VICTORIA, B.C. - The updated greenhouse gas emission inventory released by the Province today shows that B.C., as illustrated by the 2018 data, has again failed to correct its emissions trajectory.
“At a time when we urgently need emissions to be going down, the latest available data from 2018 shows they were still trending upwards,” said B.C. Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich-North and the Islands. “As horrific as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be, climate change is on course to harm far more, for far longer. We must respond to these concurrent emergencies with the same commitment to science and support for bold, steady leadership.”
“75% of the Province’s emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels. Both this government and the last talked a lot about ‘transitioning’ to clean energy, and then continued to subsidize and approve oil and gas projects that will operate and pollute for the next 40, 50, 60 years. You will never have a successful ‘transition’ if you don’t create the conditions for the shift. We need to stop approving oil and gas projects, and instead focus all of that money and legislative support on renewable energy sources and sustainable careers,” said MLA Olsen.
In 2018, gross emissions in B.C. totaled 67.9 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), up 2.2Mt (+3%) from 2017. This represents an increase of 4.5 Mt CO2e (7%) from 2007 levels, the baseline year for B.C.’s legislated emissions reduction targets (i.e. a 40% reduction from 2007 level by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 80% by 2050). The Province is now 14% further from its 2030 target than it was in 2007.
The data from 2018 does not include actions from CleanBC, the Province’s climate action and clean economy plan, which was first announced in December 2018 and implementation of which began in 2019.
“We are hopeful CleanBC policies will lead to emissions reductions, but it is clear we have a very long way to go,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The COVID-19 crisis has underscored what we can accomplish as a society when we feel our survival is threatened. There are lessons we can take from this challenging time, things we never thought were possible are suddenly happening. Our commitment to protecting the well-being of our elders and most vulnerable is something we should all be proud of. But will we carry that forward to protect our children, grandchildren, and the most vulnerable from climate change?”
Investments made coming out of this crisis will set the direction for the coming decade - which is also a critical timeline for drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s leading climate scientists have repeatedly warned that we have between now and 2030 to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, disease, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
“British Columbia's economic recovery efforts should respond to the present while preparing us for the future. It’s not just possible that the transition to a clean economy could create jobs, it’s inevitable. This shift can be the vehicle to deliver a more just, equitable, and healthy society,” said MLA Furstenau.
Recognizing that transparency, accountability, and timely data are critical for progress on emissions reductions, the B.C. Green Caucus worked with the government to develop the Climate Change Accountability Amendment Act, passed in 2019.
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.
- The climate crisis is increasing the frequency and magnitude of droughts, floods, fires, extreme heat, and storms, as well as intensifying the risk of disease, economic collapse, political instability and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
- It is also exacerbating the extinction crisis, with a million species under threat of total collapse, many within decades.
- The crisis is fuelled by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, in Earth's atmosphere. These gases are released into the atmosphere during the production and burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil, gas, and liquefied natural gas.
For more information and data see:
- Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia
- Canada’s Changing Climate Report
- IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C
- UN Species Extinction Report
- UN Climate Change, Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Report
- The Bank of Canada on Climate Change
- UN Emissions Gap Report 2019
- World Meteorological Association Report on Signs and Impacts of Climate Change in Atmosphere, Land and Oceans
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]