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Furstenau on NDP net-zero emissions promise: Targets without action are greenwashing

October 02, 2020

VICTORIA B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, says the B.C. NDP’s promise of net-zero emissions by 2050 is meaningless without a plan to achieve it. Studies show that when the B.C. NDP's LNG Canada fossil fuel project is factored in, emissions from oil and gas production will exceed the BC’s existing 2050 target by 160 per cent, even if all other emissions are reduced to zero by 2035. 

“We already have legislated targets for 2040, but the B.C. NDP has shown they have no plan to meet them,” said Furstenau.

“With their approval of the biggest point source of emissions in B.C.'s history just last year - a project that will pollute well into the 2060s - the NDP have shown they cannot be trusted to act on climate change. If the NDP are serious about climate action, they must end fossil fuel subsidies now.

“CleanBC only gets us 75% of the way to our 2030 targets. We hoped to be in the Legislature this Fall to hold them to account to close this gap. Instead, Mr. Horgan forced an unnecessary election and is out on the campaign trail making more promises that he has no plan to actually keep. 

“Politicians like Mr. Horgan who claim to take the climate crisis seriously and then pass billions in subsidies to the worst polluters are doing serious harm. Their hypocrisy is leaving people who are worried about climate change, especially young people, feeling hopeless and disillusioned. 

“When the votes on the NDP’s fracking subsidies were counted – all 14 rounds – only the B.C. Greens stood up for climate action. The NDP MLAs have proven they will fall into line and subsidize fossil fuels, even as our communities increasingly come under direct threat from the effects of climate change.

“B.C. has so much opportunity to build a truly clean economy. We shouldn’t be squandering our chance to be leaders by subsidizing the worst contributors to climate change. I look forward to releasing the B.C.Greens plan that will actually meet our targets while creating stable, long-term economic opportunities shortly.” 

The B.C. Greens also released a video today highlighting the B.C. NDP’s record on subsidizing LNG. 

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Background

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, migration, 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.

Sources: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, UN’s special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, United Nations Environment Programme

BC specific climate overview:

Climate change is causing BC to experience extreme trends of more frequent and severe:

  • Heat waves 

  • Droughts 

  • Floods 

  • Storms 

  • Wildfires

As well as ongoing and accelerating:

  • Sea level rise

  • Species extinction

  • Ocean acidification 

  • Glacier melt 

  • Agricultural instability

  • Pest infestations and the spread of vector borne diseases 

  • Economic instability

Government’s own documents say that by 2050 BC has a high statistical probability of grappling with severe versions of the following:

  • Severe wildfire seasons 

  • Seasonal water shortages 

  • Heat waves 

  • Ocean acidification 

  • Glacier mass loss 

  • Long-term water shortages

Sources: Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia, Canada’s Changing Climate Report

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