Furstenau releases B.C. Green plan for clean economic recovery from COVID-19

October 09, 2020

NANAIMO B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens, released the party’s plans to rebuild BC.’s economy after COVID-19 with a focus on ambitious climate action.

“We cannot compound one crisis with another,” said Furstenau. “While COVID 19 requires an immediate response, we must be making investments that position us to build back a more sustainable economy.”

“For too long our governments have thought in four-year election cycles at the expense of a secure future. Now we are in the midst of a climate emergency and the other parties still continue to approve and heavily subsidize massive fossil fuel projects that plan to operate for the next 40 years. It was only a few short weeks ago that our communities were choked with smoke from the forest fires raging across the pacific northwest. The science is clear – we have to act urgently to avert a crisis that threatens our health, safety and economic security. 

“The good news is that ambitious action on climate change is an incredible economic opportunity. We have enormous potential in B.C. to be a world leader in low-carbon solutions. In the minority government, the B.C. Greens pushed forward CleanBC, the Innovation Commissioner and the Emerging Economy Task Force, which together set a roadmap for how we can meet our climate targets and transform our society for the better. The plan outlined today builds off of the work that has already started under CleanBC, with a bold vision that ensures our COVID-19 response seizes the opportunities that come from a low-carbon economy.”

Setting the direction 

The B.C. Greens will:

  • Commit to be carbon neutral by 2045, matching California.
  • Set sectoral targets to ensure industry is contributing their fair share to emissions reductions.
  • Develop a robust strategy to close the gap to 2030 and set an interim target for 2025 to make sure the government is on track to 2030.
  • Immediately end oil and gas subsidies and redirect that money to spurring innovation, to help grow businesses in BC and help us meet our climate commitments.
  • Prioritize natural climate solutions, protecting and restoring our forests and wetlands to maximize their potential as carbon sinks.

Spurring green innovation and planting the seeds of long-term prosperity

The B.C. Greens will:

  • Establish a $1 billion strategic investment fund to support business innovation that aligns with the province’s goals, with a particular emphasis on supporting innovations that help the shift to a zero carbon economy.
  • Support the creation of a biofuels strategy and clean hydrogen roadmap as part of the energy mix we use to replace fossil fuels in our transportation sector.
  • Integrate a GHG emissions lens into all government procurement processes. 
  • Immediately reinstate the scheduled carbon tax increase and return to regular and predictable increases in the carbon tax of $10 per year.
  • Partner in innovation clusters in areas where BC has a strategic advantage, based on the proposal from the Innovation Commissioner’s report.
  • Enact Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)-enabling legislation.

Encourage rapid electrification of transportation

The B.C. Greens will:

  • Enhance the ZEV mandate:
    • Accelerate the ZEV mandate to require 100% ZEV non-commercial vehicle sales by 2035;
    • Work with industry to develop additional innovation incentive programs and set new ZEV targets for commercial vehicles and on and off-road medium and heavy duty vehicles;
    • Require BC government agencies to shift to 100% ZEV fleets for passenger vehicles by 2030. 
  • Prioritize investments in electrifying our transit systems, including partnering with the federal government to accelerate support for BC Transit and Translink’s efforts to electrify their bus fleets. 
  • Undertake a comprehensive build out of public charging infrastructure on all highways in the province, particularly in remote and rural BC, to enable EV drivers to travel across BC with ease. 
  • Make ZEV ownership more accessible by removing PST on used EVs.
  • Support electric vehicle charging in multi-unit buildings through a variety of tools, including building code changes and establishing “right to charge” rules to facilitate access to home charging infrastructure for British Columbians living in multi-family buildings.

Clean, sustainable jobs

The B.C. Greens will:

  • Implement a just transition program for workers in the oil and gas sector and other industries in transition, working with them on a pathway to a guaranteed job in the clean economy.
  • Establish a clean jobs plan to help us recover from COVID-19 and get people back to work immediately:
    • This plan would create thousands of jobs enhancing and restoring BC’s natural assets, remediating environmental liabilities, as well as in climate adaptation and improving community resilience to climate change. 
    • As part of this jobs plan, we will work with industry partners to enhance the Clean BC Better Homes, Better Buildings program, including by:
      • Increasing the short-term incentives offered to stimulate retrofits;
      • Accelerating the requirements of the building code and efficiency requirements of equipment to drive long-term action and strengthen the business case for retrofits;
      • Partner with colleges, technical institutes and private organizations to develop training programs to expand employment in the green retrofit space. Programming should focus on supporting those sectors impacted by COVID 19, as well as support the just transition program for workers in the oil and gas sector.

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BC Greens Oct 10 2020