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Climate Action

Let's start relating climate change problems to the shared benefits of addressing the issue
The benefits of increased cycling go beyond reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
I truly believe the first step to protecting nature is learning to appreciate it. And as environmental problems around the world advance -- with rising temperatures, more frequent natural disasters, and declining biodiversity -- the importance of connecting with nature only increases.
It's not always easy to separate the energy used to heat your home from that used to power lights and appliances, heat water, and charge electronics. For example, there are two different electricity rates (or tiers) charged by your utility. After consuming a certain amount of energy each month, you start being charged at a higher rate. Both B.C. Hydro and FortisBC also charge a fixed amount on each bill, in addition to charging for the energy you consume. You can see how it might be difficult to understand the costs and benefits of different heating options.
By setting the bar so that new homes and buildings perform better and pollute less -- at no additional cost -- we are taking an important step toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and bringing construction standards in line with those being adopted across Europe and North America. The city's new policy will save us money, expand the number of jobs in green construction, and benefit our health. It's an exciting blueprint for what will become the new normal in construction in B.C. and across Canada.
With the new federal budget, Canada's government is sending a strong signal that it intends to follow through on its commitment to curb carbon pollution from our homes and buildings. By focusing on social housing, the budget also signals a resolve to ensure energy efficiency will benefit all Canadians.
Building energy benchmarking is a key tool for enabling informed and sound decision-making in energy management. Requiring reporting enables governments to prioritize and evaluate policies including regulation and incentives, while public disclosure enables the real estate sector to measure and value high performance buildings.
Imagine this. You open your mailbox this month. Voila! Here is your first carbon dividend cheque from the province. Suddenly, combating climate change with a price on carbon pollution doesn't hurt your pocketbook like conservatives said it would. Ontario could have a climate plan like this. It's called carbon fee and dividend.
There's a common trope among the pro-pipeline crowd that opposing new fossil fuel projects somehow should deny you access to anything fossil fuel related. It's a ridiculous notion, but with it so widespread, I'm willing to accept it, with one caveat. If I have to give up anything fossil fuel related in my life, pipeline pushers have accept their own version.
Back in 2011, Canada made history by being the first country to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. It was a bold move, but yesterday, Justin Trudeau actually managed to one up the feat, albeit in different style. On Tuesday, he approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 tar sands pipelines making Canada the first country on the planet to, in effect, promise to break the commitments they made to under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Building a high performance, low carbon economy is a major economic opportunity and a vital environmental responsibility for Canada. As a diverse group of leaders from different sectors and regions across the country, we applaud your initiative in developing the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change.
According to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, phasing out coal will reduce emissions in Canada by five megatonnes. That's great news, but it's soured when you remember that the government just approved the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which is expected to add 11.5 to 14.0 megatonnes worth of emissions each year.
When Justin Trudeau said that "Canada has no closer friend, partner, and ally than the United States," in his statement responding to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President, he was right. But while Trudeau extolled how this should mean collaboration with Trump, being the kind of climate leader the world needs is going to mean Trudeau standing up to Trump, not sitting down with him.
Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. Canadians probably believe that our major environmental groups are busy lobbying and pushing the federal and provincial governments to do much more. But no, this is not the case.
One night many years ago, while out for a few beers, a good friend of mine leaned in and, with a serious look on his face, said, "Does all this sustainability stuff really make a difference, or are we just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?"
We cannot spend tens of millions of dollars promoting a low carbon future while also spending tens of millions promoting extractives. With the Agreement in full force, Canada can pivot its approach to international assistance to reflect real policy coherence. We need to support small-scale, decentralized clean energy programs that promote pro-poor, gender sensitive projects.
Recently we learned that the Competition Bureau is going to investigate several climate change denier groups that have publicly misrepresented climate science on billboards and the web. This is great news for those who want an honest conversation about climate change.
Whenever Premier Christy Clark is asked about her climate change plans, she touts the success of the policies put in place by her predecessor Gordon Campbell in 2008. However, Clark won't be able to ride on Campbell's "climate leader" coattails for much longer.
In B.C., the green building sector already supports more than 20,000 jobs. The right vision, a strong Climate Leadership Plan and sufficient investment will ensure this sector of the clean economy continues to thrive and expand.
Although B.C.'s emissions initially fell under the Climate Action Plan, they have been creeping up in the past few years and are projected to continue rising without stronger climate policies. It's now clear the province is on track to miss its legislated targets for reducing carbon pollution.