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West Coast welcomes new law prioritizing near-term climate action

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

VICTORIA, BC – Territory of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations – Bill 38, the Climate Change Accountability Amendment Act 2019, introduced today in the BC Legislature, could transform how the Province works to achieve its climate goals. West Coast Environmental Law Association has called for such legislation for several years and applauded the law for prioritizing action on climate change in the short-term.

“The Climate Change Accountability Amendment Act, which draws on financial planning practices, requires the Province to evaluate its climate progress on an annual basis and under the watchful eye of an independent Climate Council,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer. “This law shines a light on what needs to be done today to achieve the next decade’s climate goals.”

Gage said that in the past, governments have sometimes preferred to pay lip service to long-term goals while ignoring them when short-term decisions were made.  “BC has failed to achieve its long-term climate goals because it has not consistently developed and implemented meaningful plans to achieve them. Because the goals seemed far off, governments felt that they could ignore them in favour of short-term priorities,” said Gage. “We are glad to see the current government reject that approach.”

Gage thanked the Environment Minister, George Heyman, as well as Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver, and their respective staff, for their hard work on the Bill.

West Coast looks forward to working with the BC government on future steps to strengthen BC’s climate accountability regime and to ensure that the province does its part to address the climate crisis, including:

  • ensuring that the short-term interim targets and sectoral targets promised in the legislation will provide meaningful guidance;
  • putting in place further measures to meet BC’s 2030 and subsequent greenhouse reduction targets;
  • developing legal requirements to ensure that future post-2030 climate plans are developed in a rigorous and transparent manner; and
  • re-assessing BC’s climate targets in light of the best available science.

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For more information, please contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law Association
250-412-9784, agage@wcel.org