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Opinion: Some Encouraging News on the Climate Front

Karen Tam Wu of the Pembina Institute

The BC government has announced a key step toward creating a new, more effective climate-change strategy.  The multi-sector Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council is charged with advising the B.C. government and delivering its first public report in one year. Karen Tam Wu, acting BC Director of the Pembina Institute, has been apponted to the Council; she is director of  Pembina's Buildings and Urban Solutions program. 

The BC government has committed to getting the province back on track to its legislated 2050 target for reducing carbon pollution, while setting the stage for a healthy economy in the coming years. The government has promised to legislate a new 2030 target and establish separate sectoral targets and plans for emissions cuts. It has also pledged to create thousands of jobs through energy-efficiency retrofits.

Karen Tam Wu says, “In light of the stalled climate action and missed opportunities of recent years, B.C. needs to act swiftly and decisively to ratchet up measures to curb carbon pollution. I look forward to advising the government on how to jumpstart clean growth and secure a prosperous economy, safe communities, and healthy families in B.C.”

These are noble aims. Previous experience with "multi-sector" advisory groups has shown that if for-profit corporate interests have more representatives appointed to a group than public-interest groups, progress toward public-interest goals (such as curbing carbon pollution and mitigating climate change) can be stalled. Let's hope that won't happen here. At least the Pembina Institute has ideas and is putting them forward; they have identified five key priorities for building a clean economy: (1) Build a strong clean tech sector, (2) Position B.C. to be competitive in the changing global economy, (3) Make clean choices more affordable, (4) Stand up for healthy and safe communities, and (5) Grow sustainable resource jobs.

A Pembina Institute report, Deep Emissions Reduction in the Existing Building Stock, identifies key elements of an energy-efficiency retrofit strategy for B.C. which is, it says, a critical component of the climate solution.

Maximilian Kniewasser, director of the B.C. Climate Policy Program at the Pembian Institure, says “Well-designed climate policy can get our carbon pollution under control, help build a strong economy, and ensure low-income, middle-income, rural, and northern British Columbians benefit from clean growth. Today’s announcement is a step toward B.C. securing its economic prosperity as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.”

These are encouraging words. We wish Karen Tam Wu an effective year or more on the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council.