BC failing to do its part to address the global climate and biodiversity crisis
On the second day of the Earth Day Climate Summit, Sierra Club BC is issuing the following statement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 23, 2021
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — While an increasing number of governments across the world take meaningful steps to address the global climate and biodiversity crisis, British Columbia is not doing its part. Instead, the province continues to defend and subsidize fracking, old-growth logging and the destructive $16 billion dollar Site C dam, limiting British Columbians’ ability to finance effective climate action.
B.C. has long claimed to be a climate leader, but provincial emissions have stayed consistently high, a failure that contributes to Canada’s position as the only G7 country that has increased its emissions since the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.
Canada’s recent National Inventory Report shows that B.C.’s emissions have increased every single year since 2014 and reached 65.7 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. Not only have emissions increased compared to B.C.’s 2007 level, but they have gone up by 27 per cent compared to 1990 levels (51.8 million tonnes). For comparison, the U.K.’s emissions are now 42 per cent below 1990 levels; and even in the U.S., emissions have decreased in recent years despite the Trump administration.
This is unacceptable by all accounts, but especially considering global emissions must fall by more than seven per cent per year to avoid catastrophic climate change according to the UNEP gap report.
“If B.C. truly wants to become a climate leader, the province must follow the example of those countries that are setting climate targets based on what is needed to safeguard a livable climate, not wishful thinking. Meeting science-based targets will require stopping all new fossil fuel development, ending fossil fuel subsidies and phasing out the use and production of fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner.
“The B.C. government has an opportunity to lead the country — and North America — into an age of climate leadership, not only in terms of emissions reductions but also towards a Just Transition for workers and communities. But we are currently squandering this opportunity by spending billions on heavy subsidies to keep failing fossil fuel companies afloat while investing in the false promise of fracked gas. The money spent on propping up the industry should be redirected to transitioning our communities safely, equitably and quickly towards a zero-carbon future,” said Sierra Club BC climate justice campaigner Anjali Appadurai.
Additionally, B.C. is home to some of the tallest and most carbon-rich forests on the planet, but the province’s current climate action plan ignores massive uncounted forest emissions caused by clearcutting and slash burning. It also ignores the role that protecting and restoring intact forests could play in sequestering carbon.
“B.C.’s forest emissions could be significantly reduced by protecting old-growth forests and reforming forestry across the province to safeguard ecological integrity and biodiversity, as outlined in the old-growth panel report that Premier Horgan promised to implement,” added Wieting. “Despite this promise, old-growth logging continues unabated, talk-and-long prevails and the provincial budget announced this week doesn’t include funding to support communities and First Nations that seek to protect their last old-growth.”
“From closed-door meetings with oil executives to continued investment in dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Site C dam and fracking, the B.C. government is sending a clear signal that it prioritizes the fossil fuel industry over a climate-safe future. This is unacceptable to British Columbians, who have consistently shown that we care about leaving a better world for future generations,” added Appadurai.
Latest provincial GHG emissions data in Canada’s National Inventory Report
More information about BC’s skyrocketing uncounted forest emissions
Anjali Appadurai, Climate Justice Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 328-6443
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
email@example.com, (604) 354-5312
CORRECTION: A previous version of this media release stated that B.C.’s emissions had increased by 18 per cent compared to 1990 levels, after comparing provincial data for B.C.’s emissions in 1990 and federal data for B.C.’s emissions in 2019. For the purpose of consistency, however, it is important to use the same data source. Reviewing the federal data released in April 2021 for B.C.’s emissions in 1990 (51.8 million tonnes of CO2) and 2019 (65.7 million tonnes of CO2) shows that provincial emissions actually increased 27 per cent during this period.
(Canada’s NIR, part 3, page 33: https://unfccc.int/documents/271493)
Photo: Leila Darwish