The B.C. government has introduced first-of-its-kind climate legislation in North America, setting out legal accountability requirements to help ensure the province achieves its carbon pollution targets. The new Climate Change Accountability Act outlines a blueprint for climate accountability and transparency that will provide accurate, timely and publicly accessible data to ensure climate commitments are achieved.
To make sure the province is on track for long-term legislated emissions reductions, government will be required to set an interim emissions target on the path to the legislated 2030 target – which is 40 per cent in greenhouse gas reductions below 2007 levels. Separate 2030 sectoral targets will also be established following engagement with stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and communities throughout the province. This will make sure carbon pollution is reduced effectively across B.C.’s economy, homes, workplaces and transportation choices.
The recently tabled legislation includes new reporting requirements on actions to reduce carbon pollution, their cost and how they will achieve government’s legislated emission-reduction targets. The annual reports will outline the latest emissions data and projections, as well as actions planned for future years and the effect they are expected to have.
“We’re committed to meeting our climate targets and making sure our CleanBC plan gets us to where we need to go – that means being honest and transparent about our progress to make sure people can determine we’re on the right track,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“People across this province, and especially young people, are demanding we take the climate crisis seriously and that we make sure everyone works together to secure a stronger, cleaner future. That’s why we will work with communities, people and industry to put in place targets for each sector. What’s more, we’re mandating that the steps we’re taking are reported to the public every year, by law.”
Additional legislative changes will establish an independent advisory committee that will be modelled on the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council, now that the council has fulfilled its mandate.
Upon passage of the amendments, interim emissions targets will be established by ministerial order by no later than Dec. 31, 2020. Sectoral targets will be established no later than March 31, 2021.
“By strengthening the Climate Change Accountability Act with first-of-its-kind legislation in North America, the B.C. government is showing real leadership in responding to the climate emergency. The government’s willingness to be held accountable for its progress on climate change is worthy of commendation,” says Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute.
“These changes will allow anyone to track the province’s progress in the short term, including by sector, and help ensure we stay on track toward achieving B.C.’s long-term vision. We can no longer afford to miss our climate targets.”