Horgan unveils climate action plan

B.C. New Democrat leader John Horgan yesterday released a climate action plan that he says will cut carbon pollution, create good jobs, and double the number of British Columbians receiving rebate cheques to offset a higher federal carbon tax.

“Christy Clark and her Liberals have zero ability to see beyond the immediate needs of corporate friends and the big polluters who pay their bills,” said Horgan, in a press release. “British Columbians can’t afford another decade of worsening pollution. Her plan isn’t working for people, it isn’t creating good jobs, and it isn’t good for our environment. She’s got us going in the wrong direction for our province, our kids and grandkids. We’ve got to turn this around for B.C. – we can move towards a better, clean-growth economy while significantly reducing carbon pollution.”

BC NDP leader John Horgan

Horgan’s plan is to double the number of people who currently receive rebates, designed to cushion the impact of the federal government’s carbon tax. He said that while less than 40 per cent of people currently get rebates, under his plan that number will double.

“With our climate action plan, 80 per cent of families will receive rebates. We’ll make sure that the corporations that profit from polluting pay – not average families.

After family rebates are paid to British Columbians, the New Democrat climate plan will invest the remaining carbon tax revenues in public transit, expanding clean and green technology industries, and building energy efficient construction in every B.C. community. Currently carbon tax revenues collected by the government are used to reduce taxes in other areas of the provincial budget.

Under Christy Clark, carbon pollution in British Columbia has risen by more than three per cent and continues to trend upwards, Horgan claims. According to the B.C. NDP, from 2007 to 2011, with a carbon tax in place and rising gradually, carbon pollution in B.C. dropped by 4.7 per cent. Since Christy Clark became premier in 2011, carbon pollution has increased by 3.3 per cent, they say.

“The federal government has said they’ll impose a new carbon price. We need a made-in-B.C. approach that gets us the right results, more good jobs that last and real reductions in carbon pollution, without making average families pay the price,” said Horgan.

“It’s also time to respect the hard work of the Climate Leadership Team by putting their recommendations into action to cut emissions and set targets, because the only way to defend our environment is to make sure pollution is going down, not up.”

As recommended by the Climate Leadership Team, the BC New Democrats will establish targeted and transparent mechanisms for emission-intensive, trade exposed sectors that mitigate the competitiveness issues created for those sectors, in consultation with industry and their workers. Horgan will also establish separate sectoral reduction goals and sectoral climate action plans for transportation (30 per cent reduction by 2030), industry (30 per cent reduction by 2030), and buildings and homes (50 per cent reduction by 2030).