B.C. Climate Team Urges Higher Carbon Tax, Low-Carbon Targets
British Columbia should increase its $30-per-tonne carbon tax by $10 per year beginning in 2018 and expand its scope to cover “all accurately measured sources of carbon pollution in 2021,” the province’s Carbon Leadership Team (CLT) concludes in a set of recommendations released Friday.
“Unfortunately, we don’t see a viable pathway for B.C. to meet its 2020 target,” the team states. “We do think that substantive progress can be made,” but the Christy Clark government’s aggressive focus on liquefied natural gas development “will present a challenge to the province’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution.”
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The CLT calls for “clear and targeted policies” to protect emissions-intensive sectors that must trade in the global economy. “Without those policies, there is a real risk that their competitiveness will be materially impacted if the increases in B.C.’s carbon tax exceed the rate at which carbon policies are strengthened in competing jurisdictions,” concludes the five-member team.
The Leadership Team recommends that B.C. commit to a 40% emissions reduction from 2007 levels by 2030 and review its climate plan every five years. It urges targeted support for vulnerable populations, as well as 100% clean electricity by 2025, a 40% cut in methane emissions from natural gas by 2020, rapid improvements in building energy efficiency, and tougher fuel standards to support electric car development.
The National Observer’s Mychaylo Prystupa notes the CLT’s report could “clash with Clark’s intended messaging for Paris that so-called ‘clean LNG’ is a climate solution for the world.” He adds that “building any number of the 21 proposed LNG export facilities will make it near impossible for B.C. to achieve its legally mandated greenhouse gas reduction target in five years’ time.”
In an interview with the Observer, Clark said B.C. will have “a great Canadian story to tell when we go to Paris,” and “part of that story will be natural gas….Exporting the cleanest natural gas in the world to Asia, in particular—displacing coal, diesel, dirty sources of fuel—is going to help us clean up the air for the whole world.”
CLT members include the Pembina Institute’s Matt Horne, Clean Energy Canada’s Merran Smith, climate campaigner Tzeporah Berman, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions’ Tom Pedersen, and Simon Fraser University’s Nancy Olewiler.