MLA MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard presented Motion 22 — CleanBC Plan and Emissions Reduction

Today, MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard presented Motion 22 — CleanBC Plan and Emissions Reduction. You can watch the video here, or read the transcript below.

It is with great anticipation of the debate that I move a motion:

[Be it resolved that this House recognize and support Clean BC and the Government’s efforts to reduce emissions.]

I have a photo that I’ve carried as a kind of a talisman so that in all that I do, I am focused on our relationship to this special place we call home. The photo shows my grown grandfather and a friend of his taken nearly 100 years ago in a pristine wilderness, crowned and draped in seaweed, immersed in our special place that we call British Columbia.

Since that time, our human footprint has grown tremendously by virtue of our actions. We have faced the dire consequences of turning a blind eye to the environment, which sustains us many, many times. And many times, while rarely eliminating our impact, sincere intention and ingenuity have helped us to mitigate the damage we caused.

Today’s challenge is the largest and most encompassing consequence of human activity. Climate change is serious, and it’s deadly. For years, calls for action fell on deaf ears until a renowned economist, Nicholas Stern, sounded the alarm back in 2006. Finally, the world sat up and took notice.

We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 or face catastrophic events from which it would be impossible to recover, both socially and economically. Since that time, governments have been formed which have minimized or ignored the challenge. Today we have voices in positions of power who continue to deny the science that is irrefutable, evident right here at home. The predictions of frequent drought, fire, flood, pestilence are being realized, raising the level of anxiety, and yes, even panic amongst our youth who will inherit our future.

Deny and delay are the targets of millions of people around the globe who are demanding the level of effort necessary to meet the challenge. That’s why I’m proud that our government is living up to our obligation to protect this special place we call home with a comprehensive plan of action we call CleanBC.

We need to pay tribute to the 18-member Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council, representing First Nations, environmental organizations, industry, academia, labour and local government. Their informed and dedicated contributions ensured a balanced and comprehensive way forward to take effective climate action and develop low-carbon economic growth, a plan of hope and opportunity for a cleaner, better future.

Whether it’s industry, how people and goods are transported, how we heat our homes and businesses or how we manage our waste, targets have been set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2007 levels by 40 percent by 2030, 60 percent by 2040 and 80 percent by 2050.

What will that look like for British Columbians? CleanBC makes cleaner options more convenient, available and affordable. We raised the climate action tax credit and will continue to raise it, as it provides relief to families who need it most. We’re helping with the upfront costs that come with home improvements and zero-emission vehicles so people can benefit from lower gas and heating bills in the long run. Lower carbon renewable fuels will become more available to cars that are not zero emission. Industry will see incentives as well to help drive emission reductions. Projects will continue to lay the path to cleaner fuels and technologies.

I’m particularly excited about our investments in skills training and research. Our strength is our people. We believe everyone in British Columbia can and will come together with sincere intention and ingenuity to create a better, more balanced and cleaner province for today and tomorrow. We need to act to combat the severe effects of climate change that would pose a tremendous cost on all of us.

I look forward to the voices of others this morning joining in the chorus to support the path of hope and opportunity that comes with CleanBC.