B.C.’s climate leadership plan: Mixed reviews

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There are mixed reviews about B.C.’s announced climate leadership plan policies.

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is enthusiastic.

Climate change is the single most important issue facing our society today and this plan lays the foundation for industries to play a major role in assisting government in meeting its 2050 targets, CAC says in a statement.

The cement industry welcomes the commitment of the B.C. government to mandate the use of Portland-Limestone Cement (PLC) in concrete used in the construction of public infrastructure projects. This commitment will provide a 10 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, when compared to the use of regular Portland cement.

“With today’s release of the B.C. Climate Leadership Plan, the Province of British Columbia has laid out a framework to work collaboratively with individuals, local governments, business and industry in finding ways to address climate change,” said Michael McSweeney, the CAC’s president and CEO. “The cement industry in British Columbia is a leader in innovation. Our development and use of a lower greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity cement, Portland-Limestone cement, reduces GHG emissions by 10 percent. This is just one example of our commitment to help address climate change, and we look forward to engaging the province in keeping our industry competitive while fostering further innovation to lower our environmental footprint.”

The B.C. Climate Leadership Plan encourages industries to look at new technologies and innovation for the built environment, with a focus on energy efficient buildings, infrastructure upgrades and less waste to landfills. The cement industry will continue to be a vocal advocate for the introduction of policies that protect emissions-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) industries from carbon leakage and ensure that the B.C. cement industry can remain competitive while reducing GHGs.

However, the Pembina Institute took a much less positive view of the government’s plan.

“Last year, the Climate Leadership Team showed clearly that B.C. can both meet its climate targets and maintain a strong economy without trading one for the other,” Josha MacNab, the Pembina Institute’s B.C. director, said in a statement. “That’s still the right bar to be aiming for, and it’s a bar that B.C. has missed with today’s announcement.

“Under the Climate Leadership Plan released today, carbon pollution will not start to significantly decline for almost 15 years — assuming all the reductions in the plan come to fruition. This falls far short of the level of ambition needed to reach B.C.’s 2050 target and leaves the hard work for a later day.

“A climate plan must do two things: reduce emissions and support B.C.’s transition to a clean economy so it can remain competitive in a decarbonizing global market. With today’s plan, B.C. has missed key opportunities on both fronts.

“The commitments in the plan represent a piecemeal approach that the Climate Leadership Team warned would prove economically and environmentally ineffective. The key missing ingredient continues to be a strengthened carbon tax and the province-wide incentive it would provide to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency. Without this, B.C.’s plan will continue to miss the bar.

“B.C. has the capacity to do much more in the fight against climate change. Not doing so passes the costs of dealing with climate change onto our children and grandchildren.”

 

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