BC Climate Action Report Card grades the Province with an ‘F’

Broad coalition calls for urgent climate action from B.C. Premier-designate David Eby to prevent more fires, floods, and fossil fuel expansion

Squamish climate strike - Tracey Saxby

Youth demand climate action at the Global Climate Strike in Squamish, September 2019. Photo: Tracey Saxby


The BC Climate Emergency Campaign has issued a failing grade to the Province for its progress on implementing 10 urgent actions to confront the climate emergency.

The Report Card is based on an open letter that was first published in September 2021, with the support of 200 organizations. One year later, the open letter now has more than 450 organizational signatories, collectively representing over two million British Columbians, or the equivalent of nearly half of the province’s population.

The Report Card calls for Premier-designate David Eby and his administration to prioritize urgent climate action to protect residents of B.C. from the intensifying climate disasters that are already impacting human health and well-being across the province, with a disproportionate impact on Indigenous peoples.

Since the open letter was first published a year ago, B.C. has experienced two atmospheric rivers, severe flooding, and catastrophic landslides; followed by severe drought, wildfires, and low water levels in rivers across the province that have stranded tens of thousands of salmon before they could spawn.

While outlining his agenda last week, Premier-designate Eby said; “We cannot continue to subsidize fossil fuels and expect clean energy to manifest somehow. We cannot continue to expand fossil-fuel infrastructure and hit our climate goals. Our legislated climate targets are of significant importance; targets I want our province to hit.”

The BC Climate Emergency Campaign welcomes these priorities and urges Premier-designate Eby to implement these priorities during his first 100 days in office, and to commit to the other urgent climate actions outlined in the open letter and Report Card.

The 10 urgent climate actions, and their grades, are:


Set binding climate targets based on science and justice – FAIL

Rationale: No plan to achieve the 2025 target, which makes the major gaps and shortcomings in the plan to achieve the 2030 target unacceptable. No plan to achieve the legislated 2040 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets.


Invest in a thriving, regenerative, zero emissions economy – FAIL

Rationale: Did not invest two percent of B.C.’s GDP to advance the zero emissions economy.


Rapidly wind down all fossil fuel production and use – FAIL

Rationale: No plan to rapidly phase out and decommission existing fossil fuel production, use, and exports, coupled with a focus on false solutions that will continue fossil fuel extraction and use, including: blue hydrogen; renewable gas; carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); carbon offsets; and LNG as a marine fuel.


End fossil fuel subsidies and make polluters pay – PROGRESS

Rationale: B.C. ended the Deep Well Royalty Credit program in 2022, however, new fossil fuel subsidies and incentives to expand fracking were created through B.C.’s Royalty Review.


Leave no one behind – PROGRESS

Rationale: An investment of $134 million to the CleanBC Communities Fund to fund climate action infrastructure projects for Indigenous communities and Local Governments. However, there is no comprehensive plan to support vulnerable communities, including fossil fuel workers, resource-dependent communities, Indigenous or remote communities from the impacts of climate change. The implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is incoherent and inconsistent.


Protect and restore nature – FAIL

Rationale: No plan to protect 30 percent of terrestrial ecosystems by 2030 and limited progress made to conserve terrestrial ecosystems in recent years, and continued logging of old-growth forests and failure to implement deferrals.


Invest in local, organice, regenerative agriculture and food systems – Progress

Rationale: Currently developing a food security policy framework to mitigate climate impacts on food security, and made a commitment to support Indigenous communities in upholding Indigenous food sovereignty in the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.


Accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation – Progress

Rationale: CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 committed to reduce distances traveled in light-duty vehicles by 25 percent by 2030, compared to 2020, which is an important, and very ambitious target that sets the standard for other provinces to follow. Accelerated the goal of zero emissions for all new vehicles from 2040 to 2035.


Accelerate the transition to zero emission buildings – FAIL

Rationale: No commitment to end natural gas heating in new buildings until 2030, no plan to eliminate fossil fuel heating by 2035, and no plan to build new affordable zero emissions buildings.


