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B.C. aiming for net zero emissions by 2050

Increases in the carbon tax and acclerating the timeline for banning gas-powered vehicles are some of the measures in an updated B.C. climate action plan released today.
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British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Minister of Environment and Climate Change George Heyman speak during a news conference in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday June, 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Increases in the carbon tax and acclerating the timeline for banning gas-powered vehicles are some of the measures in an updated B.C. climate action plan released today.

Premier John Horgan and Environment Minister George Heyman announced a suite of measures to intensify the drive toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.

The first phase of the NDP plan released three years ago outlined ways to get three-quarters of the way to reach the mandated reduction targets. Although emissions have not dropped and are rising slightly, officials predicted the new measures will achieve the targets.

It calls for accelerating the move to mandatory zero-emission light duty vehicles, currently mandated for 2040, and setting new targets to make heavier vehicles zero-emission. The new target for 100 per cent zero-emission light vehicles is 2035.

There will be provincial targets to reduce the kilometres driven by cars by one-quarter in the next nine years, and increase walking, cycling and transit use by 30 per cent over that time frame.

Ten thousand public charging stations are planned by 2030.

There will be new requirements for public sector buildings and vehicles, plus increases in the required use of low carbon fuel. The oil and gas industries and large industrial users will face new requirements.

B.C. Hydro will be responsible for electrification and fuel-switching strategies and full electrification of transit and ferries is planned.

The first phase of the plan released two years ago outlined ways to get three-quarters of the way to reach the mandated reduction targets.

Although emissions have not dropped and are rising slightly, officials predicted Tuesday’s measures will reach the target of a 40 per cent cut from 2007 levels by 2030.