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B.C.'s creation of climate leadership team blasted by Green MLA

05/14/2015 04:04 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT
B.C.'s Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver is calling out the province for being all talk and little action when it comes to addressing climate change.

Premier Christy Clark announced this week a climate leadership team to reduce the province's greenhouse gas emissions. The team consists of academics, government and representatives, businesses, environmentalists and First Nations.

The team has until November to come up with recommendations on how to meet the province's greenhouse gas targets of reducing them by at least a third below 2007 levels by 2020 while expanding the economy.

 Weaver, who was an advisor to former Premier Gordon Campbell in 2008 when he rolled out an ambitious plan to cut GHG emissions, says the government already has enough information to take action.

"The reality is government has had advice for many years," he told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"It's set up the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions — a $95-million investment — they've been putting out white papers for last number of years; the government has its own climate action secretariat that's been advising for years. The fact is the government has not listened."

Economic growth and climate action can co-exist

Environment Minister Mary Polak stands by the government's decision to appoint the climate leadership team because input from a variety of stakeholders is crucial. 

"The kinds of actions that will be taken, the kinds of action that were taken from the 2008 plan, are things that affect people in all walks of life and in all areas of their lives, and that means we have to have the involvement of communities, we have to have the involvement of First Nations, we have to have the involvement broadly," she said.

"So if we're going to, as a province, progress — continue to progress — we have to have the involvement of those sectors of our society."

Polak says growing the economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is difficult, particularly in a resource-rich province like B.C., where liquefied natural gas has been touted as the industry that will lift the province out of debt.

However, it needs to be done, said Polak.

"We need to look at forestry, we need to look at mining, we need to look at conventional oil and gas, we need to look at agriculture," she said.

"All of these are places where innovation and technology, different practices can have a significant impact in reducing our emissions and can brand British Columbia as a place where the items you purchase are items that are clean."

To hear the full interview with Andrew Weaver, listen to the audio labelled: Green Party MLA casts doubt on new climate leadership team

To hear the full interview with Mary Polak, listen to the audio labelled: B.C. Environment Minister champions new climate leadership team

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