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British Columbia is first province to set emission targets

CO2 emissions are responsible for roughly two-thirds of Earth's warming - AFP
CO2 emissions are responsible for roughly two-thirds of Earth's warming - AFP

British Columbia has set into motion an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030, using 2007 as its benchmark, said George Heyman, the province’s Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister.

In an interview with CTV News Canada on Friday, Heyman said that setting emissions targets in four sectors of the economy is achievable, and will be good for both the environment and the economy.

“We’re going to partner with industry, with the oil and gas sector, with the transportation sector, with people in communities and people who build, own, and maintain buildings to reach those targets, Heyman said.

According to Business in Vancouver, the goal is to achieve the following reductions, below 2007 levels, by 2030:
1. transportation – 27% to 32%;
2. industry – 38% to 43%;
3. oil and gas – 33% to 38%; and
4. buildings and communities – 59% to 64%

The BC government also announced there will be funding available to help in achieving those goals. To make this possible, businesses and public bodies can apply to the CleanBC Industry Fund to help fund projects, like fuel switching that reduces their emissions profile. The province is providing $33 million to 19 CleanBC Industry Fund projects.

While environmentalists praised the move by the province, many think even tougher measures need to be placed on the oil and gas sector. Andrew Radzik, a spokesman for the Georgia Strait Alliance, in a statement called for an end to oil and gas subsidies.

“Setting the target, while important, is not enough,” he said. “Without ending subsidies to this climate destabilizing industry, B.C. will miss yet another in a long string of unmet climate targets,” he said.

B.C.’s carbon tax has been collected since 2008 and shows that the province is fully committed to building a low-carbon economy, said Heyman.

“If we want to leave a planet that’s more sustainable, that’s healthier for our children and grandchildren, we need to account for the costs of doing that,” Heyman said. “Our plan is in place to move steadily toward our targets and to partner with individuals, families and businesses to do just that.”

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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