It’s had the feel of a strange year. A good point was at the C40 meeting in Mexico City, where four major world cities affirmed that they would ban diesel engines in their boundaries. A low point was in Canada where we have experienced one of the warmest summers in history. And satellite photography reaffirms that the polar ice is melting at a much faster rate than expected.
In the face of that kind of evidence, our Provincial approach to climate change and to adapting to 21st century concerns about the environment appear to be at odds.In Metro Vancouver the Port is discussing adding a new terminal on the sensitive migratory flyway habitat, one of the few in the world. There is also a curiously jumbo retail megamall destination built on class one farmland on the delta river floodplain. And we are going for the triple play with the building of a ten lane bridge replacing the Massey tunnel on the same arable soils, ostensibly to reduce idling and maybe to let larger vessels go up the Fraser River.
Ian Bailey writing in the Globe and Mail reports on a study for the Pembina Institute, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and Clean Energy Canada that puts British Columbia in the “fail” category: “The analysis of British Columbia’s recently released Climate Leadership Plan says carbon pollution from natural gas, industry and utilities, transport and buildings will hit 66 megatonnes in 2050, far more than the province’s legislated target of 12.6 megatonnes. The assessment, conducted by energy and environment consultants at Navius Research, said growing carbon pollution from the liquefied natural gas sector – assuming it comes online – and upstream shale-gas operations will constitute the largest contributor to the size of the gap with carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas doubling by 2025″.
That means that the current Provincial government will not make its goal of reducing emissions by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020. The local associate director of the Pembina Institute stated “The province is increasingly trumpeting its climate leadership but we’re not on track, and we’re going in the wrong direction from a climate and carbon pollution perspective.”
The Province’s response has been surprising, including statements that the Province has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions,and that there will be no carbon tax increase until the other provinces do it as well.
Somehow we have singlemindly looked at industry and shipping driving the economy, and forgotten that the service industry is becoming a larger component. For some reason the Province’s thinking is 20th century industry based, and not responsive to climate change indicators or the need for flexibility and adaptability as shown in Alberta. With five months left to a Provincial election, innovative thinking and ownership is needed. Our future may depend on it.