BACKGROUNDER Evaluating Climate Leadership in British Columbia May 17, 2016 OVERVIEW British Columbia’s carbon pollution is growing, despite the province’s claims of “climate leadership”. New action is needed to reverse this trend and get B.C. back on track to meets its legislated 2050 target. This backgrounder outlines key criteria the province’s next climate action plan needs to meet to be considered effective. It also answers some frequently asked questions about climate action in British Columbia and the recommendations made by the Climate Leadership Team. CURRENT STATUS OF B.C. CLIMATE ACTION While the climate policies British Columbia adopted in 2007 and 2008 were rightfully considered “world-leading,” the government froze the carbon tax and has not taken enough action since to maintain its status as a climate leader. As a result, B.C.’s carbon pollution is increasing. Between 2011 and 2013, it climbed by 1.7 megatonnes of CO2eq—the equivalent of adding 440,000 cars to our roads. It is forecast to grow by 32 per cent between 2013 and 2030, according to Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.1 The B.C. government is currently developing a new climate action plan that will determine B.C.’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean economy over the next five to 10 years. A cabinet committee including ministers of the environment, natural gas, jobs, energy and mines, transportation, finance and communities will decide on the plan. One year ago, the government established a Climate Leadership Team—including representatives of industry, First Nations, academia, policy advocates and local and provincial governments—to develop a package of recommendations that would: 1. Achieve B.C.’s legislated climate targets; 2. Maintain a strong economy; 3. Mitigate negative impacts on vulnerable populations; and 4. Maintain B.C.’s reputation for world-leading climate policies. In November 2015, the Climate Leadership Team produced 32 recommended policies and programs that, adopted as a package, would deliver climate leadership and economic prosperity.2 The group achieved consensus on all but the carbon tax increase recommendations with one member unable to support the carbon tax recommendation. The key elements of the Team’s recommendations include: Fiscal Package: A fiscal package which includes a plan to continue cutting carbon pollution by increasing and expanding B.C.’s carbon tax, while creating targeted support for emissionsintensive trade-exposed industries and vulnerable citizens. The package would also see a portion of the revenue used to reduce the provincial sales tax (PST), helping citizens and businesses adjust. CLEAN ENERGY CANADA IS A PROGRAM OF THE SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR DIALOGUE.

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