TRANSPORTATION

4. Increasing the Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The B.C. government is increasing B.C.’s low-carbon fuel standard to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 15% by 2030. The current standard requires a carbon intensity reduction of 10% by 2020, compared to 2010.

The CLT recommended increasing the low carbon fuel standard to 20% by 2030.

5. Incentives for using renewable natural gas

New utility incentives will encourage emission reductions in B.C.’s transportation sector by promoting renewable natural gas for use in commercial fleets, as well as expanding fuelling infrastructure. B.C. will be amending the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation to allow utilities to double the total pool of incentives available to convert commercial fleets to natural gas when the new incentives go towards vehicles using 100% renewable natural gas.

The CLT recommended enhancing incentives and infrastructure necessary to support both increased commercial transportation efficiency and natural gas/propane conversions in the commercial transport sector, including marine.

6. Incentives for purchasing a clean energy vehicle

The Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) program is being expanded to support new vehicle incentives and infrastructure, as well as education and economic development initiatives. The CEV program is designed to encourage the use of zero emission vehicles throughout the province by increasing point-of-sale incentives for eligible vehicles. These incentives can be combined with B.C.’s SCRAP-IT program to get older, higher emission vehicles off the road.

The CLT recommended Zero Emission Vehicle targets for the sale of new light duty vehicles.

7. Supporting vehicle charging development for zero emission vehicles

The B.C. government is expanding support for the development of electric vehicle charging stations in buildings across the province by:

  • Developing regulations to allow local governments to require new buildings to install adequate infrastructure to support electric vehicle charging; and
  • Developing policies to facilitate installing electric vehicle charging stations in strata buildings and developments.

8. 10-year plan to improve B.C.’s transportation network

B.C. on the Move is government’s 10-year plan to improve the transportation network throughout the province. It includes actions that will help drive GHG reductions in a number of areas such as:

  • Transitioning to low carbon fuels in our transportation sector by:
    • Increasing the number of BC Transit compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and fuelling stations; and
    • BC Ferries is investing in three new vessels and conversion of two large ships to dual fuel capable ferries that can run on either liquefied natural gas or ultra-low sulphur diesel.
  • Expanding transit by:
    • Supporting the construction of a new Broadway SkyTrain line in Vancouver; and
    • Developing rapid transit in Surrey.
  • Reducing congestion by:
    • Replacing the George Massey Tunnel to reduce idling; and
    • Optimizing movement through Canada’s Pacific Gateway.

The CLT recommended a low-carbon transportation strategy for transitioning the sector to emit 30% less GHGs by 2030. The CLT also recommended support for increased use of public transit.

FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURE

9. Enhancing the carbon storage potential of B.C.’s forests

The new Forest Carbon Initiative builds on existing forest management programs by increasing tree replanting over an area up to 300,000 hectares over the next five years, increasing stand densities and fibre recovery. This initiative removes greenhouse gases and increases carbon sequestration by rehabilitating forests that are under productive, increasing fibre use and avoiding emissions from burning slash. It will focus specifically on Mountain Pine Beetle and wildfire impacted sites.

The CLT recommended updates to the current forest policy and regulation to increase carbon sequestration.

10. Developing a nutrient management program to reduce emissions

The Nutrient Management Program is being developed to reduce fertilizer use and GHG emissions – accounting for a nearly 100,000 tonne reduction of annual GHG emissions. This program will include:

  • Expanding trials to develop and demonstrate nutrient management best practices to the agriculture industry;
  • Increasing funding to the sector to implement beneficial management practices that promote better nutrient management and further reductions in GHG emissions; and
  • Improving monitoring of nutrient management benefits and developing longer term performance indicators to measure their success.

The CLT recommended a task force be created to review and update carbon management best practices for the agriculture sector.

INDUSTRY AND FACILITIES

11. Making B.C.’s electricity 100% renewable or clean

100% of the electricity acquired by BC Hydro on the integrated grid must now be from renewable or clean sources, except where concerns regarding reliability or costs must be addressed.

Government and BC Hydro will work closely with the independent power sector to develop cost effective, renewable and clean sources of energy and capacity as needed.

