B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Climate Change

Background and latest news about B.C.'s Premier Christy Clark and the issue of climate change.

With a provincial election set for May 2017, Christy Clark and the BC Liberal Party are promoting their new “Climate Leadership Plan.” Below you will find background information about Christy Clark on the issue of climate change, as well as DeSmog Canada's latest reporting on the subject.

In August 2016, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced her government's new plan to tackle climate change in the province. Clark's “Climate Leadership Plan” [PDF] focuses on six key “action areas.” They are: natural gas, transportation, forestry and agriculture, industry and utilities, communities and public sector leadership.

According to policy experts, Clark's plan falls short of the premier's original commitment and will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia.

In October 2015 the province's Climate Leadership Team comprised of representatives from government, First Nations, industry, academia and civil society released their guidance document with 32 specific recommendations [PDF] to government on how the province could play a renewed leadership role on climate change. According to members of the Climate Leadership Team, not a single one of its 32 recommendations was part of Clark's final Climate Leadership Plan. 

Of the 32 recommendations made by the Climate Leadership Team, the most high profile was the proposal to increase B.C.'s exisiting carbon tax. 

First introduced in July 2008 by previous premier Gordon Campbell, the B.C. carbon tax was the first of any jurisdication in the world. The tax rate began at $10 per tonne of carbon produced and increased over time to $30 per tonne. Christy Clark promised in the 2013 B.C. provincial election that if her party was re-elected it would freeze any further increases to the carbon tax for at least five years. After winning the election, Clark kept her election promise and froze the B.C. carbon tax at $30 per ton until at least 2018.

In their recommendations to Premier Clark, the Climate Leadership Team found that: 

“A significant body of evidence points to the conclusion that B.C.’s carbon tax is working both economically and environmentally. Independent research has found that since the implementation of the tax, fuel use in B.C. has dropped by 16 per cent per capita, while it has risen three per cent per capita in the rest of Canada.”

The team recommended that the province begin incrementally increasing the carbon tax by $10 per year starting in 2018. Despite this expert analysis, Clark did not implement this recommendation, along with the other 31 made by the Climate Leadership Team, generating headlines very critical of Clark's announced plan to tackle climate change.

Photo: Province of British Columbia


DeSmog Canada's latest news coverage on Premier Christy Clark and climate change


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By Guest • Friday, November 11, 2016 - 13:16

This article originally appeared on The Climate Examiner at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

British Columbia’s first major liquefied natural gas project is set to go ahead with Woodfibre LNG’s announcement last week of funding to build a $1.6 billion processing and export plant in Squamish.

The project, which promises some 650 construction jobs and 100 permanent operating jobs to the small town with a population of 17,000, aims to begin exporting some 2.1 million tonnes of LNG annually to Asia from 2020.

The plant is much smaller than the highly controversial $11 billion Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG terminal planned near Prince Rupert that received conditional approval from the federal Liberal government in September and which would ship some ten times the amount of the Woodfibre project each year.

It is however the first of 20 proposed LNG export projects in British Columbia to be given company approval — a development that will bring much cheer to the provincial government which is facing an election next May and for whom a flourishing LNG industry is the centerpiece of its economic development plans.

By Andrew Nikiforuk • Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 13:46

By Andrew Nikiforuk for The Tyee.

Every day, methane promoters in British Columbia’s government manage to out-trump Donald Trump.

The hoopla over the $1.6-billion Woodfibre LNG terminal, which will industrialize Howe Sound and the city of Squamish,
Tweet: ‘The hoopla over #WoodfibreLNG illustrates how far the @ChristyClarkBC gov’t will go to subvert the truth’ http://bit.ly/2eOzjgi #bcpoliillustrates just how far the Christy Clark-led BC Liberal government will go to subvert the truth.

The government billed the event as maker of economic prosperity and the beginning of a winning fight against climate change.

Both claims read like Trump balderdash with no basis in reality.

By Carol Linnitt • Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 16:10

Christy Clark doesn’t like Victoria. At least, she said as much in an interview with the National Post: “I try never to go over there. Because it’s sick. It’s a sick culture. All they can think about is government…”

Maybe that’s why Clark pulled the plug on this fall’s legislative session. As a bonus, that means her political opponents won’t get the opportunity to ask her any questions … well, not in the legislature at least.

Unfortunately for the powers that be, we rang up a few folks. Here are their top five questions for Clark.

By Judith Lavoie • Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 09:29

Hydropower is usually touted as clean energy, but a new study has found man-made reservoirs are producing far more greenhouse gases than previously believed, with most of those emissions in the form of methane, a potent climate-warming gas.

Tweet: Weird. #Hydropower reservoirs worldwide produce as much GHGs as all of Canada annually http://bit.ly/2dStxvA #bcpoli #cdnpoli #SiteCResearchers found that reservoirs are producing 1.3 per cent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans, or, to put the figure in context, more than all greenhouse gases produced in Canada annually.

