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

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

New Carnarvon Park field-house could cost $4.3M

Both tennis and pickleball courts are included in new draft plan

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Student Voice: Saanich students launch competitive robotics team

The Reynolds Reybots plan to share their skills with middle schools

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read