The CLT recommended 100% of the province’s electricity be generated by renewable or clean resources by 2025 – an increase from the 93% requirement, with allowance for natural gas generation for reliability.

12. Efficient electrification

The Province is working with BC Hydro to expand the mandates of their demand-side management (DSM) programs to include investments that increase efficiency and reduce GHG emissions and develop a new DSM target for BC Hydro.

BC Hydro is on track to exceed the current Clean Energy Act target to meet at least 66% of incremental demand through conservation by 2020. Government has asked BC Hydro to begin consultations on a new long-term target, post-2020 that recognizes its expanded mandate to invest in initiatives that reduce GHG emissions.

The CLT recommended programs that encourage retrofits that reduced GHG emissions and encourage energy efficiency in existing buildings.

13. Fuelling marine vessels with cleaner burning LNG

Recent amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation will allow utilities to provide further incentives for the marine, mining and remote industrial power generation sectors. It is expected that by 2022 there will be an additional reduction of at least 300,000 tonnes of annual GHG emissions.

The CLT recommended enhancing incentives and infrastructure necessary to support both increased commercial transportation efficiency and natural gas/propane conversions in the commercial transport sector, including marine.

14. New energy efficiency standards for gas fired boilers

New regulations will be implemented by 2020 that will set out energy efficiency standards for large gas-fired package boilers, driving down the amount of emissions produced across a number of industries.

The CLT recommended programs that encourage retrofits that reduce GHG emissions and encourage energy efficiency in existing buildings.

15. Expanding incentives to promote adoption of efficient gas equipment

FortisBC will be able to expand their incentives by at least 100%, to encourage further adoption of technologies that reduce the emissions from gas fired equipment.

The CLT recommended programs that encourage retrofits that reduce GHG emissions and encourage energy efficiency in existing buildings.

COMMUNITIES AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT

16. Regulations for more energy efficient buildings

Amendments are being made to the energy efficiency standards regulation to include:

  • Increased efficiency requirements for gas fireplaces and air source heat pumps – effective in 2018; and
  • High-efficiency technology requirements for natural gas space and water heating equipment – effective in 2020 and 2025 respectively.

The CLT recommended a buildings strategy that by 2030 would reduce GHG emissions from the sector by 50%.

17. Encouraging development of net zero buildings

The B.C. government is implementing a number of policies to encourage the development of net zero buildings, including:

  • Accelerating increased energy requirements in the BC Building Code by taking incremental steps to make buildings ready to be net zero by 2032;
  • Developing energy efficiency requirements for new buildings that go beyond those in the BC Building Code, called Stretch Codes, that interested local governments could implement in their communities; and
  • Creating innovation opportunities and financial incentives for advanced, energy-efficient buildings, including an increase in funding for design and innovation.

The CLT recommended a buildings strategy that by 2030 would reduce GHG emissions from the sector by 50%.

18. Refreshing the Climate Action Charter for communities

Actions under B.C.’s Climate Action Charter are being updated to continue to make progress on carbon neutrality, as well as complete, compact and energy efficient communities. The plan will:

  • Focus growth near major transit corridors for large urban communities;
  • Increase the use of decision support tools that provide information needed to create more resilient green infrastructure; and
  • Strengthen the ability of communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The CLT recommended an update to the charter to better align provincial and community goals.

19. Creating a strategy to turn waste into resources

The waste-to-resource strategy will reduce the waste sent to landfills. The strategy will also include:

  • Establishing an organics diversion from landfills target of 90% and a food waste prevention target of 30%.
  • Supporting materials exchange pilot projects that create innovative uses for waste products.

The CLT recommended the creation of a waste-to-resource strategy that reduces GHG emissions from organic waste.

PUBLIC SECTOR LEADERSHIP 

20. Promoting use of low carbon and renewable materials in infrastructure

Policies are being developed to increase the use of low carbon and renewable materials in all public sector infrastructure. This includes:

  • Approving use of Portland Limestone Cement. This material reduces GHG emissions associated with existing cement manufacturing by approximately 10%, while producing concrete with similar strength and durability. This cement has been popular in Europe for over 25 years now, but is new to Canada.
  • Increasing use of B.C. wood products that store carbon and reduce emissions, through B.C.’s Wood First program.

