Background and News on the B.C. NDP and Climate Change

During the May 2017 provincial election in B.C. the NDP under Leader John Horgan released a general climate plan that is anchored in five guiding principles: reducing carbon pollution, increasing the carbon tax, keeping those increases affordable, investing in clean energy and regulating emissions on a sector by sector basis. The details of taht climate plan are expected to change under a joint power-sharing agreement between the NDP and the B.C. Green Party under climate scientist and party Leader Andrew Weaver. Those details have not been released.

Below you will find background information about the B.C. NDP on the issue of climate change, as well as DeSmog Canada's latest reporting on the subject.

British Columbia has long been praised as a climate leader for introducing one of the world's first taxes on carbon. First introduced in 2008 by then-Premier Gordon Campbell, the B.C. carbon tax began at $10 per tonne of carbon produced and increased over time to $30 per tonne. After taking office in 2013, current B.C. Premier Christy Clark controversially froze the carbon tax at $30 per tonne.

In past elections, the NDP has been critical of the B.C. carbon tax. Most notably in the 2009 provincial election, former NDP Leader Carole James ran on a promise that if elected her party would “axe” the carbon tax. The NDP was defeated in the 2009 election, the carbon tax remained intact and James was replaced as leader of the NDP.

In an interview in late 2015, the NDP's current Leader John Horgan stated that he and his party now support the carbon tax, but believe that it can be improved by using the money collected to invest in carbon-reducing efforts such as increased transit options. The current tax is “revenue neutral,” meaning the tax collected through the carbon tax program is offset by a reduction in taxes collected elswhere. 

Talking about the B.C. carbon tax at a community meeting in May 2016, Horgan stated that: “I believe it is a legitimate tax and it should remain in place and it should probably increase.”

The new joint NDP-Green agreement lays out a $5/year increase to the carbon tax beginning in April 2018. This will get B.C. to the federally mandated carbon price of $50/tonne by 2022. The plan also includes expanding the tax to what are known as “fugitive emissions,” which are currently wildly underestimated and untaxed. The parties have also committed to creating a plan to actually meet B.C.’s climate targets.

On other issues related to climate change, Horgan and the NDP last year released what they call their “PowerBC Plan,” which they say will create a large number of new jobs in the clean energy sector. The PowerBC plan focuses on four areas: (1) Retrofitting public buildings to be more energy efficient, (2) Retrofitting homes and businesses to be more energy efficient, (3) Maximizing the use of existing hydroelectric dams, and (4) Major investments in developing a large-scale clean energy sector.

Photo: BC NDP Caucus on Flickr

DeSmog Canada's latest news coverage on the B.C. NDP and climate change

By Carol Linnitt • Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 14:53
John Horgan

Leaked internal documents and theatrical political spin?

Tweet: 'Nothing like a little intrigue to spice up your B.C. climate politics, amiright?' #bcpoli #bcelxn17 @carollinnittNothing like a little intrigue to spice up your B.C. climate politics, amiright?

Just in case you weren’t aware, the race for political leadership in B.C. is on. With the May 9 election just three months away, it’s time for the mud-slinging to begin, I guess.

The BC Liberals aren’t wasting any time.

This morning the BC Liberals leaked internal NDP documents related to the official opposition’s climate plan — 90 minutes before NDP leader John Horgan was due to release the plan at a Vancouver press conference.


By Judith Lavoie • Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 09:46
B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Mary Polak

British Columbians will not find out before next spring’s provincial election if the province has adequate programs in place to adapt to climate change.

Earlier this month Auditor General Carol Bellringer released a list of projects her office intends to investigate in the next three years and, among the hot button issues — ranging from grizzly bear management to the Site C dam — is whether government is adequately managing risks posed by climate change.

In the wake of heavy criticism of Premier Christy Clark’s August release of the province’s “Climate Leadership Plan” — which does not include carbon tax increases or set emission targets for 2030 — some were hoping that Bellringer would release the report early next year.

It is a question I am being asked, but the timing is not going to work,” Bellringer said in an interview with DeSmog Canada.

We are probably going to have finished our field work by spring, but we won’t be able to issue it before the election,” she said.