OPINION: Climate leadership and a strong, sustainable economy that works for people

BY B.C. PREMIER JOHN HORGAN

 

THE annual global temperature record has been broken five times since 2005, including the last three years. The threats to our food, our water supply and our health are undeniable.
Climate change affects everyone. Sitting back and accepting the status quo isn’t an option. If we do that, we fail our kids and our shared future. But how do we find solutions?
For me, that means looking at the climate challenge as an opportunity to build a strong, sustainable economy that works better for people and the environment.
That’s why our government is making B.C. a leader in climate action, and working with climate leaders around the world to cut carbon pollution while making life more affordable for people and creating good jobs.
In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 23 in Bonn, Germany next week, I joined with the Governors of Washington State, Oregon, and California, and committed to collective action on climate change.
West Coast government leaders are building more sustainable economies by stepping up efforts to get more electric vehicles on roads, make buildings more energy efficient, advance renewable energy technology to help spur innovation, attract investment, create jobs, and make our communities more resilient for the future.
To that end, the B.C. government recently appointed a Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council that is tasked with providing a road map to building a strong sustainable economy that benefits everyone, while meeting our obligation to address climate change.
We have committed to legislating an interim target for 2030 of a 40% overall reduction in carbon emissions, and we are increasing the carbon tax by $5 per tonne each year, beginning April 1, 2018. This increase will be paired with new climate action rebate cheques to low and middle income families that will see most B.C. families receive more from the rebate than they’ll pay in new carbon taxes.
To put an end to the years of spiraling electricity costs that have made life less affordable for B.C. homeowners and renters, this week, our government delivered on its promise to freeze BC Hydro rates. The rate freeze makes life more affordable for British Columbians, and will keep rates low while we make sure BC Hydro has the resources it needs to continue to provide clean, safe, sustainable and reliable electricity.
We’re also supporting people, communities and businesses affected by the recent wildfires, standing up for B.C.’s interests in the face of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, and making reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a cross-government priority while protecting B.C.’s land, air and water.
Tackling the challenges of climate change and protecting B.C.’s environment means getting to work creating good jobs and a sustainable, innovative economy that puts people first. That’s exactly what we’re doing.
We’re making B.C. a climate leader. Because our shared future depends on it.

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