The CLT recommended all new public sector buildings increase the use of materials that sequester carbon.

21. Reducing emissions and planning for adaptation in the public sector

The Province is committing to:

  • Develop guidelines for public sector operations to reduce emissions and plan for climate change adaptation; and
  • Mandate the creation of 10-year emissions reduction and adaptation plans for provincial public sector operations.

The CLT recommended these areas as clear priorities for public sector leadership.

What is being said about B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan

Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington –

“As a partner in the Pacific Coast Collaborative, I am pleased to see that British Columbia has proven to the world that we can both drive down carbon pollution and grow jobs at the same time. This new plan is comprehensive and visionary, with all sectors of their economy focused on the investments and actions required to meet their environmental and economic targets and I applaud Premier Christy Clark’s leadership.”

Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon –

“The landmark carbon tax legislation passed in British Columbia in 2008, and the province’s continued commitment to climate action, has proven to be effective in reducing greenhouse gas pollution, while B.C.’s economy continues to flourish.” 

Jerry Brown, Governor of California –

“Cities, states and provinces must continue to lead on climate and today's announcement from British Columbia is impressive and very encouraging.”

Doug Stout, VP market development and external relations, FortisBC –

“Natural gas is a clean and affordable energy choice for British Columbians; from space and water heating and cooking for homes and businesses, to new markets such as the transportation sector. Through the Climate Leadership Plan, the Province is paving the way for more heavy duty trucks, buses, marine vessels and communities to transition to this cleaner fuel. This helps to reduce both emissions and costs for British Columbians. Furthermore, by leading the development of an export market for B.C. LNG, the Province is helping to reduce GHG emissions on a global scale.” 

Nancy Olewiler, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University and member of the Climate Leadership Team –

“These are positive first steps and I am pleased to see B.C. take measures to further reduce GHGs and urge other provinces to match its carbon price.”

Wayne Clogg, board chair, Forest Enhancement Society –

“The potential of our forests to reduce atmospheric carbon has long been recognized. For the Forest Enhancement Society, which has a mandate to improve the stewardship of public forests in B.C., it is exciting to work in partnership with the Province to enhance the carbon storing potential of our province’s forests.”

Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) –

“CAPP worked with the government of British Columbia and we are pleased to see today’s announcement on key elements of their climate plan. We will continue to work with government on future elements of the climate plan as they are developed. It is important to collaborate on issues that strengthen Canada’s energy future and advance our efforts to innovate and compete globally; not only on costs but on safety and environmental performance too. The natural gas industry operates safely in B.C., directly employing 12,000 people and is a significant contributor to public and government revenues. Through technological innovation and programs directed at reducing emissions, B.C. has an opportunity to be a competitive supplier of choice in meeting growing global energy demand.”

Ric Slaco, vice president and chief forester, Interfor –

“B.C.’s forest sector can play a key role in the Climate Leadership Plan. Our industry welcomes the opportunity to work with government to advance the benefits of sustainable forest management and the use of wood products to meet our climate goals.”

David C. Adams, president, Global Automakers of Canada –

“The Global Automakers of Canada welcomes British Columbia's Climate Leadership Plan. We share the goal of the government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light duty transportation and support the measures outlined in the plan to increase consumer demand and acceptance for lower carbon producing vehicles and fuels.”

Dr. James Tansey, associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, founder of NatureBank Asset Management and member of B.C’s Climate Leadership Team –

“The Climate Leadership Plan contains actions that ensure the province will maintain a position of leadership for the coming years as creates a robust regulatory framework to manage increased emissions from LNG production. In addition, the strong focus on enhancing storage in the province’s forests builds on world class initiatives like the Great Bear Rainforest, which was the result of a partnership between First Nations and private sector companies like NatureBank.”

Mike Wilson, executive director, Sustainable Prosperity –

“This first part of B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan is comprehensive, and will deliver 35% of the emission reductions required to meet the legislated 2050 target. This leaves a significant task to the next set of initiatives from B.C., the carbon price in particular. I look forward to seeing these after the Pan Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Clean Growth is complete the fall.”

Daryl Wilson, chairman of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association –

“The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association is pleased to see continued British Columbia government support for Canada’s leading zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell technology, and for showing leadership on environmental stewardship through its Climate Leadership Plan.”

