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Advocating for strong climate legislation in British Columbia

August 27, 2021

Keeping Canada liveable for generations to come requires urgent action to combat the climate crisis – and each province has a part to play. For British Columbia, that means strengthening and enforcing provincial climate laws and setting serious targets to hold industry accountable to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Ecojustice’s scientists and lawyers identified climate law reform as an essential step on B.C.’s path to a sustainable future. That’s why we’re part of an active coalition of organizations – alongside Pembina Institute, Sierra Club BC, West Coast Environmental Law, Georgia Strait Alliance and Stand.Earth – fighting for better climate laws in B.C.

There is no time to waste in the fight against climate change. B.C. is already a year late in developing a comprehensive plan to meet its 2030 emission targets. The province must act quickly to finalize and implement this plan and set us on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The first challenge the coalition tackled was putting pressure on the provincial government to introduce climate accountability legislation. This action led to improved governance and better oversight of British Columbia. Then, the group’s priority became urging the province to set strong emission reduction targets for each sector of the economy. BC established these “sectoral targets” in March 2021 and included a stand-alone target for the oil and gas sector – an important step in keeping track of the province’s largest and fastest growing emitter.

Along with its coalition partners, Ecojustice is now undertaking government relations work to push the provincial government to develop a detailed plan that breaks down the steps and necessary changes required for B.C. to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target (a 40% reduction from 2007 emissions levels).

A strong 2030 plan is part of our longer-term focus on ensuring the province has “a credible path to net zero.” During the 2020 provincial election, Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP committed to legislating a new net zero target for 2050. However, they have yet to outline how the province can achieve this goal while continuing to invest in fossil fuel development.

Climate accountability, ambitious sectoral targets and strong climate plans are crucial steps on the province’s challenging road to net zero. Ecojustice believes it is possible to help shape a sustainable, safer future for everyone in Canada through engagement in government relations and policy-making.

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