Premier John Horgan announces his government’s plan to address climate change in Vancouver on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Kat Slepian/Black Press Media)

VIDEO: B.C. reveals plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2040

Horgan aims to cut fossil fuel use by 20 per cent and boost green energy use by 60 per cent by 2050

The NDP government revealed a slew of transportation, building and jobs measures on Wednesday as part of its wide-scale effort to reduce greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2040.

Dubbed CleanBC, the plan lays out how the province will transition from fossil fuels to a “low-carbon economy,” though the public will have to wait on how much it will cost.

“The challenges of climate change are clearly global,” Premier John Horgan told a packed room at Vancouver Public Library’s central branch.

“But the impact is being observed and felt right here… in our forests, in our rural communities where we are facing floods and droughts within months of each other.”

The plan centres on cutting fossil fuel use by 20 per cent and boosting green energy use by 60 per cent by 2050.

Horgan said the move will require an additional 4,000 gigawatt hours of electricity, or an eight-per-cent increase, over current BC Hydro projections. Currently, the province gets two-thirds of its energy from fossil fuels.

That will put the province on track to meet Canada’s commitment to keep global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, or well below two per cent above pre-industrial levels.

Building on an earlier promise that every car sold in B.C. will be zero-emission by 2040, Horgan said the government will bring down the price of electric vehicles and work with private industry to build more charging stations and train more mechanics to work on them.

The province’s goals will require a 200-per-cent increase in electric car sales by 2030.

The government also promised to lower carbon intensity in fuels by 20 per cent by 2030 and to enhance tailpipe emission standards for cars sold after 2025.

It will also make B.C.’s Building Code more efficient and require buildings to get 15 per cent of their energy from renewable natural gas.

READ MORE: B.C. sets new greenhouse gas reduction targets

Meanwhile, industry will have to make sure 15 per cent of its gas usage is from renewable sources by 2030. Currently, large-scale industry pays about one-third of the carbon tax collected by the province. The government will create a fund from the proceeds to be funnelled back into green incentives.

The plan also targets waste, aiming for 95 per cent of B.C. communities to divert garbage from the landfill, as well as capture and reuse 75 per cent of landfill gas by 2030.

‘Sign of hope’

Environmentalists praised the requirement for the government to project and report on pollution cuts every year, as well as the creation of an independent oversight group.

“It’s taken almost a year, but the Green-supported NDP government has started to head in the right direction,” said the Wilderness Committee’s Peter McCartney. “There’s still much work to do, but this plan is a good start.”

The B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, however, slammed the NDP for reaching high without providing details.

“I really think this this would be better if they rolled this out in shorter pieces, always with costing attached,” Kris Sims said. “I don’t care who you vote for, but you need to know how much this is going to cost you.”

Instead of regulating natural gas use and car emissions, she said the province should scrap the carbon tax and let the market innovate its way to a climate change solution.

What will it cost?

Horgan repeatedly deflected questions from reporters on how much the plan would cost to Finance Minister Carol James and stuck to talking points.

He did say he’d look to Ottawa for help, as well as speak with other premiers at the First Ministers’ meeting in Montreal on Friday.

Said Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman: “We’ve been through this with the finance minister and the details will be in the budget in the spring. Our plan will be fully funded.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyrus Centre takes Easter dinner on the road for youth

Centres in Abbotsford and Chilliwack preparing to deliver meals to their youth and families

Abbotsford prison has confirmed COVID-19 case

Pacific Regional Treatment Centre is the third prison in B.C. in a week to confirm case

Fraser Valley Bandits hoping to pack punch with Jabs

Abbotsford-based CEBL team signs veteran guard Jabs Newby

UPDATED: Mission Institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

14 inmates test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Abbotsford taxi company steps up during COVID-19 pandemic

Central Valley Taxi adds plexiglass, cleaning protocols to perform essential service

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Human rights complaint over city’s Pride flag tossed out

Kari Simpson’s attempt to block Langley City’s flag raising has failed

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Canadian Olympian diagnosed with heart failure, possible exposure to COVID-19

Olympic soccer star Karina LeBlanc diagnosed with pleural effusion

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

Program to provide primary health care through COVID-19 pandemic

VIDEO: Fraser Valley singing ensemble overcomes isolation, creates music using digital technology

Members of Belle Voci record ‘a capella’ song together even though they were unable to meet in person

Most Read