George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has issued the following statement to celebrate Clean Air Day:
“Today, we join in celebrating Clean Air Day with people throughout British Columbia. In B.C., we know how vitally important clean air is to our health, our environment and our communities.
“We are fortunate to have some of the most stunning natural environments and cleanest air in the world. Yet we know there remains much work to do to improve air quality in the province. It’s one reason we’ve taken action through CleanBC – our climate and clean economy plan – which will also improve the air we breathe by reducing pollution and investing in cleaner technologies.
“Climate action under CleanBC is working to reduce local air pollution and climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions across sectors. We were the first jurisdiction in North America to put in law that all new light-duty vehicles sold in the province will be zero-emissions by 2040. And we now lead the continent with the highest uptake of electric vehicles sold, thanks in part to supports to make them more affordable and convenient for people and businesses.
“We’ve also led the way forward as the first province in Canada to set sectoral targets covering emissions across our economy. Our government is committed to working with industry and the clean-tech sector to continue to reduce pollution. We’re helping to clean-power B.C.’s natural resource sector by connecting industry to the clean electricity grid.
“We’re also working with communities to invest in cleaner energy, more energy-efficient homes and buildings, and clean transportation infrastructure, including public transit, active transportation and electric vehicle charging. And we’re helping communities reduce wood-smoke pollution with incentives to replace old smoky wood stoves with clean electric heat pumps or emissions-certified wood stoves.
“People in British Columbia know the significant impacts climate change can have on air quality through increased forest fires. This is why we have worked with Indigenous peoples, communities, experts, businesses, young people and others to develop our Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, which will be released shortly for public comment. The strategy will build on the substantial work already underway to reduce wildfire risk throughout the province and to make sure communities have timely alerts of smoke warnings from meteorologists, thanks to the Blue Sky Smoke Forecasting system.
“Taken together, these actions are important steps forward to building a better future for people so we can have cleaner air in every community now and for future generations.”