May 29, 2011

Here’s what bold climate targets look like


Premier Christy Clark recently re-affirmed her commitment to BC’s greenhouse gas emission targets in an open letter to British Columbians. That’s good (and thanks to our friends at the Sierra Club of BC for drawing this to my attention). To remind folks: BC has committed to reduce it’s GHG emissions by 33% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050 (below 2007 levels).

In contrast, at the federal level, the Harper government (as it likes to be called), has only committed to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions by 17% by 2020 (below 2005 levels). And at the moment it remains entirely unclear how even this completely inadequate goal will be achieved.

But check out what another Conservative government is doing: across the pond, the UK Conservative coalition government has taken a very different approach to tackling climate change. The UK government recently committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 50% by 2025, below 1990 levels (see here for details), and that target will be embedded in legislation.

Note the different base years: 1990 for the UK vs. 2005 for Canada and 2007 for BC. Than means that if Canada did reduce its GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, our emissions would still be well above our 1990 levels.

Nice to know how much more ambitious other industrialized countries with Conservative governments are prepared to be.