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BC Liberal climate plan falls short: Pembina, Suzuki

The B.C. Liberal Party’s platform continues to demonstrate leadership on climate change but a gap remains in how the targets they have set will be achieved, according to the Pembina Institute.

“The reaction is a bit mixed,” said Matt Horne, BC energy solutions director for the organization.

He praised the commitments to the carbon tax, cap and trade legislation and continued ban on dirty coal-fired electricity, but said the party has failed to specificy how it will achieve the targets it has legislated to make up for the shortfall in actual expected reductions.

“What is intended to fill that gap has yet to be identified,” said Horne.

He also expressed concern over the Liberal’s energy plan, including the development of an energy corridor in the North and the opening of new gas fields.

Reaction to the Liberal climate plan by the David Suzuki Foundation was also mixed.

“Overall it maintains some of the policies that have maintained B.C. as a leader on climate change in Canada,” said Ian Bruce, climate change specialist for the organization.

But he faulted the plan for failing to provide for green infrastructure projects, which he said are a necessary part of emissions reduction.

“This plan here continues to invest in environmentally harmful projects such as highway expansion,” he said.

The climate change policies released by the B.C. New Democratic Party last week, especially the proposal to get rid of the carbon tax, have also received criticism from environmental groups, including Pembina, the Suzuki Foundation and ForestEthics.

Yesterday, representatives from the organizations jointly published an op-ed piece in the Vancouver Sun, highlighting their plea for the province to meet its emissions commitment to reduce annual carbon pollution by 37 million tonnes by 2020.

“The foundation for meeting these targets is the carbon tax,” wrote the enviromentalists.

“Without it, achieving our targets becomes almost impossible, which is why the B.C. NDP’s recently released platform needs to go back to the drawing board.”

Horne told The Hook he was disappointed in the failure of both party platforms to move the province forward in its emissions reduction targets.

“What we see is a step backwards by the NDP and nothing new from the Liberals. Neither party is entering the space where we need to be going,” he said.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Hook

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