British Columbia Industry Paying the Price for Tar Sands

28 Jul


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British Columbia has positioned itself as a leader in tackling global warming. Yet the province’s natural environment and climate leadership are being threatened from beyond its borders by the federal government’s desire for unrestrained growth in Alberta’s Tar Sands.

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According to a mail out from Forest Ethics:

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Premier Campbell called on to defend B.C.’s interests at upcoming Council of the Federation

Vancouver – B.C. industries, such as pulp, paper and oil and gas, would be forced to reduce their carbon emissions beyond their fair share if the federal government protects tar sands expansion in its impending federal climate policy, according to a new report released today by environmental group ForestEthics, “TARnishing our Climate Effort: Dirty Oil and the Future of B.C.”  The group is calling on Premier Campbell to defend British Columbia’s climate leadership at the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting in Regina (August 5-7) and not accept a free pass for the Tar Sands.

B.C. has a legally-binding target to reduce emissions by 33% below the 2007 level by 2020 and many businesses are already doing their part to reach the national goal. Tar sands emissions are projected to grow from 35 million tonnes in 2007 to 108 million tonnes by 2020 – nearly a tripling in emissions even while other industries are reducing their output.
“Premier Campbell needs to ensure Ottawa doesn’t make a special deal for the tar sands because that will hurt B.C.’s economy and environment,” said Merran Smith, Climate Director, ForestEthics.  “We’re asking Premier Campbell to defend B.C.’s businesses through his continued climate leadership and a strong voice for fairness next week in Regina,”

Even with the existing weak federal emissions targets, more than 80 million tonnes would have to be cut from elsewhere in the Canadian economy to protect the tar sands right to pollute. If Canada adopts a target that is consistent with what scientists say is required, 96 million tonnes would have to be cut elsewhere, according to ForestEthics’ new report.

Ontario’s Premier McGuinty has already voiced a desire for a fair national cap and trade system. As Canada’s fourth largest provincial economy, British Columbia has yet to weigh in.

The report also shows B.C. is actually helping tar sands expand by sending tar sands oil to Asia from Vancouver via Kinder Morgan’s TMX pipeline. The federal government is also deciding whether or not to approve a new pipeline, called Northern Gateway, from Alberta to Kitimat that would send enough tar sands oil to Asia and the U.S. to fill more than 26,000 Olympic swimming pools annually.

ForestEthics will be raising awareness of tar sands’ threats to BC in Vancouver and the north, urging members and the public to send a message to the Premier.

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