Richard Dunn, Encana vice president, government relations –

“The climate plan demonstrates the provincial government understands that being a leader in responsible energy development and climate leadership are closely connected. The plan encourages innovation and sets goals that will meaningfully reduce emissions while supporting a competitive and stable business environment, creating jobs and ensuring the continued provision of reliable and affordable energy in British Columbia.”

James Gorman, vice president, corporate and government relations, West Fraser –

“I am pleased to see recommendations from the Climate Leadership Team and feedback from government’s broad public consultation reflected in the Plan. The plan effectively balances innovative measures that will allow our province to meet its GHG reduction targets while safeguarding the competitiveness of B.C. industry.”

Blair Qualey, president and CEO, New Car Dealers Association of BC –

“The New Car Dealers Association of BC applauds the Government of British Columbia’s balanced approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building on effective initiatives such as its clean energy vehicle incentive programs. Programs like CEVforBC and BC SCRAP-IT have helped B.C. become a national leader in clean energy vehicle usage, and all of us in the industry, including dealers, vehicle manufacturers and other key partners, look forward to working with the Province over the coming years to further maximize the effectiveness of these smart investments.”

Thomas Mueller, president and CEO, Canada Green Building Council

“The Canada Green Building Council is pleased that the B.C. government is continuing its leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by targeting public sector buildings, promoting the use of low carbon and renewable materials in construction, and driving innovation by developing policies toward net zero buildings. Improving building energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective and readily available solution to reducing emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs for British Columbians.”

Bill Tam, president and CEO, BC Technology Industry Association –

“The Climate Leadership Plan is an important milestone in furthering the foundation that B.C. established back in 2008. We look forward to working with the province to encourage expanded investments in clean technologies and support the growth of the more than 200 cleantech companies in the province.”

Brock Macdonald, CEO, Recycling Council of British Columbia –

“I’m encouraged by a number of circular economy elements within the plan. I’m particularly interested in those that address rethinking waste as a resource, and materials-exchange programs that help provide innovative solutions to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas footprint and promote sustainable enterprise.”

Mark Nantais, president, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association –

“Under this Plan, the expansion of the clean energy vehicle incentives, added incentives to get older vehicles of the road and by making recharging stations more readily accessible, consumers will feel much more confident and comfortable making their decision to purchase an electric vehicle when it comes to their personal transportation needs. These policies and options for appropriate low carbon fuels will contribute significantly to greenhouse gas reductions in the transportation sector.”

Michael McSweeney, president and CEO, Cement Association of Canada –

“With today’s release of the B.C. Climate Action Plan, the Province of British Columbia has laid out a framework to work collaboratively with individuals, local governments, business and industry in finding ways to address Climate Change. The cement industry in British Columbia is a leader in innovation. Its development and use of a lower greenhouse gas intensity cement called Contempra reduces GHG emissions by 10%. This is just one example of our industry’s commitment to addressing climate change, and we look forward to engaging the province in keeping our industry competitive while fostering further innovation to lower our environmental footprint.”

Dennis Rogoza, CEO, SCRAP-IT –

“The SCRAP-IT program is pleased to endorse the B.C. government’s strong climate change plan. Personal transportation is a challenging area in which to achieve GHG emission reductions. Scraping older vehicles and replacing them with EV’s and other new clean vehicle technologies is a key part of achieving the province’s climate objectives.”

Stan Vander Waal, chair, British Columbia Agriculture Council –

“B.C. farmers and ranchers are already facing our changing climate with conditions like erratic weather patterns and earlier, faster spring runoff. Provincial and federal support for the Environmental Farm Plan Program and the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative are helping farmers make changes that reduce emissions and adapt to changing conditions. Today’s announcement builds on these activities and will helps us continue to grow the high quality food B.C. residents expect.”

Bruce Stout, president, Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association –

“We are pleased to see that the B.C. government has recognized the importance of moving our transportation system to electrical power. We look forward to the government plans for the coming year to enhance its existing programs and implement policies to enable new charging infrastructure.”

