Premier Christy Clark meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at UN climate talks in Paris

Paris climate deal leaves questions for B.C.

International agreement calls for additional emission cuts, but Canada and B.C. haven't decided how to do it

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other national leaders in hailing the international greenhouse gas emission agreement reached in Paris over the weekend, but the implications for Canada and B.C. remain unclear.

Trudeau said in a statement from Ottawa that he and the provincial premiers will meet within 90 days to develop a plan to do Canada’s part in the effort to keep average global temperature rise below two degrees from pre-industrial levels.

Canada’s official submission to the Paris talks was the previous Conservative government’s plan of a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, starting from the 2005 level, including restrictions on coal-fired power and methane emissions.

The Paris agreement notes that existing voluntary targets by countries do not meet what is calculated to prevent a two per cent increase, and more emission cuts will be required. Article 28 of the legal text also gives every country the ability, after three years of implementation, to give a year’s notice and withdraw.

In a year-end interview, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the government will wait until a national emissions goal is established before deciding whether to add measures to the existing carbon tax on carbon-based fuels. The B.C. tax has been frozen at $30 a tonne since 2013, adding about seven cents to the price of a litre of gasoline with similar increases for natural gas and other heating fuels.

An advisory committee recommended in November that the tax be increased by a third starting in 2018, with annual increases after to drive down carbon dioxide emissions.

Clark said the carbon tax freeze means B.C. won’t meet its own legislated target of reducing emissions by a third by 2020, but the government couldn’t keep raising it and risk pushing industries and jobs out of the province.

“Other provinces are starting to get closer to where we are,” Clark said. “By 2018, Alberta’s going to have come some way. By then Ontario will be into a plan, and Quebec already is.”

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan said he’s “comfortable” with the advisory committee’s date of 2018, which would give an NDP government time to assess the situation if he wins the 2017 B.C. election.

Horgan said he is inclined to support the carbon tax proposed recently by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, which means “taking revenues and driving them into industries, or activities like transit, that will reduce emissions over time.”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Young QMS cast shines in ‘Giants in the Sky’ musical

Kids find that sometimes being brave is good, but you still need supportive friends

Andrea Rondeau column: The internet has changed how we cover breaking news

If there’s ever anything you think we’ve missed, please feel free to contact us and let us know.

Sarah Simpson column: My history with bees

My dad is allergic to bees.

Strong showing for host school at Shawnigan Regatta

Shawnigan second in overall aggregate, tops U17 girls standings

T.W. Paterson column: Downtown ‘silo’ has become a Duncan landmark

“Imagine the Leaning Tower of Duncan! It would be the Ninth Wonder of the world

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

RCMP investigating after gunshots fired in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating after gunshots rang out in Courtenay… Continue reading

Most Read