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Tackling B.C.'s Cost-of-Living and Environmental Challenges

CANCEL CLEAN BC BACKGROUNDER

The NDP’s so-called CleanBC Plan is a ‘Cost B.C.’ scheme that not only fails to meet our climate objectives but also places an unfair burden on working families who are already bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis. This path is projected to reduce household incomes by $11,000, roll back B.C.’s economic prosperity by a decade, result in the loss of over 200,000 jobs, and lead to nearly a $3 billion loss in tax revenue, impacting healthcare, education, and other vital services.

In response to the rising cost of living and the challenge of climate change, British Columbia urgently requires balanced and practical leadership. Our plan is firmly grounded in delivering tangible results, prioritizing affordability while setting us on a credible and measurable path towards our 2050 environmental goals. Unlike the NDP approach, our plan will ensure every dollar is directly tied to measurable emission reductions, offering real accountability and transparency.

Recognizing that B.C. contributes only 0.17 percent of global emissions, one of our most impactful contributions is the export of our clean energy resources to reduce emissions in China and other high-emitting countries. If British Columbia were to eliminate all its emissions, the impact would be akin to pausing China’s emissions for just under two days or the world’s emissions for just over 15 hours.

This plan to tackle B.C.’s cost-of-living and environmental challenges builds on our recent announcement of affordability-focused initiatives like eliminating the provincial fuel tax, lowering home heating and food costs, and halting planned carbon tax hikes to reduce immediate cost burdens.

Policy Commitments

  1. Scrap the NDP’s ‘Cost B.C.’ Scheme: Kevin Falcon and BC United will scrap the NDP’s ‘Cost B.C.’ scheme and replace it with practical, achievable measures that focus on tangible environmental results but also increase our economic prosperity, providing more jobs, higher incomes, and lower taxes for families.

  2. Boost B.C.’s Economy with Clean Energy Exports: Kevin Falcon and BC United will go all-in on B.C. LNG to reduce global emissions and position B.C. as a leader in clean energy, benefiting our economy and contributing to the global fight against climate change. It’s a triple win: reducing global emissions, decreasing our debt, and lowering taxes.

  3. Innovation & Realistic Emission Targets for Affordability: Kevin Falcon and BC United will chart a new and more realistic course towards 2050, underpinned by a strong emphasis on research, development, and deployment of sustainable technologies. We will achieve environmental targets in a way that brings people with us and doesn’t impose unacceptable costs on hard-pressed families. No more unachievable aims. No more penalties for people.

  4. Climate-Resilient Infrastructure for Economic Growth: Kevin Falcon and BC United will invest in climate-resilient infrastructure to not only prepare our province for the impacts of climate change, but also create jobs and economic growth. We’re going to do our part to address this global problem and address its local impacts, too, with investments in resilient reservoirs, durable dykes, and other key infrastructure.

  5. Rapid Response for Wildfire Control: Recognizing the significant role of forest fires in carbon emissions, Kevin Falcon and BC United will aggressively overhaul forestry management practices. By hitting fires hard and fast upon initial identification, we can significantly reduce a major source of carbon emissions – which in some seasons have exceeded 300 percent of B.C.’s annual emissions.

  6. Eliminate the Unfair EV Subsidy: Kevin Falcon and BC United will eliminate the current EV subsidy, which unfairly benefits higher-income earners at the expense of low-income taxpayers. Our goal is to introduce a fairer approach that supports sustainable transportation choices while making life more affordable for all British Columbians

BACKGROUND

  • C.’s Share of Global Emissions: British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions contribute a small fraction to the global total. In 2021, B.C. emitted approximately 62 million tonnes of CO2, which accounts for just 0.17 percent of global emissions. To put this in perspective, the complete elimination of B.C.’s emissions would have a minimal impact on a global scale, equivalent to pausing China’s emissions for less than two days or the world’s emissions for just over 15 hours. This underscores the importance of global collaboration in addressing climate change, as local actions, while necessary, are insufficient on their own to make a significant global impact.

