Media Statement December 14, 2015
COP21 Targets Require Ambitious Policy
For immediate release
Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party welcomes the Paris climate agreement but cautions that it is only a first step towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
The COP21 accord is non-binding and is designed to keep global temperatures to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels. “The world has already warmed by about 1°C and existing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels commit us to a further 0.6°C,” notes Weaver. “When you add in an additional warming of between 0.2 and 0.3°C from the permafrost carbon feedback, it makes it imperative that nations put forward far more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets than have been offered to date. The existing voluntary national targets make it virtually certain that 2°C warming will be broken this century.”
While the agreement includes all 195 nations and has legally binding provisions for the five year review, the targets are still voluntary and lack the policy measures needed to achieve the collective goal. Furthermore, until the World Trade Organization is part of the negotiations, it will be very difficult for any nation to enact policies that account for discrepancies in transjurisdictional emissions. “Countries that aggressively act to reduce emissions through carbon pricing need the ability to apply carbon tariffs on imports from jurisdictions that don’t,” adds Weaver.
“I am cautiously optimistic” said Andrew Weaver, “all countries have agreed to reduce emissions. In addition, developed nations have agreed to assist developing nations in adapting to a changing climate and to facilitate the transfer of clean technology.”
Andrew Weaver further notes that “For Canada to be recognized as a climate leader British Columbia must be part of the solution. We have an enormous opportunity in B.C. to invest in renewable energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal, as well as to further advance these sectors and globally export technology and expertise.”
British Columbia has the opportunity to harness natural resources, a nascent and growing clean tech sector, and skilled workers ready to accept the challenge. The current government, however, is actively heading the opposite direction by continuing to support high carbon industries like LNG and thermal coal. They have already stated they will not meet the mandated 2020 targets and the assurance by Premier Clark that LNG exports will somehow offset growing provincial greenhouse gas emissions is completely misguided.
“Ambitious targets require ambitious policy,” said Andrew Weaver. “To achieve a national transition to a low carbon economy our policies, political support, and subsidies need to shift away from backing the fossil fuel industry and start actively encouraging the clean technology sector.”
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382