British Columbia

Canada's climate change agenda can be pushed forward by premiers, says lawyer

Environmental lawyer David Richard Boyd says provinces and cities need to push their national counterparts into taking more aggressive action on climate change.

B.C. has to let the LNG pipedream go, says environmental lawyer David Richard Boyd

Ontario's coal-free electricity production is an example of what needs to happen nationally, says environmental lawyer David Richard Boyd. (Associated Press)

Canada has won the Fossil Award year after year for its inaction on climate change, but an environmental lawyer in B.C. believes provinces and cities can help Canada redeem itself as an environmental leader again.

Especially since Canada's premiers have taken up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's invitation to December's climate change summit in Paris.

"This is going to be a major chat feast," said lawyer David Richard Boyd, also author of The Optimistic Environmentalist. "The real work will happen not in Paris, but in Ottawa when delegation returns."

Boyd says environmental policies from provinces and cities need to be a lesson in national change. 

"Lots of positive things are happening locally," said Boyd, pointing to the end of coal-burning power plants in Ontario and British Columbia's carbon tax. 

"We need to put prices on carbon, like B.C., but we need a national price," he said.

"B.C.'s carbon tax was really innovative, but more than 40 countries have carbon tax and many have set it at a higher level."

"There was a time when B.C. could claim to be a global leader, but we need to re-up our game here," said Boyd, who has previously advised federal and civic leaders on climate change. 

Boyd believes the province is moving in the wrong direction with its liquefied natural gas plans.  

"We need to be investing in solar, wind and geothermal energy," he said. "Let that pipedream go." 

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled 'Optimistic environmentalist' looks ahead to Paris with the CBC's Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition.


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