Climate

BC Liberals Leak NDP’s Climate Plan — A Plan Everyone Agrees Is Pretty Awesome

John Horgan

Leaked internal documents and theatrical political spin?

Tweet: 'Nothing like a little intrigue to spice up your B.C. climate politics, amiright?' http://bit.ly/2k3Q5Yc #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.

Saucy.

It's Been 25 Years Since World's Prominent Scientists Released 'Warning to Humanity'

The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we’ve known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we’re seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Five Handy Facts About Alberta’s New Carbon Tax

Installing wind turbine

As of January 1, 2017, Alberta’s carbon tax has officially arrived.

And, as expected, there’s plenty of misinformation swirling around about what the tax will mean for Alberta citizens and businesses.

Ultimately, the idea behind the carbon tax is to put a price on polluting the atmosphere. Tweet: #CarbonTax encourages activities we do want (investment, innovation) & reduces those we don’t (GHG emissions) http://bit.ly/2hHsaNe #ablegIt sends a market signal to encourage the economic activities we do want (investment and innovation), while reducing those we don’t want (greenhouse gas emissions).

Doesn’t sound totally outlandish, right? But what will a price of $20 per tonne of carbon emissions really mean for Albertans?

DeSmog Canada did some digging to find out. Here are five handy facts to help you get clear on what the new tax means for you.

Five Surprisingly Good Things That Happened in Canada in 2016

The election of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named south of the border is leaving many Canadians with a case of the climate doldrums as 2016 winds to a close — but here’s the thing: 2016 was actually the most promising year Canada has had on climate action in more than a decade.

To be sure, us Canucks have had some not-awesome news on the climate and energy front lately, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval of the enormously polluting Pacific Northwest LNG terminal near Prince Rupert, B.C., Enbridge’s Line 3 from Alberta to Wisconsin and the hotly contested Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline to Vancouver.

Many had higher hopes of climate leadership from Trudeau and they’re not wrong to be disappointed. However, as this year comes to a close, it’s also worth looking back on some of the significant steps forward that were made in 2016 — victories that in many cases were unimaginable even two years ago.

Canada’s New Climate Plan Could Shift Billions from Highway Expansion to Public Transit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Clark and most of Canada’s premiers recently signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. ‘Framework’ is a good title for this agreement — it is barely a start on what is needed.

But it contains a policy shift that could dramatically reduce climate pollution from transportation.

Over the past decades the federal government has funded transportation infrastructure with little or no regard for climate pollution. They spent billions of public dollars every year on projects that increase climate pollution, such as urban highway expansion.

And since projects are usually cost shared, one billion of federal money is often matched by two billion from the province and region or municipality. Largely as a result of this perverse spending, between 1990 and 2014 climate pollution from transportation increased 32 per cent.

Trudeau’s first budget allocated new money to a public transit fund, which can reduce carbon pollution, but there was no commitment to shift money away from projects that increase pollution.

Canada Can Make Huge Climate Gains by Cleaning Up Transportation Sector: Experts

Two weeks before the premiers met in Ottawa to finalize the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, the federal government unveiled plans for a national clean fuel standard. If adopted, the measure could drive down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector, Canada’s second biggest contributor to climate change.

One of the root issues around our climate problem is the fuel that we use to heat our homes and move our cars and so I think this is an excellent first step,” Dianne Zimmerman, director of Pembina Institute’s transportation and urban solutions program, said.

The other piece of the puzzle is ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support alternative forms of fuel.”

In all provinces and territories, transportation ranks among the top emitters. Despite advances in vehicle fuel efficiency, emissions from transportation have barely moved up or down from 171 megatonnes annually or 23 per cent of Canada’s overall carbon footprint since 2005.

The Carbon Offset Question: Will Canada Buy its Way to the Climate Finish Line?

Alberta oilsands, tar sands Kris Krug

On Dec. 9, after much deliberation and political theatre, the federal government, eight provinces and three territories signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba were notably absent from the list of signatories.

But also absent was an explanation of just how and how much Canada will rely on emissions trading  — technically known as internationally transferred mitigation outcomes — to meet its 2030 target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions down to 524 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, a reduction of 30 per cent compared to 2005 emission levels.

In its framework Canada vaguely pledged to “continue to explore which types of tools related to the acquisition of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes may be beneficial to Canada.”

Yet Canada may be eyeing the offset tool as a fundamental part of achieving emissions reductions, especially if global resource prices rebound and the oilsands expand to production levels allowable under newly approved pipelines.

B.C. In No Position to Stonewall on National Carbon Pricing Plan

By Matt Horne for the Pembina Institute.

With Canada’s first credible national climate change plan within reach, Tweet: Now’s not the time to be watering down core climate policies that would help reduce emissions http://bit.ly/2h7vSCX #bcpoli #cdnpolinow is not the time to be watering down core policies that would help reduce emissions. That’s why the federal government should reject Premier Christy Clark’s posturing on carbon pricing and stick to the pan-Canadian carbon price committed to in October.

The Premier has been arguing that cap-and-trade systems to cut carbon pollution in Ontario and Quebec won’t be as stringent as B.C.’s carbon tax, and as a result that B.C. shouldn’t need to increase the carbon tax in line with Trudeau’s plan.

Much-Anticipated Details of Canada’s Climate Plan to Be Revealed at First Minister’s Meeting. Maybe.

The federal government is expected to announce the details of Canada’s national climate plan Friday, Dec. 9 at a high-profile gathering of First Ministers in Ottawa.

The details of the climate plan, which amount to a balance sheet of the nation’s carbon emissions, are critical to evaluating the federal government’s recent decisions to approve major fossil fuel projects in light of Canada’s international climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

To have confidence in this plan’s ability we need to see credible accounting,” Catherine Abreu, executive direction of Climate Action Network Canada, said.

Trudeau has garnered significant criticism for his recent approvals of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge Line 3 replacement, both of which invite increased production in the Alberta oilsands, Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Can Trudeau Possibly Square New Pipelines with the Paris Agreement?

On Nov. 29, the federal government granted conditional approvals for the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

If built, the two pipelines will add just over one million barrels per day of export capacity from Alberta’s oilsands. Expectedly, many Canadians cried climate foul.

And, equally as predictably, there’s been a litany of arguments criticizing people for protesting the approvals.

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