Time for a new direction in climate leadership

Oak Bay Gordon Head MLA says to be a climate leader we need strong climate policies

In 2008 I had the honour of working with Premier Gordon Campbell, his minister of environment Barry Penner, and the Climate Action Team to outline clear, bold and practicable steps that we as a province could take to address global warming. Despite the other policy issues that the Campbell government and I may have disagreed on, on this file we were making significant progress.

BC Liberal government of today, however, has worked hard to undo all of the progress we made.

I have been in the Legislature for three years now and it is increasingly clear we have given up our climate leadership. Instead, the government has pursued a reckless LNG strategy that will render our legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets meaningless if even a small portion of their hyperbole comes true.

I’ve been a climate scientist for over two decades. I’ve been outspoken on the need for climate action for almost as long, and the reversal in climate leadership in this province was one of the main catalysts that prompted my involvement in politics.

Other provinces are taking big steps while B.C.’s own commitment is being increasingly questioned, proving without a doubt that B.C. has lost the mantle of climate leadership

Both Alberta and Ontario are making big moves on the climate policy front. Ontario is planning to spend $7 billion in four years to aggressively revamp the province’s climate plan. They’re offering huge incentives from electric vehicles to retrofitting buildings, and their plan includes about 80 specific policies designed to reduce the province’s carbon footprint. This is a bold step forward and I commend Ontario for recognizing the opportunity and the responsibility to act.

On the flip side, members of B.C.’s own Climate Leadership Team are now criticizing the government on the lack of action. They produced a report for the government in November 2015 with 32 recommendations to get us back on track towards meeting our emission reduction targets. While the government promised swift action, nothing has been done.

The new Climate Leadership Team did some good work. In its report, it showed that we no longer have the ability to meet our 2020 targets because of policy choices made by the provincial government since 2012. It also highlighted the obvious – to be a climate leader we need strong climate policies.

Climate change is something that is already affecting all British Columbians. From droughts to wildfires to a changing growing season, we will all be touched in significant ways. The more we delay, the higher the cost will be.

Within this challenge is an opportunity. We can be leaders in Canada and in North America in mitigating and adapting to climate change. We should be developing cutting-edge technologies and innovate solutions. We used to be a leader in this field, but the lack of action over the past five years means we are no longer even contributing our part.

So where does that leave us? We know what we need to do. We have the tools and ability to get there. We just seem to be lacking actual climate leadership. It’s time for the government to step up and tell us the plan.

Andrew Weaver is the MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head.


Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read