We weren’t super-surprised at the magnitude of the emissions, but one thing we were surprised to see is the per area rate of methane emissions. They are 25 per cent higher than previously thought,” Washington State University researcher Bridget Deemer, lead author of the study, published Wednesday in the journal BioScience, told DeSmog Canada.

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.

By Martyn Brown • Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 14:51

This very long piece is the last of a four-part series on B.C.’s climate action plan. Part One addressed B.C.’s GHG reduction targets. Part Two addressed how that plan is at risk of being co-opted by Big Oil. Part Three took a closer look at the B.C. Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations for the carbon tax. This analysis explores how the oil and gas industry, and especially the LNG industry, might financially benefit from hidden subsidies recommended by that advisory body.

Like so many other governments around the world, British Columbia’s Liberal government led by Premier Christy Clark has been duped by the barons of Big Oil.

Beguiled by the petroleum industry’s promises of new investment and jobs, the Clark government has repeatedly proved itself a patsy in acceding to the LNG industry’s every demand.

In the process, it has subjugated B.C.’s global-leading 2008 climate action plan to its misguided vision for the unchecked exploitation of non-renewable natural gas.

It has broken its own law, in failing to meet B.C.’s legislated targets for provincial greenhouse gas reductions.

By Martyn Brown • Monday, July 18, 2016 - 13:35

This is the third of a four-part series on B.C.’s climate action plan. Be advised, it is a very long read, more like a short book of six chapters. Part One of this series addresses B.C.’s GHG reduction targets. Part Two addresses how that plan is at risk of being co-opted by Big Oil. Part Three takes a closer look at the B.C. Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations for the carbon tax. And Part Four focuses on how the oil and gas industry stands to profit from that advisory team’s proposed climate action plan.

British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Team (CLT) has offered a strategy aimed at achieving several new emissions reduction targets.

It proposes to do that by “right pricing” carbon with an ever-increasing and expanded carbon tax; by mitigating some of that tax’s competitive and consumer impacts; by supplementing that rising tax with additional (mostly unspecified) measures to further reduce emissions; and by regularly reviewing those three elements.

As such, its roadmap to carbon reductions is largely an updated carbon tax plan.

By Martyn Brown • Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 12:26

This is the second of a four-part series on B.C.’s climate action plan. Part One addresses B.C.’s GHG reduction targets. Part Two addresses how that plan is at risk of being co-opted by Big Oil. Part Three takes a closer look at the B.C. Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations for the carbon tax. And Part Four focuses on how the oil and gas industry stands to profit from that advisory team’s proposed climate action plan.

In accepting its mission as defined by the government, the Climate Leadership Team (CLT) also implicitly accepted the government’s plan for increased emissions from LNG and from other carbon-intensive development.

As laudable as the CLT’s climate action plan is in most respects, it is wrongly predicated on accommodating the oil industry’s vision for increased fossil fuel extraction.

Which is to say, it is innately co-opted by its mandate, which is wedded to the acceptance of an overriding economic plan for carbon-fueled growth.

That is not to suggest that all, or even a majority, of the CLT members support that economic vision. Far from it.

By Martyn Brown • Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - 09:00

This is the first of a four-part series on B.C.’s climate action plan. Part One addresses B.C.’s GHG reduction targets. Part Two addresses how that plan is at risk of being co-opted by Big Oil. Part Three takes a closer look at the B.C. Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations for the carbon tax. And Part Four focuses on how the oil and gas industry stands to profit from that advisory team’s proposed climate action plan.

Any day now, the B.C. government is expected to release its updated climate action plan. Then again, it initially promised to do that last December and then last spring, before revising that deadline again to the end of June, so who knows?

Honouring its commitments has never been the Clark government’s strong suit, to put it mildly.

Nothing proves that more than its failure to honour B.C.’s legislated targets to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions.

As premier Christy Clark’s Climate Leadership Team determined, the province won’t even come to close to meeting its legal obligation to cut its GHG emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020.

Nor will it fulfill its statutory requirement to reduce those emissions by 18 per cent as of this year.

And it is wildly off-track from being able to meet the 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases that it is legally required by 2050.  

By Emma Gilchrist • Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 10:45

While the B.C. government may like to claim it’s a “climate leader,” the province has quietly become a climate laggard compared to Canada’s other most populous provinces according to a new analysis released by the Pembina Institute on Tuesday. 

The analysis indicates that eight years after B.C.’s Climate Action Plan was implemented, B.C.’s emissions are projected to continue increasing — standing in stark contrast to Ontario, Quebec and even Alberta.

Between 2011 and 2014, B.C.’s emissions increased by the equivalent of adding 380,000 cars to the road — putting B.C. on track to blow past its legislated 2020 emissions target.

Tweet: BC’s inaction on #climatechange means emissions will increase 39% above 2014 levels by 2030 http://bit.ly/1US7GNDIf the province’s inaction on climate change continues, B.C.’s emissions will increase 39 per cent above 2014 levels by 2030, according to modelling.

Meantime, carbon pollution in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec is expected to decrease by 26 per cent, 22 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, over the same period.

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