Peter Milobar, mayor, City of Kamloops –

“A balanced climate plan calls on all sectors to find innovate actions to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. B.C.’s new Climate Leadership Plan will create jobs and bring about important changes needed to get us to our 2050 emission reduction target. Everyone has a part to play in building a cleaner future.”

Adrian Corless, CEO, Carbon Engineering –

“Carbon Engineering is proud to support B.C. in its climate leadership process. We are grateful for the support provided by the BC Innovative Clean Energy Fund which will enable our development of technologies that deliver high volumes of next generation ultra-low carbon intensity synthetic fuels.  By fostering the development and deployment of innovative low carbon fuels, B.C. can cut domestic emissions and also stands to gain by exporting transformative technology to global markets as the world makes the deep cuts to GHG emissions that are necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.”

Jessica McDonald, president and CEO, BC Hydro –

“Last year, the electricity generated by BC Hydro was 98% clean – the highest level we’ve ever achieved. Other jurisdictions are spending significant dollars to catch up to where B.C. is today. We’re building on this clean energy advantage by focusing on 100% clean energy resources to meet new demand and by exploring new partnerships with our customers to help them make investments in low carbon electrification to reduce their emissions.”

David Marshall, executive director, Fraser Basin Council

“The Fraser Basin Council believes sustainable transportation is of high importance. We are pleased to see that transportation is a key focus for greenhouse gas reductions in the new Climate Leadership Plan and that the Province of B.C. is confirming its commitment to a clean energy grid and to more widespread use of electric vehicles and other emerging technologies. By making a transition to electric vehicles, B.C. drivers can slash their transportation emissions by up to 90% or more, so a wide uptake of these vehicles by individuals and fleets would have a dramatic impact on our collective carbon footprint.”

Al Richmond, president, Union of B.C. Municipalities –

“UBCM is pleased to see that the Province has recognized climate action as a key issue that requires an integrated partnership approach. We look forward to working with the Province on supporting continued local government leadership by giving them the flexibility, tools and resources to take action in their own communities.”

Karina Briño, president and CEO, Mining Association of B.C. –

“MABC is pleased to see government’s commitment to protect the competitiveness of B.C’s trade exposed industries, like mining, and the tens of thousands of British Columbians that depend on this industry to support their families B.C.’s mining industry products play a critical role in contributing to Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy – from the copper used in electric cars to the steelmaking coal required to build public transit infrastructure and wind turbines. The mining industry in B.C. looks forward to continuing to play a pivotal leadership role in Canada’s low-carbon future.”

Shirley Vickers, BC Innovation Council, president and CEO –  

“This plan presents a massive opportunity for the province of British Columbia. Technological innovation will be a critical part of B.C. achieving its environmental objectives, and we have world-class companies already building innovative, green technologies in multiple sectors. Whether it’s Saltworks’ desalination and wastewater treatment solutions; Syscor Controls and Automation’s environmentally-friendly pipeline storage monitors; or Hydra Energy’s hydrogen fuel systems, innovation in B.C. is transcending industries and positioning us as a world-leader in clean energy solutions. To support government’s vision for B.C. as a leader in addressing the global climate reality, BC Innovation Council will leverage all of its resources – our unique access to technology developers in multiple industries, strong regional networks and partnerships in communities throughout the province – to not only drive the growth of green technologies, but also generate economic growth in B.C.”

Job creation and GHG reduction in B.C.’s key sectors

B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan is leading to the creation of up to 66,000 green jobs over the next ten years, and reducing net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) below current forecasts by 2050.

Twenty-five million tonnes CO2e is equal to 8.3 million new cars off the road for a year. An average B.C. house creates two tonnes CO2e per year. Therefore, 25 million tonnes CO2e is equal to the emissions from 12.5 million B.C. homes in one year.

