BC government in court Tuesday to face accusations of inadequate climate plan

The suit, brought by Ecojustice on behalf of Sierra Club BC, alleges that the government’s plan for the 2025, 2040 and 2050 climate targets is inadequate and omits details on how it plans to reduce carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector.


The province will be in British Columbia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday for two days to face accusations from environmental groups that it failed to provide an adequate plan to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets to combat climate change.

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The lawsuit, filed by Ecojustice on behalf of Sierra Club BC in March, alleges the government’s plan it falls woefully short in not including a plan for the 2025, 2040 and 2050 climate goals, and it leaves out details on how it plans to reduce carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector.


The Sierra Club contends that the failure to do so has left the industry and the public in the dark about whether BC is on track to meet its emissions targets.

The first target, 2025, is three years away and requires a 16 percent reduction below 2007 emissions levels.

However, the latest government data shows that in 2020, BC only achieved a one per cent reduction below 2007 levels. If carbon offsets from forest management projects are included, that figure rises to three percent.

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Experts told Postmedia to meet the targets you need limit natural gas emissions and reduce methane emissions. Oil and gas production and transmission are the second largest sources of greenhouse gases in the province, after road and rail transportation.

Sierra Club alleges that there is a lack of accountability in the Climate Change Responsibility Law and that the province must include the implications of the expansion of natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) extraction facilities, which are sources of emissions to long term.

“We are experiencing more and more extreme weather impacts around the world, such as the hurricane in Florida, the ongoing heat waves in China, and this shows that we are running out of time to address and acknowledge the gaps in our climate action plans. “, said. Jens Wieting, a prominent Sierra Club climate activist, in an interview on Saturday.

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“We need to stop building new fossil fuel projects. So the question for the British Columbia government now is what level of leadership can we expect to ensure we don’t start any new (fossil fuel) projects.”

He also questioned how BC can meet its climate goals while continuing to greenlight new LNG projects.

Asked for comment ahead of the court case on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the BC Ministry of the Environment referred Postmedia to its earlier statement on the case.

In May, the BC government filed a response to the lawsuit, saying the case should be dismissed. Argued the issues raised by the Sierra Club they amount to a difference of opinion and are not matters for the courts.

The government maintains that the Sierra Club’s complaint is that the plans are simply not to the “Sierra Club’s liking”, particularly with respect to the objectives of the oil and gas sector.

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While the report does not contain chapters devoted to quantifying progress toward the 2025, 2040 or 2050 goals, its supporting material is “packed with information” on how the various steps outlined in the report will achieve incremental reductions over time, argued the government in its response to the demand.

In an emailed statement, the government said that “BC has the strongest climate responsibility measures in Canada, ensuring credibility and transparency,” and that any future government is legally required to report publicly on progress on climate change. the achievement of climate goals.

Wieting argued that the government can do better in terms of accountability and transparency.

“The clock is ticking for climate change,” he said. “The government must show that we can meet our objectives because there is no room for error. Globally we see that we are crossing all those red lines. We already see catastrophic impacts around the world…acting now is extremely important to prevent even worse climate disasters in the years to come.”

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The Climate Change Responsibility Law requires the government to publish annual reports on how it plans to make progress towards its climate goals. BC’s goals are for emissions across the province to be at least 40% below 2007 levels by 2030, at least 60% below by 2040 and 80% below by 2050.

Emissions from transportation, which is the province’s largest greenhouse gas source, fell in 2020 for the first time since 2011. However, they were still 10 percent higher in 2020 than in 2007, the baseline that the province used to set targets.

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—with Nathan Griffiths files

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