  • Scrap the NDP’s ‘Cost B.C.’ Scheme: The ‘Cost B.C.’ scheme has been analyzed extensively by respected economists Ken Peacock and Jock Finlayson, along with the Business Council of B.C. Their comprehensive evaluation of the government’s own, less-publicized modeling results reveals that by 2030, the scheme will result in B.C.’s economy being a staggering $28 billion smaller. This shrinkage is not merely a reduction in GDP; it reflects a substantial decline in investment, household incomes, and job opportunities across the province. The most significant impacts are seen in resource-related sectors, with heavy industry projected to be almost 20 percent smaller and light industry about 14 percent smaller in 2030. The most substantial economic impact is expected between 2025 and 2030, with the average annual real GDP growth slowing to a mere 0.4 percent during this period. Additionally, the anticipated 8.9% difference in GDP growth between the reference scenario and the CleanBC scheme by 2030 is expected to have significant repercussions for jobs and revenues. This includes a projected $2.67 billion annual reduction in government revenue and vital services. It is also anticipated to result in the loss of over 200,000 jobs across multiple sectors, encompassing an estimated 24,000 fewer jobs in air, ground, and rail transportation; 8,300 fewer jobs in heavy industries such as mining, metals, and pulp & paper; and 38,000 fewer jobs in light industry like construction and forestry. This period of near-stagnant economic growth, combined with even modest population increases, is anticipated to lead to consecutive declines in per capita income, lowering household annual incomes by $11,000.

  • Boost B.C.’s Economy with Clean Energy Exports: British Columbia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) can play a significant role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. As per the International Energy Agency, reducing emissions from coal plants is vital for global climate efforts, and natural gas is a key component in this transition, emitting nearly 50 percent less CO2 than coal. Studies, including a March 2022 article in the Journal of Cleaner Production, have shown that coal-to-gas switching, especially with B.C.’s LNG, leads to considerable emission reductions due to our strict environmental regulations and use of clean electricity. Furthermore, using B.C. LNG as a marine fuel can cut nitrogen oxide emissions by about 90 percent, sulphur oxide emissions by nearly 100 percent, and GHG emissions by around 20 percent. If even half of the natural gas exported by LNG Canada replaces coal in importing countries, this could result in avoiding up to 22 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, or 35% of British Columbia’s total annual emissions from a single project. This underscores B.C. LNG’s vital role in global emission reduction efforts, both in power generation and as a cleaner alternative to traditional marine fuels.

  • Innovation & Realistic Emission Targets for Affordability: The NDP’s 2030 emission targets have been critically assessed by the Business Council of B.C. as unrealistic, with a widening gap between the aggressive targets and the practical pace of technology implementation. With just over six years left to meet these targets the feasibility of achieving them is increasingly questioned. There needs to be a recalibration of these near-term targets, while still aiming for the net-zero 2050 goal. Recalibrating emission targets to be more achievable will include a focus on technological innovation that can propel B.C. to the forefront of environmental solutions. We will prioritize innovation in key areas such Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage and electrification of sectors like agriculture and natural resources. In addition, the construction of necessary transmission lines will be expedited. While the NDP refused to invest in clean power generation, BC United would reinstate Independent Power Producers (IPPs) permanently and massively invest in small-scale clean power projects including solar, geothermal, wind, and micro-hydro, in partnership with local First Nations to ensure economic opportunity for generations. Furthermore, our plan will leverage the potential of the forestry sector, using biofuels as a sustainable source of electricity.

  • Climate-Resilient Infrastructure for Economic Growth: The increasing intensity and frequency of floods and wildfires, driven by climate change, underscore the need for climate-resilient infrastructure in B.C. Current efforts by the NDP government fall critically short in effectively protecting communities from these escalating climate-fueled disasters. Kevin Falcon and BC United commit to an immediate and substantial elevation of climate adaptation planning, incorporating specific budgets, clear funding sources, and definitive timelines for infrastructure buildout. Our strategy involves strengthening structures and systems to withstand climatic challenges such as flooding and wildfires, focusing on ensuring resident safety and maintaining the integrity of our economic operations. We will set explicit, measurable, and ambitious climate adaptation targets, ensuring B.C. is thoroughly prepared to face these evolving environmental challenges head-on.

  • Rapid Response for Wildfire Control: British Columbia’s recent wildfire seasons have not only set records for the largest area burned but have also been major contributors to carbon emissions, often exceeding the province’s total annual GHG emissions. For instance, the forest fires in 2017 and 2018 produced an estimated 170 million and 196 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, respectively. The 2023 season, marked as the worst on record, likely added substantially to these emissions. This trend underscores the urgent need for a shift in wildfire management and control strategies. The current approach, typically reactive and focused on protecting structures, needs to be overhauled in favor of immediate and aggressive action upon wildfire detection. Kevin Falcon and BC United propose a proactive approach, aiming to significantly reduce the massive carbon emissions from wildfires. Historically, these emissions have at times tripled B.C.’s annual total, pointing to the critical role of effective forest management in both environmental protection and carbon emission reduction.