VICTORIA, B.C. - The Climate Change Accountability Amendment Act tabled today demonstrates minority governments can move beyond political rhetoric and collaborate on ambitious climate legislation. This act introduces transparency and accountability mechanisms that, if passed, will last well beyond this current government and set an evidence-based foundation from which all future climate policy can be built.
“Campaign trail promises to address climate change are meaningless without concrete policy action to bring those promises to fruition,” said B.C. Green Party leader Dr. Andrew Weaver, MLA from Oak Bay- Gordon Head. “As a climate scientist, I know that transparent, accurate, timely, and publicly accessible data is crucial to achieving our climate commitments. ‘Trust us’ is not good climate policy. The amendments included in this act add real credibility to our province’s efforts.”
British Columbia already has legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets, as well as a requirement to collect data for tracking emissions, but targets are set ten years apart and data is published on a two-year delay.
“Combine that with a four-year government mandate and you create a situation where party leaders spend the first two years blaming their predecessors for bad results and the next two years saying they are just getting started while making promises they can only fulfill if you vote them back in,” said MLA Weaver. “I have seen so many promising policies fail because of this pattern of inaction, so fixing it was a top priority.”
This legislation will cut through those excuses by shortening the time scale and increasing transparency: Interim targets allow for evaluations and course corrections before it is too late; Annual emissions reporting standards and sectoral targets assist both industry and the public in identifying where emissions originate, which policies are working, which are not, and how everything aligns with our province’s fiscal forecast; A legislated and independent advisory committee will provide another check on government and ensure a diverse range of perspectives is always included.
“Bringing in diverse perspectives to tackle policy is the strength of this minority government,” Weaver said. “The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has been exceptional in reaching out to our caucus over these many months. It has been a remarkable experience to collaborate with Minister Heyman and his team on the development of this critical piece of legislation.”
The Climate Change Accountability Amendment Act is a legislated component of CleanBC, which sets a pathway to a stronger, more sustainable future by reducing carbon pollution and creating economic opportunities across the province. CleanBC was collaboratively developed by the government and the B.C. Green Caucus and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.