Posted on March 26, 2021 (updated: November 25, 2021)

B.C. sets sectoral targets but squanders opportunity to boost climate accountability

Provincial legislature in Victoria, B.C.
Photo by sallan71 via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

VANCOUVER/UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) TERRITORIES  – The Government of British Columbia has released new emissions targets for four economic sectors, in a bid to help B.C. achieve its province-wide target of a 40 per cent reduction in emissions below 2007 levels by 2030.

The newly announced “sectoral targets” divide the province’s economy into four sectors, each with a target range for reducing emissions by 2030.  These new sectoral targets, expressed as a percentage reduction below 2007 emissions levels are:

  • Transportation (27 to 32 per cent)
  • Buildings and communities (59 to 64 per cent)
  • Oil and gas (33 to 38 per cent)
  • Industry (38 to 43 per cent)

Matt Hulse, a lawyer at Ecojustice, issued the following statement in response to the newly-announced sectoral targets:

“Sectoral targets can be a smart and effective tool for increasing clarity and accountability on climate action. Unfortunately, by breaking the economy into four broad categories rather than a suite of more specific industries, the government has squandered this opportunity to improve its approach to tackling the climate crisis.

“Establishing sectoral targets is a bit like breaking down a household budget. If all you have is one overarching monthly spending limit, it can be hard to stick to it.  It is much easier if you break that limit down into smaller budget items such as rent, groceries, entertainment, and other key expenses.  The more specific you are, the better you are able to track your spending and keep it in check.

“While Ecojustice welcomes the government’s decision to create a stand-alone target for the oil and gas sector, it is unclear how the government’s approval of the LNG Canada terminal and continued handouts to the LNG and fracking industries could possibly put this goal within reach.

“Overall, today’s announcement is disappointing.  Four sectoral targets do not provide the type of specificity and transparency on climate action that this government has been promising since it introduced the Climate Change Accountability Act in 2019.  Companies need specificity to help plan how to reduce their emissions and the public needs transparency to see who is reducing their emissions and who is not.  Without this accountability, we won’t reach our targets.

“That said, sectoral targets are just one aspect of B.C.’s climate plan.  If it’s serious addressing the climate crisis, B.C. must tell the public how it plans to meet its 2030 target, and the sectoral targets announced today.  Even though these targets are flawed, we can’t afford to miss them.”

About

Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

For media inquiries

Sean O’Shea, communications specialist | Ecojustice
soshea@ecojustice.ca, 416-368-7533 ext. 523

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