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The carbon footprint of British Columbia is growing and has been growing for the last eight years despite a strong environmentalist lobby, , the latest provincial government data suggests. The Global and Mail quotes a spokesman for the Ministry of Environment as saying British Columbia has fallen off the rails leading to the achievement of its carbon emission reduction target for 2030.
The reason for this failure has, however, nothing to do with the oil industry as such. It’s simply a question of more people driving more cars.
“We’re still living in a fossil-fuel-based economy, and we’ve experienced economic and population growth,” the Globe and Mail quoted a Simon Fraser University researcher, Mark Jaccard, as saying. “More people are driving more cars, and unless we make a significant leap towards electric vehicles, these emissions will continue to rise.”
British Columbia had a target of cutting carbon emissions by 33 percent from 2007 levels to 2020. However, the new figures reveal the province has only succeeded in cutting emissions by 2.2 percent from 2007 levels, which means the 2020 target will be pretty much unattainable unless a radical change in driving habits takes place.
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Now, the British Columbia has a new target of reducing emissions by 40 percent from 2007 levels by 2030. That’s what the CleanBC plan devised by the new NDP government that came into office in 2017 envisages. According to Premier John Horgan, CleanBC includes steps to reduce emissions by 75 percent of the target amount by 2030 by encouraging a switch to more electric vehicles, greater use of renewable sources of energy and a pledge that by 2040 all new cars sold in the province will be zero-emission vehicles.
B.C.’s shift to cleaner energy has pitted the province against neighbor Alberta, which produces most of Canada’s oil and supplies B.C. with natural gas. British Columbians have been protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on pollution concern grounds and the government has joined in, stopping the project.
Now, B.C. residents are protesting a gas pipeline to a future project that the Horgan government is supporting: LNG Canada. The latest figures about emissions could intensify the environmental protests against the project, which the NDP government welcomed with open arms as the biggest single private investment in the province.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.