Natural gas: As immediate actions within the plan, B.C. is launching a strategy to reduce methane emissions, regulating carbon capture and storage projects, and using electricity to power natural gas production and processing. These action items will create 4,043 jobs, $527 million in economic activity and will reduce GHG emissions by five million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Transportation: The Province is increasing the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, creating incentives for using renewable natural gas and making it easier for those looking to purchase a clean energy vehicle. Through the Climate Leadership Plan, the B.C. government is also supporting vehicle charging development for zero emission vehicles. These actions will create 41,525 jobs, $4,573 million in economic activity and will reduce GHG emissions by three million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Forestry and agriculture: The Province is enhancing the carbon storage potential of forests, as well as developing a nutrient management program to reduce emissions as part of the Climate Leadership Plan. These actions will create 19,942 jobs, $661 million in economic activity and will reduce GHG emissions by twelve million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Industry and utilities: B.C. is making the province’s electricity 100% renewable or clean and fuelling marine vessels with cleaner burning LNG. Creating new, energy efficiency standards for gas fired boilers and expanding incentives to promote adoption of efficient gas equipment are all parts of the plan. These actions will create 554 jobs, $53 million in economic activity and will reduce GHG emissions by two million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Built environment: The B.C. government is refreshing the Climate Action Charter for communities, encouraging development of net zero buildings, creating a strategy to turn waste into resources, and introducing regulations for more energy efficient buildings. These actions will create 230 jobs, $19 million in economic activity and will reduce GHG emissions by two million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Public sector leadership: Through the Climate Leadership Plan, the Province is promoting use of low carbon and renewable materials in infrastructure and reducing emissions and planning for adaptation in the public sector. These actions will create three jobs and reduce GHG emissions by one million tonnes CO2e by 2050.

Actions taken since B.C.’s Climate Action Plan of 2008

In 2008, B.C. introduced 71 new ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to grow the province’s economy in the Climate Action Plan. By the end of 2012, all of these actions were complete or underway – including more than $1 billion in climate action programs and tax incentives to encourage cleaner choices.

The Province went beyond the actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan and became an international leader in the fight against climate change. Below is a timeline of actions taken since the Climate Action Plan:

2009

  • Northwest Transmission Line Project
    This throne speech commitment to extend transmission capacity along Highway 37 to open mining and renewable energy opportunities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is complete.
  • Wood First Building Policy
    The Wood First Act requires all public buildings to use wood as their default building material inside and out to demonstrate the durable, cost-effective and climate friendly attributes of B.C. wood products.
  • Building Code amendment
    The height limit for wood framed buildings increased from four to six stories to encourage the use of wood.
  • Carbon offset protocols
    Protocols under the Emission Offset Regulation support were introduced to create high quality, verifiable offset projects in several sectors (forestry, buildings, oil and gas, renewable energy, transportation, waste management).
    In January 2016, carbon offset protocols established under the Emission Offset Regulation transitioned to the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, creating one single standard of B.C.’s offsets.

2010

  • Introduction of the B.C. Adaptation Strategy
    B.C.’s Adaptation Strategy is a three-part strategy to help the province prepare for and adapt to climate change impacts.
     
  • Clean Energy Act
    Introduced in 2010, B.C.’s Clean Energy Act requires at least 93% of the province’s electricity be generated by clean or renewable resources. In fiscal 2016, 98% of the electricity in BC Hydro’s generation portfolio was renewable or clean. The Clean Energy Act also requires that by 2020, at least 66% of BC Hydro’s incremental power demand must be met through conservation and efficiency improvements.
  • First Nations Clean Energy Fund
    Agreements between B.C. and eligible First Nations are created for capacity, energy efficiency, equity and revenue sharing to promote increased First Nation participation in the clean energy sector, within their asserted traditional territories and treaty areas. The Clean Energy Act enabled the creation of the First Nation Clean Energy Business Fund.
     
  • Low carbon fuel requirements
    B.C. and California were the first to implement low carbon fuel standards in 2010.
    B.C.’s low carbon fuel standard requires fuel suppliers to reduce the average lifecycle carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% by 2020. The standard is phased in, increasing annually to 10% by 2020. The regulation also requires 5% annual average renewable content in gasoline, and 4% renewable content in diesel.
    The regulation reduces British Columbia's reliance on non-renewable fuels, helps reduce the environmental impact of transportation fuels, and contributes to a new, low-carbon economy.
  • Routine Flaring
    The BC Energy Plan’s target of eliminating all routine associated gas flaring was achieved.

