Climate oversight a game-changer in keeping B.C. on track, say environmental groups
VANCOUVER / COAST SALISH TERRITORY — A group of environmental organizations is highlighting the critical, new role given to the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council under the CleanBC plan, providing improved governance and better oversight of British Columbia’s new climate action plan. If implemented, this will be the first time that an advisory council is mandated under the Climate Change Accountability Act.
Ecojustice, Georgia Strait Alliance, Pembina Institute, and West Coast Environmental Law are delighted that a permanent, expert climate watchdog will be charged with holding the province to account for reaching its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Every year, it will produce a public report that details the steps the provincial government is taking and outlines the results to date.
Under the strategy, climate accountability is also woven into the mandates of several ministries, which must track emissions and their reductions and track the activities implemented to lower emissions. This will allow British Columbians — for the first time — to determine the efficacy of the market mechanisms that are included in the plan.
The four environmental organizations have been urging the government to improve climate accountability in its new plan, and they welcome these strengthened climate accountability actions that have the potential to bring B.C. in line with a growing trend towards comprehensive climate accountability laws, joining a list that includes the United Kingdom, Scotland, New Zealand, and Sweden.
Ecojustice — Alan Andrews, Spokesperson:
“Stronger laws are needed to keep B.C. on track on climate in the years and decades to come. Too often we have seen progress stall in the face of changing political winds. We look forward to working with the government in the new year on a revamped climate act that will make politicians accountable for their progress on climate.”
Georgia Strait Alliance — Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director:
“Climate accountability is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must have—and without further delay. Our leaders across all sectors have to consider the impacts that the decisions made by governments and industries will have on our coast, our communities, our economies and our futures.They can’t stop at considering, they must follow up with actions that prioritize climate accountability.”
Pembina Institute — Karen Tam Wu, B.C. Director:
“CleanBC puts B.C. on a path to getting 75 per cent of the way to our 2030 target for reducing carbon pollution. A transparent process for tracking our progress, taking into consideration the latest science and technology, and making timely course corrections is crucial to ensure we don’t miss our climate targets again. Let’s show Canada what climate leadership looks like.”
West Coast Environmental Law — Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer:
“We’ve seen other countries around the world meet their climate targets using accountability measures. B.C. is taking an important step by applying this model – and if Canada is serious about climate action, other provinces and the federal government should follow suit.”
Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.
Since 1990, Georgia Strait Alliance has been an effective voice for communities who care about the waters of Georgia Strait and all the creatures that call it home.
The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Learn more: www.pembina.org
West Coast Environmental Law harnesses the power of law to solve complex environmental challenges. Since 1974, West Coast has worked with communities, NGOs, the private sector and all levels of government, including First Nations governments, to develop proactive legal solutions to protect and sustain the environment. Learn more at www.wcel.org