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press release

New climate accountability bill triggers much-needed reboot of B.C. climate laws

October 31, 2019

VANCOUVER – The Government of British Columbia’s proposed Climate Accountability Amendment Act, tabled today, triggers a much-needed reboot of the province’s climate laws, Ecojustice climate director Alan Andrews says.

If passed, the new bill would strengthen B.C.’s climate laws by requiring the government to publish detailed annual progress reports, establishing an independent expert climate watchdog tasked with holding the government’s feet to the fire, and requiring the government to set sectoral and interim targets.

Alan Andrews, Ecojustice’s climate director, issued the following statement in regards to the bill:

“British Columbians need immediate action to respond to the climate emergency. We also need strong laws to ensure that B.C. stays on track to a low carbon future.

“After years of missed targets and broken promises, the proposed Climate Accountability Amendment Act is a welcome step towards greater transparency and accountability. The reforms outlined in the bill, including establishing an independent climate committee and moving to more detailed and regular reporting, set the foundations for a system that will help British Columbians better hold politicians to account for meeting climate targets

“Ecojustice will continue to work with the government to build on those foundations in the years to come. In particular, we will focus on ensuring that the newly-established climate committee has adequate resources to do its job free from government influence, that the government sets sectoral targets that ensure every sector of the economy does its fair share in cutting carbon, and that B.C.’s targets keep pace with developments in climate science.

“The government is currently focused on closing the gap between current policies and the province’s 2030 target of a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases — and rightly so.

“However, the current targets are clearly inadequate. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the science tells us that we must nearly halve global emissions by 2030 in order to reach net-zero by 2050. Moving forward, Ecojustice will continue to urge B.C. to keep pace with climate leaders around the world that are committing to targets that match that science.

“Beyond B.C., Ecojustice also hopes the Climate Accountability Act will inspire other provinces and the federal government to follow suit by grounding climate action on the principles of transparency, accountability and the rule of law, rather than partisan politics and empty promises.”