British Columbia

B.C. climate plan changes hold government accountable, minister says

British Columbia's environment minister says the province is trying to be more transparent in reporting its progress in fighting climate change through legislative changes introduced Wednesday.

Amendments to the Climate Change Accountability Act introduced Wednesday in legislature

B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, shown here in 2018, says new legislation requires the government to set interim reduction targets for carbon emissions. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

British Columbia's environment minister says the province is trying to be more transparent in reporting its progress in fighting climate change through legislative changes introduced Wednesday.

George Heyman said the amendments to the Climate Change Accountability Act mandate more detailed tracking of the ongoing status of carbon reduction efforts and would establish an independent oversight body to monitor progress.

B.C. set legislated climate goals last year to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent from 2007 levels by 2030.

"This bill contains provision for an interim target to be set between now and 2030 to show whether or not we are on a good path to reach the target that we've legislated and said we're working toward," Heyman said at a news conference.

"When passed this government will in future be accountable in a number of ways through regular reports to the legislature for the actions and progress we take to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage climate change," he said.

Heyman said the amendments would also require the annual public reporting of the government's climate change results.

The legislation mandates the government establish interim reduction targets for carbon emissions by the end of next year, said Heyman. It would also set individual reduction targets for different economic sectors including transportation and energy by March 31, 2021.

'Trust us is not good climate policy'

"I want to commit to young people in B.C. and to all British Columbians that we take climate change seriously," Heyman said. "Today's measures ensure you will be able to judge our progress and our honesty for yourselves."

The Green party says it collaborated with the province's minority NDP government on the amendments.

"I know that transparent, accurate, timely and publicly accessible data is crucial to achieving our climate commitments, and holding governments to account," said Green Leader Andrew Weaver. "Trust us is not good climate policy."

Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith said B.C.'s environmental accountability framework is an example of a strong, action-oriented climate plan.

"This legislation is going to help citizens see if this is happening, and if not, to hold government's feet to the fire," she said.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.