British Columbia

NDP would lower carbon emissions but doesn't rule out more LNG projects

While he called the Pacific North West LNG project a "non-starter" as it stands, NDP Leader John Horgan said other LNG projects might be possible if they fit within a climate plan that sees carbon emissions decline.

Emissions have risen in B.C. since 2012; Leader John Horgan promises to reverse that trend if NDP elected

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan spoke about climate change at a speakers' series sponsored by the Broadbent Institute. (Don Marce/CBC)

NDP leader John Horgan says if elected, an NDP government would lower carbon emissions as part of a global effort to limit the impacts of climate change.

Horgan made the comments Monday in Vancouver at an event hosted by the progressive Broadbent Institute.

"What we need in British Columbia is a genuine commitment from the Government of B.C. to help the people of B.C. make the transition we need to make to ensure we don't see a two degree increase in temperature in the years ahead," Horgan said.

"Our emissions are going up. Our 2020 targets are not even talked about any longer. The climate action committee which [Premier Christy] Clark struck suggested 2030 targets, suggested 2050 targets. We're not going to have 2030 targets, and we're not going to meet our 2050 targets."

Horgan praised former premier Gordon Campbell's work making the province a "leader" in the fight on climate change, a position he says was lost when he was succeeded by Christy Clark.

"Under Ms. Clark's leadership, emissions have gone up and they will continue to go up for the next decade," he said. "Every climate policy should be judged on that one critical measurement: are we reducing emissions? Or are they going up?"

In a follow-up conversation with environmental activist Tzerporah Berman, Horgan spoke against raw log exports and "pipelines and pipe dreams" when it comes to LNG and petroleum exports from Alberta. He said resource exports should lead to milling and refining jobs in the province.

And while Horgan reiterated that the Pacific Northwest LNG project is "a non-starter" as it currently stands, he said he hasn't ruled out supporting projects, if the location is right, First Nations concerns are resolved, there is enough of an economic return and the emissions fit within a carbon reduction plan.

Horgan offered few specifics on how carbon reductions would be realized, but said the NDP would put forward a fuller environmental platform in the coming weeks.

In response to Horgan's comments, a Ministry of Environment spokesman said the 21 initiatives in the province's Climate Leadership Plan are a "significant start" to reducing B.C.'s carbon emissions by 20 megatonnes by 2050.