British Columbia

Christy Clark won't commit to climate leadership team's recommendations

In an interview on B.C. Almanac, Christy Clark said she wouldn't commit to any of the recommendations from the climate leadership team she appointed in April without more consultation.

Clark says more consultation required and that focus should be on buildings, transportation, not industry

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark smiles during s groundbreaking event at FortisBC's Tilbury LNG facility expansion project in Delta, B.C. in 2014. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is refusing to commit to any of the recommendations from the climate leadership team she appointed last summer.

In an interview with B.C. Almanac host Gloria Macarenko, Clark was asked point-blank if she would accept any of the team's recommendations, in particular, its recommendation to resume regular increases to the carbon tax, which Clark froze in 2012.

"We've received the recommendations. We haven't sort of endorsed them," she said. "We need to really talk to people. There's a lot of recommendations, not just the one you've mentioned, so let's consult, and then decide where we're going to go next and when we want to get there."

"We are leaders now. Nobody has caught up to us. … but we want to stay leaders, so we want to act on that and act on the elements that we think could work."

Clark appointed members from B.C. businesses, First Nations, local governments, academia, and environmental groups to the team, and last week they came back with a list of 32 recommendations to help guide the province in the fight against climate change.

Those recommendations include regular $10-per-ton increases to the carbon tax starting in 2018, making B.C.'s electricity production 100 per cent renewable by 2025 and lowering the PST to offset the costs to individuals.

And while the climate leadership team believes B.C. is sure to miss its 2020 target of 33 per cent lower emissions than 2007, Clark also said she doesn't know if B.C. will be able to meet its new 2030 interim target of 40 per cent lower emissions than 2007.

Clark highlighted energy efficiency in buildings, public transportation, energy transmission and pipelines as potential future areas of work for reducing B.C.'s carbon footprint.

"Most of the emissions come from those areas, not industrial emitters," she said.

Mark Jaccard, professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Resource and Environmental Management said that Clark must take "complete" responsibility for missing emissions targets.

"Christy Clark came in in 2011 and immediately froze everything," he said. "All of that was in place and moving towards ensuring that we would hit the 2020 target by also hitting the 2012 and the 2016."

"We were in line to hit the 2012, then Christy Clark froze everything, stopped all the effort."

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