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B.C. climate plan improves target details, transparency, says minister

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s environment minister says the province is trying to be more transparent in reporting its progress in fighting climate change through legislative changes introduced Thursday.

George Heyman says amendments to the Climate Change Accountability Act mandate more detailed tracking of the ongoing status of carbon reduction efforts and would establish an independent oversight body to monitor progress.

He says the amendments would also require the annual public reporting of the government’s climate change results.

B.C. set legislated climate goals last year to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent from 2007 levels by 2030.

Heyman says the legislation, if passed, mandates the government to establish interim reduction targets for carbon emissions by the end of next year.

It would also set individual reduction targets for different economic sectors including transportation and energy by March 31, 2021.

“We’re committed to meeting our climate targets and making sure our CleanBC plan gets us to where we need to go — that means being honest and transparent about our progress to make sure people can determine we’re on the right track,” Heyman said in a statement.

The Green party says it collaborated with province’s minority NDP government on the amendments.

“As a climate scientist, I know that transparent, accurate, timely and publicly accessible data is crucial to achieving our climate commitments,” B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said in a news release issued by the government.

Karen Tam Wu, the B.C. director of the Pembina Institute, says the changes are aimed at helping the province meet its targets.

“These changes will allow anyone to track the province’s progress in the short term, including by sector, and help ensure we stay on track toward achieving B.C.’s long-term vision. We can no longer afford to miss our climate targets.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2019.

The Canadian Press