An open letter to BC’s political parties: re-commit to legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets; platforms must spell out climate actions

In 2007, the BC government embarked on a major shift in direction with a welcome new focus on addressing climate change. Led by the Premier's office, the resulting Climate Action Plan included: a legislated greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% below by 2050; North America's first carbon tax; a plan to reduce and offset emissions in the public sector; an enhanced conservation and clean electricity mandate for BC Hydro; and, integration of GHG emissions into municipal Official Community Plans.  

Some of those efforts have been controversial, and climate action has also been in conflict with provincial transportation and industrial policies. Nonetheless, BC's first steps on climate action were significant, and there are signs of progress — as of 2010, BC’s GHG emissions were down 4.5% from 2007 levels.  

Six years later, climate change has fallen off the public policy radar. BC does not have a plan to meet its 2020 target, and current aspirations to substantially expand fracking and develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in Northern BC will place the province’s GHG targets even further out of reach. Emissions from exported gas will also lead to higher emissions in Asia.  

This is a terrible mistake. The impacts of climate change are now even more evident across the world in the form of extreme weather events, from flooding in some regions to wildfires and drought in others. BC is facing new cost pressures arising from the impact of climate change on private property and public infrastructure, and these come on top of the devastation in our forests wrought by the mountain pine beetle, also linked to warmer temperatures.  

The window for action is closing rapidly. It is imperative that wealthy jurisdictions like BC renew their commitment to climate action and resume the leadership role that is missing in North America. Beyond leadership, there are many additional benefits to be gained in terms of new economic opportunities and green jobs, reductions in other forms of pollution, improved health and better quality of life.  

We the undersigned call on all BC political parties running in the 2013 provincial election to recommit to the targets and timelines laid out in BC's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. And we call upon each party to table a platform that demonstrates how they will meet those targets. We seek to encourage a "race to the top" where there is legitimate debate about how to reach those targets, but the targets themselves are not negotiable.  


(To add your organization to this list, contact Marc Lee at marc [at] policyalternatives [dot] ca.)

Agentic Digital Media

BC Coalition of People With Disabilities

Better Environmentally Sound Transportation

BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre

BC Sustainable Energy Association

BC Teachers Federation

Bing Thom Architects

Burke Mountain Naturalists

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

City Green Solutions

Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada

Common Energy UBC

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union


Community Legal Assistance Society

Council of Canadians


Current Environmental

David Suzuki Foundation

Design Centre for Sustainability

Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

Eco-City Planning


Federation of Post-Secondary Educators

Forest Ethics – Advocacy

Forest Ethics – Solutions

Gen Why Media

Gibsons Recycling

The Global Youth Education Network Society

Georgia Strait Alliance

Greenchain Consulting


HUB: Your Cycling Connection

Island Tides Newspaper


Living Oceans Society

Metro Vancouver Planning Coalition

Montserrat Ink

New Way Community Society

Occupy Vancouver

One Earth

Pembina Institute

People's Action for Threatened Habitats

Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada

RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) Trust

Red Door Energy Advisors

Renewal Partners

Rising Tide Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories

Salt Spring Island Climate Action Council Society

Sea to Sky Clean Air Society

Shark Truth Society

Sierra Club BC

Tanker Free BC

Transformation Projects


Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Vancouver and District Labour Council

Vancouver Peak Oil Executive

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change

West Coast Environmental Law Association

West Coast LEAF

Wilderness Committee


Zero Waste BC

This letter was sent to BC's four major political parties. The responses will be posted here as we receive them.

Green Party of BC

"The Green Party of BC commits to the 2007 legislation on greenhouse gas reduction and more. I have attached our climate change policy for your reference. We have policy specific to the mining of unconventional gas that will be passed prior to the election." Green Party Climate Change Policy (PDF)