Track and report progress on these actions every year – FAIL

Rationale: The Minister’s annual Climate Change Accountability Report does not comply with its own climate legislation because it fails to explain how B.C.’s climate plans will achieve its 2025, 2040, 2050 targets and the 2030 oil and gas sector target, leaving the public unable to hold B.C. accountable for its progress (or lack of progress) to these targets.


QUOTES

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson

“Our peoples’ experiences over the past year have shown that this province is deeply unprepared for the realities of the climate crisis and yet the Crown continues on with business as usual with fossil fuels and deforestation. Government’s unwillingness to make real change to the unsustainable extractive economy despite the violations of Indigenous rights and the undeniable risks to the climate is irresponsible and wilfully ignorant of what communities are facing on the ground today, let alone what will come if emissions continue to increase.”

Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria, Registered Professional Planner Eric Doherty,

“B.C. committed to reduce vehicle kilometers traveled 25 percent by 2030 in the October 2021 CleanBC update. This is an ambitious and important climate action target. But a year has passed and the provincial government still seems to be planning for a future with more, not less, car traffic.”

Worker Solidarity Network, Interim Executive Director Pamela Charron

“Natural disasters such as rising temperatures, extreme flooding, and active wildfires disproportionately affect essential, precarious workers. Climate catastrophes impact low wage workers when faced with business closures, and at a time when workers are struggling to make ends meet, it’s crucial that the B.C government ensures that no one is left behind since all workers deserve decent work.”

My Sea to Sky, Executive Director and Marine Scientist Tracey Saxby

“F is for fires, floods, and fossil fuels. For the past year, the B.C. government has consistently failed to respond to the climate emergency with the urgency required to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees of warming. But it’s not too late. We urge Premier-designate David Eby to commit to being a climate leader. Because innovative and transformative change is not only possible, but an unprecedented opportunity to generate new, vibrant economic and social wealth as together we tackle the climate emergency.”

Stand.earth, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director Sven Biggs
“I wholeheartedly agree with Premier-designate Eby when he says we cannot continue to subsidize fossil fuels but B.C. still has some of the highest provincial fossil fuel subsidies in Canada, second only to Alberta. Fossil fuel companies are making record profits, yet the B.C. government is still using public money to incentivise new fracking wells and LNG terminals. I look forward to seeing our new Premier’s plans to close those tax loopholes and cancel those incentives.”

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, President-elect & Vancouver family physician Dr. Melissa Lem

“Whether it’s by polluting land, water and air upstream – or the very air we breathe in our homes – continued expansion of natural gas extraction and use in B.C. is incompatible with a healthy future. Climate change is a health emergency that has already harmed thousands of people in this province. It’s imperative that the B.C. government step up its pace on the clean energy transition to save lives.”

Wilderness Committee, Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney

“Climate disasters we’ve seen in recent months and years will only get worse until we stop burning fossil fuels. Yet the provincial government continues to try and justify building an LNG industry that will only create more climate pollution. Premier-designate Eby needs to make good on his promises and reject new fossil fuel infrastructure. He’ll have the chance early on as a decision is due on Tilbury LNG’s marine jetty in the first weeks of his term.”

Sustainabiliteens, Core Coordinator Zoha Faisal

“Unprecedented numbers of young people have begun paying attention to B.C. politics, and climate justice is a top priority. The need for a just transition and systemic transformation is clearer than ever, and time is running out. We’ll be paying attention to these next few years closely, and we’ll remember it when voting day comes.”

– 30 –

Images and Resources

Images, photo credits and cutlines, as well as graphs of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions trends are available in this online folder:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/16rv1WvAm6MP2-0GCOB2yBX3U6JuLB74Y

About the BC Climate Emergency Campaign

The BC Climate Emergency Campaign is a group of civil society organizations, anxious about the climate emergency, that are collaborating to increase the ambition of climate policy and action in B.C. We are not a formal coalition, but have chosen to work together on a joint campaign. Signatories of the open letter include agriculture, arts, business, community, education, environment, faith, food producers, health, housing, Indigenous, labour, local government, outdoor recreation, research, seniors, tourism, and youth organizations, bcclimateemergency.ca


Unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-waututh) First Nations (Vancouver) | October 27, 2022


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