British Columbia announced its long awaited renewed Climate Leadership Plan this afternoon amid talks of a pan-Canadian strategy on emissions reductions. The province, one of Canada’s early adopters of climate action, has developed a plan that includes a variety of actions to meet its emissions reductions goals, and indicated a willingness to go further on carbon pricing.
British Columbia was a leader in implementing a revenue neutral carbon tax in 2008. As noted in the plan, B.C.’s emissions levels have remained stable despite British Columbia’s considerable growth in both population and GDP, signalling that the province’s price on carbon prevented what would have been a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Prosperity applauds B.C.’s leadership in bringing in a revenue carbon tax, and we support B.C.’s call for a national carbon price at least equal to B.C.’s current price of $30 per tonne. While the province opted not to increase its price on carbon until there is a national consensus on carbon pricing, Premier Christy Clark wrote, “we support the adoption of B.C.’s price on carbon as a national benchmark, and increasing that price together in an effective and affordable way, once others catch up.” Clean Prosperity endorses and shares that objective, and calls on the federal government and other provinces to support this goal.
The plan recognizes BC’s need to undertake further action to meet its targets, and highlights a number of key sectors it will focus on for further reductions, including the built environment, transportation, industry and utilities, and the oil and gas sector. The plan also indicated that BC would explore the possibility of developing a robust system for carbon capture and storage. We are pleased to see BC undertaking action to reduce methane emissions from the upstream natural gas extraction by 45% by 2025, a goal B.C. shares with the federal government and Alberta. Given the potency of methane as a greenhouse gas, we are encouraged to see many jurisdictions now recognizing the importance of limiting these emissions as much as possible.
While we believe BC would be better placed to achieve its emissions reductions goals by increasing its carbon price sooner rather than later, we respect the province’s commitment to balancing its emissions reductions goals with the economic wellbeing of its citizens and the competitiveness of its industries. We call on Premier Clark to play a leadership role at the upcoming First Ministers’ Meeting to ensure that all provinces have an equally robust system of carbon pricing. We hope B.C. will outline a schedule for carbon tax increases, along with further personal and corporate tax reductions, and lay out interim 2030 reduction targets and the costs per tonne of its greenhouse gas reduction measures in the next phase of the plan.