BC government has massive gap to reach carbon pollution targets

Vancouver – A new report offers the first independent assessment of British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Plan after the federal government’s recently announced carbon price schedule.

The analysis, prepared by Navius Research and released by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada, projects that the combined carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas, industry and utilities, transport and buildings will increase until 2030 and remain above current levels until at least 2050.

Carbon pollution from these sources is forecast to hit 66 megatonnes (Mt) in 2050, compared to the province’s legislated target of 12.6 Mt.

“This analysis highlights the extent of the gap between BC’s legislated emission reduction targets and where this initial plan takes us,” says Sybil Seitzinger, executive director of Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. “As Canada gets ready this week to create its national strategy on climate, this report is a timely reminder of increased effort that is required by all, if we are to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.”

Growing carbon pollution from LNG and upstream shale gas operations constitutes the largest contributor to the size of the gap.

Relative to today, carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas is projected to double by 2050. In comparison, carbon pollution from transport and buildings is forecast to see respective declines of 35 percent and 50 percent over the same period. Additional actions will be required in all sectors for BC to meet its targets.

“For Canada’s climate plan to be successful, BC needs to step up its game,” argues Matt Horne, Pembina Institute’s BC associate director. “The province needs a carbon pollution reduction plan that closes the gap to its climate targets and builds a sustainable economy powered by renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

British Columbia has promised to update its climate plan in 2017, but to achieve its 2050 carbon pollution target and do its part in Canada’s efforts to meet the country’s Paris Agreement commitments for 2030, the province will need to further develop the policies and make the investments promised in the current plan.

By the Numbers:

  • BC’s annual carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas, industry and utilities, transport and buildings is projected to hit 68 Mt in 2030 under BC’s climate plan, an 8-Mt increase from today.
  • An 8-Mt increase in carbon pollution is akin to adding two million cars to the province’s roads.
  • The province’s legislated emissions targets are 43.5 Mt in 2020 and 12.6 Mt in 2050. In the Climate Leadership Plan released in August, the government renewed its commitment to meeting the 2050 target.
  • Under the plan, fossil fuels will continue to supply the majority of the province’s energy until at least 2030.

Featured chart: PICS/Pembina Institute/CEC

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