Climate advisory panel states dissatisfaction in open letter to B.C. premier

By The Canadian Press
May 17, 2016 - 10:16am

VANCOUVER — Members of a panel advising the British Columbia government on climate change say they’re concerned that the province has not moved forward on recommendations for meeting climate goals.

Seven people on the climate change leadership team have signed an open letter to Premier Christy Clark, saying the province is in “no position to delay or scale back efforts.”

The letter, signed by Matt Horne from the Pembina Institute and Merran Smith from Clean Energy Canada, says carbon pollution in B.C. is increasing, and instead of being a leader on climate change, the province is adding to the problem.

The team was appointed by the provincial government last year to help shape B.C.’s climate plan, and released a report in November making 32 recommendations, including lowering the provincial sales tax to six per cent from seven per cent.

The report said the lower PST rates could be offset by increased carbon taxes, and concluded the province will fail to meet its legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020.

The open letter says the group is concerned because the province originally committed to providing a draft climate plan by the end of last year, but the draft has since been scrapped and the deadline for the final plan has been pushed back to June.

Members say the province must commit to a plan for climate change soon in order to give residents and businesses time to get organized.

“We want to see the province reach its climate targets. Delay only increases those costs and makes it harder to succeed,” the letter says.

Recommendations from the November report would not only help get the province back on track in terms of its climate targets, the letter says, but also create jobs, stimulate innovation and protect B.C. businesses.

“The actions we take to increasingly shift to clean energy in the province will also help position B.C. to provide the solutions the world needs.”

In addition to Horne and Smith, team members who signed the open letter are: Chief Ian Campbell from the Squamish Nation; Chief Michelle Edwards from the Cayoose Creek Band; Tom Pedersen, an oceanography professor at the University of Victoria; Tzporah Berman, an adjunct professor in York University’s faculty of environmental studies; and Nancy Olewiler, a professor in Simon Fraser University’s school of public policy.

The Canadian Press

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