Spencer Chandra Herbert: Premier Christy Clark moving B.C. in wrong direction on climate change

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by Spencer Chandra Herbert on April 22nd, 2015 at 3:29 PM

On Earth Day, we are reminded our air, land, and water is the source of all life. We must safeguard these life support systems, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. The future of our way of life depends on the choices we make today and in the coming years. That’s why on Earth Day it’s important to recognize and confront what may be the greatest challenge that has ever faced humanity—global climate change.

I believe that climate change is real and responding to climate change demands real action. That’s not a very controversial statement in 2015. Premier Christy Clark is willing to acknowledge that human activity is changing our atmosphere, even though some members of her caucus are still unconvinced. But sadly Premier Clark has reversed action taken by the previous premier, and is making climate change worse.

John Horgan and B.C.’s New Democrats believe that real, positive action on climate change is not only a moral commitment to our children, but also an essential component of a strong economy. We hope the premier will join us, but so far it’s not looking good. In fact, so far Premier Clark has only moved in the wrong direction.

Premier Clark froze B.C.’s carbon tax indefinitely, an action government staff say will lead to less and less success fighting climate change. And get this, not a penny of the money raised goes towards fighting climate change. Rather than helping British Columbians lower their power bills while cutting greenhouse gas emissions as New Democrats have campaigned for, the premier gutted the popular and effective LiveSmart program, which has not only harmed our efforts to cut climate-changing emissions, but cost our province many jobs.

New Democrats believe we must invest in transit to cut climate change emissions, save British Columbians money, and cut the time wasted in congestion. Unfortunately the Premier and her Liberals are hiding behind a divisive referendum, and refusing to act. There are innovative cap-and-trade emissions programs being developed in several Canadian provinces. Instead of engaging with our neighbours, Premier Clark changed the law to prevent B.C. from participating.

Most egregiously, Premier Clark decided that 70 percent of climate-changing emissions from any LNG development in B.C. would not be counted as emissions for those facilities. It’s easy to talk about “the world’s cleanest LNG” when you ignore almost three quarters of the climate-changing emissions. And that’s what Christy Clark is doing—saying one thing and then doing another.

Talking about climate change can be discouraging. After all, we’ve all watched over the last decade as big talk translates into little action as our climate warms. Here in B.C., we had a few short years of government effort under the previous administration. Unfortunately since Christy Clark became premier climate change emissions in B.C. have gone up every year.

We can and must do better. John Horgan and the New Democrats are committed to reducing climate changing emissions by at least 33 percent by 2020. But that takes effort now. Action can’t wait until after the 2017 provincial election. We will continue to stand with British Columbians who are making a difference, and fighting climate change each and every day. Our government must listen to the people, and think of the future. There are many ways we could be making the change today—we just need to convince our government to act. We must leave our province, and our world a better place for our children, and that means reducing greenhouse gas emissions every year. We’re committed; let’s work together to make it happen.
Spencer Chandra Herbert is the B.C. NDP spokesperson for the environment and the MLA for Vancouver-West End.