2011

  • Launch of B.C.’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program
    Since 2011, the B.C. government has committed more than $31 million to encourage British Columbians to choose clean vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Energy Vehicle Program.
    The Province now has the highest per capita adoption of electric vehicles in Canada.
    The program’s point-of-sale purchase incentives – along with investments in infrastructure, outreach, research and training have helped put over 2,600 electric vehicles on the road in B.C. This work has supported the development of over 1,100 charging stations throughout the province.
    B.C. now has over 4,300 battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered in the province.
  • Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation
    The introduction of this regulation, which was updated in 2013, encourages local governments to require new single family homes be built to accommodate future installation of solar hot water systems. To date, 48 local governments have adopted this voluntary requirement.

2012

  • Carbon Neutral Capital Program
    Established in 2012, the Province’s Carbon Neutral Capital Program has allocated $50 million to be used over five years to help schools, hospitals, colleges and universities with projects and initiatives to cut carbon emissions and energy costs.
    Government’s carbon neutral capital investments increase capacity, support proof-of-concept projects, spur the development and adoption of clean technology and turn energy savings into cost savings that can be reinvested in public services such as health care and education.
  • Forest Stewardship Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation
    The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has developed a management approach ensuring forests remain healthy, resilient and productive in a changing climate.
  • Clean Energy Act: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation
    This regulation, which falls under the Clean Energy Act, allows natural gas utilities to make investments in prescribed undertakings to provide incentives for compressed and liquefied natural conversions and fuelling infrastructure that reduce GHG emissions in the heavy duty transportation sector.
  • First Nations Energy Efficiency Program
    Developed by BC Hydro and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, this program supported energy efficiency standards and measures in both new and existing housing by building policies, improving understanding of energy efficiency measures and their costs and benefits, and exploring innovative funding and financing mechanisms.
  • Evergreen Line
    Early work began on this transportation expansion project in 2012, which, once completed, will provide rapid transit from Vancouver to Coquitlam reducing single occupant vehicle trips and support increased density.
  • Electrification of natural gas developments in the Montney Basin
    Transmission expansion to support electrification of natural gas processing in the Montney formation in Northeast British Columbia to reduce GHG emissions by up to an estimated 1.6 million tonnes per year.

2013

  • Pacific Coast Collaborative MOU
    Increase impact of climate actions through collaboration with California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in the areas of: carbon pricing, clean transportation, ocean acidification, buildings and infrastructure.
     
  • Building codes
    In April 2013, B.C. became the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the National Energy Code for Buildings that applies to large buildings.
    New energy efficiency requirements in the B.C. Building Code increased energy efficiency in large residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings.

2014

  • Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA)
    The Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act sets out performance standards for regulated operations. It also streamlines several aspects of existing greenhouse gas legislation into a single legislative framework, including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. It includes the ability to set a greenhouse gas emissions intensity benchmark for regulated industries, including LNG facilities and enables the benchmark to be met through flexible options, such as purchasing offsets or paying a set price per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions that would be dedicated to a technology fund. This will uphold the Province’s commitment to having the cleanest liquefied natural gas facilities in the world.
    The Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act passed in November 2014, and came into force January 1, 2016.
  • Expanded Carbon Neutral Capital Program
    The Carbon Neutral Capital Program for K-to-12 schools was expanded to $14.5 million for energy efficient capital projects to include health authorities and public post-secondary institutions.
  • Expanded utility energy efficiency programs
    BC Hydro and FortisBC launched the Energy Conservation Assistance Program and the Energy Saving Kit Program to help low income households reduce their energy costs. The companies also launched the Home Energy Retrofit Offer (HERO) Program to provide incentives for home energy efficiency upgrades.
     
  • B.C. Building Code Amendment
    New energy efficiency requirements in the B.C. Building Code came into effect in December 2014 to increase energy efficiency in houses and small buildings and introduce performance standards for windows and heating equipment.

2015

  • Cement Sector Renewable Fuels
    Transitional incentives over five years to encourage the B.C. cement industry to adopt cleaner fuels and further lower emission intensity.
  • Phase two of the Clean Energy Vehicle Program
    $10.6 million over three years is being distributed from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund to support clean energy vehicle adoption, charging station installation, research, public awareness, and economic development.
     
