A renewed provincial council will advise government and track progress on CleanBC initiatives to reduce pollution and create new opportunities for people around the province.
Members of the Climate Solutions Council were announced by George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, at GLOBE 2020 – a sustainable business and innovation summit focused on climate action.
“As part of our commitment to action and accountability on climate change, this new group of independent advisors will strengthen our CleanBC plan to build a cleaner future and improve peoples’ lives here in B.C.,” Heyman said. “Their extensive experience and perspectives will help us expand and improve on the significant actions taking place through CleanBC, while supporting B.C. businesses as they reduce their carbon footprint and keeping daily life more affordable for the rest of us.”
The independent council will continue the advisory role of the previous council, which completed its mandate at the end of 2019. The new members represent environmental organizations, businesses (including large industry), Indigenous peoples, local governments, academics, youth, unions and people living in rural and remote communities. The council will play an important role by advising the Province on further actions to reduce carbon pollution, while ensuring that B.C. industry remains competitive. It will provide public comment every year on progress.
“As British Columbians, we have an incredible opportunity ahead of us as the world moves towards a clean economy and begins to address climate change,” said Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, co-chair of the new Climate Solutions Council and vice-president of corporate relations for Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. “I look forward to working with my new council colleagues to help build on the success of CleanBC and monitor progress as the plan develops over time.”
In addition, the government released its 2019 Climate Change Accountability Report for CleanBC, which details a range of actions over the past year to reduce emissions and build a cleaner economy.
Results show a range of positive trends, including record-setting sales of electric vehicles, increases in transit ridership, improvements in energy efficiency and emission intensity, reduced emissions from large industry and lower methane emissions from the natural gas sector. The report provides detailed emission forecasts and breakdowns by sector to help guide future improvements and track progress.
“B.C. has come back as a global climate leader. And while we still have work to do, the Province has laid down the right foundations,” said Merran Smith, co-chair of the Climate Solutions Council, and executive director of Clean Energy Canada. “We’re already seeing the benefits, from surging electric car sales to real accountability measures, to a thriving clean energy sector that’s putting B.C. on the clean energy map. As co-chair of this new council, I’m excited to build on that progress.”
CleanBC is the Province's pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –
“People want to spend less time in traffic and more time with their friends and families. They want faster, more affordable and cleaner transportation options. With CleanBC, we are supporting these goals by investing in public transit, active transportation and one of the most extensive electric-vehicle charging networks in the country.”
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources –
“Through CleanBC, our government is helping people and businesses benefit from a cleaner economy, with support to improve the way we get around, heat our homes and fuel our economy. British Columbia is leading the shift to clean, renewable energy as we continue to grow our economy and create good jobs for people.”
Adam Olsen, interim leader, BC Green Party –
"To truly seize the opportunities that CleanBC presents us as an economic framework, we need to fully embrace innovation across our economy and ensure communities throughout our province can prosper in a changing future. The transparency and accountability mechanisms included in CleanBC will be crucial to tracking our progress – as embodied in this first annual report – identifying where additional action is required going forward.”
Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head –
“I was pleased to collaborate with government on legislation that mandates annual reporting on climate action, adding credibility to the commitments in CleanBC. I welcome this first climate change accountability report, which shows that we’ve accomplished a great deal together and that we have much more to do. I remain committed to the task.”
- Changes to the Climate Change Accountability Act require the Province to establish an independent council to provide advice to government on actions to meet emission targets, build a clean economy and mitigate risks from climate change.
- The new council will meet three times a year, with additional meetings to be held virtually. It will provide feedback to government on a regular basis.
- Changes to the act also require government to table detailed annual reporting on CleanBC progress in the legislature, with the first official report for 2020 expected later this year.
- Since the launch of CleanBC, more than 17,000 new zero-emission vehicles have been sold, more than 40 fast-charging electric vehicle sites have been installed and more than 6,700 households have upgraded to heat pumps in homes and non-profit housing.
To read more about the new Climate Solutions Council and the previous Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/planning-and-action/advisory-council
To read the full CleanBC Climate Change Accountability Report, visit: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/436/2020/02/2019-ClimateChange-Accountability-Report-web.pdf
To learn more about CleanBC, visit: https://CleanBC.gov.bc.ca
A backgrounder follows.