B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. behind on climate goals, sets new 2025 emissions target to stay on track

New emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025

The British Columbia government is setting a new target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its goals than previously forecasted.

The new emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025.

It also provides benchmarks to reach the province’s legislated emission targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 of 40, 60 and 80 per cent below 2007 levels, respectively.

Environment Minister George Heyman said completing a plan to reach the legislated targets in the CleanBC program has been more challenging than anticipated.

The biggest factor in the gap was a change in data and methodology at the federal level that lowered B.C.’s 2007 baseline estimates, he said Wednesday.

A government report also says emissions rose in 2018 due to increases in fuel consumed in heavy-duty diesel vehicles, oil and gas extraction, off-road industrial transport and light-duty gasoline-powered trucks.

Heyman said more needs to be done to meet the targets and the province will set industry-specific targets by March 31.

“The gap that we see today signals the need to redouble our efforts to reduce emissions and to achieve our targets,” Heyman told a news conference.

“We are continuing to do significant work to deliver a detailed road map to our 2030 target and we’re committed to delivering that by the end of next year.”

The announcement came as B.C. released its 2020 Climate Change Accountability Report.

It shows that in 2018 — the most recent year for which data is available — gross greenhouse gas emissions were 67.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This represents an increase of 4.5 megatonnes from 2007 levels, and was three per cent higher than 2017 emissions, the report says.

The models suggest emissions were expected to begin stabilizing in 2019 before decreasing in 2020 as CleanBC programs begin to take hold along with the effects of COVID-19.

Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, called the report a “sobering” wake-up call.

“The report offers a frank assessment: our climate plan has a gaping hole that we must fill,” she said in a statement.

Environmental group Stand.earth said the gap to B.C.’s legislated 2030 target has increased from 5.5 megatonnes in the 2019 report to between 7.2 and 11.2 megatonnes.

“Clearly this is a major setback for the government’s plan to meet our climate targets,” Sven Biggs, the group’s Canadian oil and gas program director, said in a news release.

Andrew Radzik, energy campaigner at the Georgia Strait Alliance, said the government can’t expand fracking and the LNG Canada project if it’s serious about meeting its climate goals. The report shows that while other sectors have reduced their emissions, oil and gas emissions continue to grow at an “alarming” rate, he said.

Heyman said LNG Canada, which is not yet operational, is not responsible for the gap in reaching the provincial targets. The government has no plans to rule out future LNG expansion so long as it fits within the CleanBC targets.

“This isn’t a light switch, this is like a dimmer, we’re transitioning,” he said. “To transition, you want to support industries that exist today and make them less carbon intensive and promote and support wide diversification into the jobs and economy of the future.”

Data in the report is from 2018 and does not yet reflect the effects of what has already been done under CleanBC, he said.

The plan has seen successes, such as the “tremendous” uptake of light-duty electric vehicles, he said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read