B.C. greenhouse gas emissions have risen in four of past five years

A letter to the editor by Peter Jarvis

On the Jan. 11, 2018 the Sierra Club issued a press release on British Columbia’s greenhouse gas inventory – as part of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change BC published its greenhouse gas inventory for 2015. It is clear that B.C. (and Canada as a whole) is not meeting its commitments. By the government’s own numbers GHG Production is 63.3 million tonnes per year in 2015 and has only fallen by 2.1 per cent since 2007 and increased 1.6 per cent in 2015 – hardly the 33 per cent reduction for 2020 nor the 80 per cent reduction by 2050 that was promised. Worse, these numbers do not include GHG emissions from forest fires – reported to be 48 million tonnes in 2015 and with four times as much area burned in 2017 the numbers will be much higher.

As the Sierra Club says “British Columbians need to see their new government wake up to the urgency of the situation and take action that will dramatically reduce emissions in the coming years.”

While we understand that people need to earn a living, the cost of attacking climate change now will be much less than the cost incurred if we do nothing, including; lost wages, increased flood and drought damage, loss of farmland/woodlands/environment, increased firefighting costs, loss of environment for people and animals, and at this time unseen costs. As the Sierra Club says, sixteen of the seventeen warmest years on record have occurred this century.

The previous B.C. government organized an extensive review under the direction of the Climate Leadership Team which issued the Climate Action Plan in August 2016. These recommendations were probably not sufficient to meet the GHG goals established but even these were not implemented. The new B.C. government needs to recommit to these goals of GHG reduction and implement some concrete measures.

Peter Jarvis

South Cariboo Sustainability Society

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