BC’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb

September 09, 2019

VICTORIA, B.C. - At a time when citizens are calling on their governments to ambitiously decarbonize - and every international panel has stated doing so is the only way to meet our agreed upon international climate targets- the provincial government’s recently released greenhouse gas data shows that BC, as of 2017, has failed to correct its emissions trajectory.

The data released today show total emissions in British Columbia increased 1.2 per cent from 2016 to 2017 to a total 64.5 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e), roughly 13.1t CO2e per capita. Emissions are now back up to 2007 levels when 64.8 Mt of CO2e was emitted, despite the BC NDP government last year committing to reduce emissions by 40% from this amount by the year 2030.

“We designed the CleanBC economic plan to start to tackle this challenge. Now that it is being implemented I expect we’ll start to see some slight emissions reductions, but it is clear we have a long way to go and we need to remain diligent in our commitment to our reduction targets,” said Dr. Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Greens. “The timing of the release of these new emissions numbers is also particularly ironic as it comes on the heels of the federal government announcing it’s sending a delegation to Japan -including the B.C. Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources- to tout the potential export of highly subsidized LNG. As I’ve identified numerous times in the past, we cannot expand investment in the fossil fuel sector and hope to reduce our domestic emissions to promised levels.”

“British Columbians say they want to fight climate change. Looking at this data, they should be enraged that the lack of regulations in the oil and gas sectors means their footprint is two to three times larger than that of the average person living in the UK, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden. The average British Columbia emits about 29 times the CO2e compared to an average citizen in Bangladesh.

“Our individual carbon footprint per British Columbian barely come in under our neighbours to the south, by a measly 12%. These numbers show us that we are not the concerned environmental stewards that we think we are, and it is because we have had governments that fail to regulate industry and fail to implement a vision for a new, green economy rooted in sustainable practices.”

This summer, government released its strategic climate risk assessment for British Columbia. Analyzing the climate risks likely to face British Columbia between 2040 and 2059, the report stated:

“British Columbia is already experiencing the effects of global climate change: average temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, and variable and extreme weather is becoming more frequent. Scientists expect these changes to accelerate and intensify in the years ahead, creating risks to society, natural resources, and ecosystems.”

British Columbia is contributing to global emissions rising when they need to be falling dramatically. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly reported that carbon pollution needs to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 if we are to stay below 1.5C warming, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen climate change impacts and drag hundreds of millions of people into poverty.

“Now is not the time to protect the status quo or invest billions in expanding the oil and gas sector,” Weaver said. “Now is the time to rise to the challenge before us. Climate change is an immense risk if we don’t do anything about it. But it is also an incredible opportunity if we act. We can- and must- build cleaner and healthier communities and vibrant, resilient, sustainable economies.”
CleanBC was developed in collaboration with the BC NDP government and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.'s emission targets.

 

Quick Facts

  • In 2016, the most recent global data available from the International Energy Agency, the United Kingdom’s per capita emissions were 5.65t CO2e, New Zealand’s were 6.45t CO2e, Norway’s were
    6.78t CO2e, Denmark’s were 5.84t CO2e and Sweden’s were 3.83t CO2e. For comparison, per capita emissions in Bangladesh were 0.45t CO2e and in the United States were 14.95t CO2e.
    • This puts the average British Columbian’s carbon footprint 2.3, 2.0,1.9, 2.2 and 3.4 times larger than that of the average person living in the UK, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden,
      respectively.

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Media contact
Macon L.C. McGinley, Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | macon.mcginley@bcgreens.ca

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