  • Community Energy Leadership Program
    The Community Energy Leadership Program provides $1.2 million over three years to support local government and First Nations investments in energy efficiency and clean energy projects. To-date, seven projects have been funded through this program.
  • Oil to Heat Pump Incentive Program
    This program provides rebates for homeowners to convert from less efficient oil heating systems to all-electric air source heat pumps.
     
  • B.C. – Natural Resources Canada ISO 50001 Implementation Incentive
    The B.C. Government (Ministry of Energy and Mines) and the federal government (Natural Resources Canada) have joined together to offer up to $80,000 of cost-shared assistance to B.C. industrial companies to implement energy management system projects that help facilities to comply with CAN/CSA-ISO 50001, which enables companies to systematically reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • Forest Sector Climate Change Strategy 2015 - 2020          
    The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations created a strategy containing goals and objectives to respond to the impacts of climate change.

2016

  • B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act
    The Water Sustainability Act provides more flexibility and efficiency in the water allocation system and accommodates variable water flows expected as a result of climate change. The act, which came into force on Feb. 29, 2016, better protects stream health, regulates groundwater and addresses water use during times of scarcity.
  • Building Act
    Under the Building Act, the Province will evaluate requests for innovative buildings, which will encourage the design and construction of tall wood buildings, such as the Wood Innovation and Design Centre and UBC’s 18-storey Student Residence at Brock Commons.
  • CEVs in HOV lanes
    As of March 2016, all electric vehicles displaying an official decal are allowed in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in B.C., regardless of the number of passengers in the car.
  • Additional funds for CEV Program
    In March 2016, the Province injected an additional $6.9 million into the Clean Energy Vehicle Program to ensure purchase incentives continue to be available for British Columbians who choose a qualifying electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and to make further investments in charging infrastructure. The additional funding is in response to strong uptake of purchase incentives offered under the CEV program since April 1, 2015.
    In addition to $6 million for purchase incentives, the CEV Program received $890,000 for further investments in programs under development to expand public and residential charging infrastructure and encourage fleet purchases of CEVs.
     
  • Innovative Clean Energy Fund programs
    In April 2016, the Province announced $1.4 million from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund for a suite of programs to help homeowners reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions, and to support training in the construction of high performance, energy efficient homes.
Comparing carbon price systems

British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax is currently the highest broad-based carbon price in North America. The tax, introduced in 2008 at $10/ tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e), is currently set at $30/tonne until 2018, and applies to most fuel purchased or used in B.C. All carbon tax revenue is returned to British Columbians in the form of tax relief measures.

Several other Canadian jurisdictions have either implemented or plan to implement carbon pricing systems. The price encourages companies and consumers to choose cleaner and more efficient ways to operate, and creates opportunities for low-carbon innovation. These systems all differ from B.C.’s in price, scope and design details.

Carbon pricing systems can be divided into three groups.

  1. Carbon taxes such as B.C.’s carbon tax and Alberta’s upcoming carbon levy
  2. Cap and trade systems such as the Western Climate Initiative for Quebec and Ontario (in 2017)
  3. Emission intensity programs such as Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation and its upcoming Carbon Competitiveness Regulation or B.C.’s LNG benchmark

Carbon taxes place a fixed cost on every tonne of emissions covered by the tax. Taxes provide explicit costs for emitters but provide less certainty on resulting emission reductions.

Cap and trade systems place a cap on the overall emissions in a single or multiple jurisdictions. Permits to emit are either auctioned or distributed freely to emitters and these permits can be traded. Cap and trade systems can provide greater certainty on emission reductions through its cap but costs and progress to the target can fluctuate with market conditions.

Emissions intensity programs are a hybrid between a tax and a cap and trade system. They place a benchmark on emissions per unit of production. All emissions over this limit are required to pay the carbon price. They provide cost certainty but not certainty on emission reductions.

No carbon pricing system is intrinsically better. Their effectiveness and stringency depends on their specific design details including:

  • Marginal carbon price (the listed tax price or permit auction price);
  • Scope of emissions covered (e.g. combustion emissions, industrial process emissions, sector exemptions);
  • Availability of flexible compliance mechanisms (e.g. tech funds, offsets);

Other cost mitigation measures (e.g. freely allocated emission permits in cap and trade, rebates or credits in a carbon tax system or a less stringent emissions intensity benchmark).

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