B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. behind on climate goals, sets new 2025 emissions target to stay on track

New emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025

The British Columbia government is setting a new target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its goals than previously forecasted.

The new emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025.

It also provides benchmarks to reach the province’s legislated emission targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 of 40, 60 and 80 per cent below 2007 levels, respectively.

Environment Minister George Heyman said completing a plan to reach the legislated targets in the CleanBC program has been more challenging than anticipated.

The biggest factor in the gap was a change in data and methodology at the federal level that lowered B.C.’s 2007 baseline estimates, he said Wednesday.

A government report also says emissions rose in 2018 due to increases in fuel consumed in heavy-duty diesel vehicles, oil and gas extraction, off-road industrial transport and light-duty gasoline-powered trucks.

Heyman said more needs to be done to meet the targets and the province will set industry-specific targets by March 31.

“The gap that we see today signals the need to redouble our efforts to reduce emissions and to achieve our targets,” Heyman told a news conference.

“We are continuing to do significant work to deliver a detailed road map to our 2030 target and we’re committed to delivering that by the end of next year.”

The announcement came as B.C. released its 2020 Climate Change Accountability Report.

It shows that in 2018 — the most recent year for which data is available — gross greenhouse gas emissions were 67.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This represents an increase of 4.5 megatonnes from 2007 levels, and was three per cent higher than 2017 emissions, the report says.

The models suggest emissions were expected to begin stabilizing in 2019 before decreasing in 2020 as CleanBC programs begin to take hold along with the effects of COVID-19.

Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, called the report a “sobering” wake-up call.

“The report offers a frank assessment: our climate plan has a gaping hole that we must fill,” she said in a statement.

Environmental group Stand.earth said the gap to B.C.’s legislated 2030 target has increased from 5.5 megatonnes in the 2019 report to between 7.2 and 11.2 megatonnes.

“Clearly this is a major setback for the government’s plan to meet our climate targets,” Sven Biggs, the group’s Canadian oil and gas program director, said in a news release.

Andrew Radzik, energy campaigner at the Georgia Strait Alliance, said the government can’t expand fracking and the LNG Canada project if it’s serious about meeting its climate goals. The report shows that while other sectors have reduced their emissions, oil and gas emissions continue to grow at an “alarming” rate, he said.

Heyman said LNG Canada, which is not yet operational, is not responsible for the gap in reaching the provincial targets. The government has no plans to rule out future LNG expansion so long as it fits within the CleanBC targets.

“This isn’t a light switch, this is like a dimmer, we’re transitioning,” he said. “To transition, you want to support industries that exist today and make them less carbon intensive and promote and support wide diversification into the jobs and economy of the future.”

Data in the report is from 2018 and does not yet reflect the effects of what has already been done under CleanBC, he said.

The plan has seen successes, such as the “tremendous” uptake of light-duty electric vehicles, he said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gathered at the Duncan Cenotaph on April 9 to commemorate the First World War Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley veterans remember Battle of Vimy Ridge

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gather at Duncan Cenotaph

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num signs installed in downtown Duncan

Project a partnership between City of Duncan, DDBIA and Cowichan Tribes

Crofton Fire Department members on the scene of Twin Gables fire in February of 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Citizens’ group calls for action at Crofton’s Twin Gables Motel

Crofton waterfront site called an eyesore and a nuisance property

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read