The B.C. Green Party announced its climate action and clean economy platform today in Nanaimo, promising that if elected, it will set a path to make British Columbia carbon-neutral by 2045.
Sonia Furstenau made the platform announcement Friday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Furstenau said the NDP can’t consider themselves climate leaders while expanding the fossil fuel industry and said her party wants greater urgency around the climate crisis and more assurance that B.C. will meet climate goals.
“We can’t afford to play accounting games,” Furstenau said. “We need an honest plan that will reach our goals.”
She said in addition to carbon-neutrality by 2045, the Greens would have a “robust strategy” to close the gap by 2030.
Furstenau said her party would introduce a $1-billion strategic investment fund to support business innovation that aligns with the province’s climate goals. She also mentioned “predictable, yearly increases” to the carbon tax.
A press release from the B.C. Greens notes that if elected, the party would immediately end oil and gas subsidies and “redirect that money to spurring innovation, to help grow businesses in B.C. and help us meet our climate commitments.”
The platform also points to a “biofuels strategy and clean hydrogen road map.” The Greens want 100 per cent of non-commercial vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2035 and would prioritize investments in electrifying transit systems.
“The investments we make to recover from COVID-19 can establish a world-leading zero-emission transportation system,” said Furstenau. “Our plan would electrify our transit systems, including partnering with the federal government to support B.C. Transit and Translink’s efforts to electrify their bus fleets … and undertake a comprehensive build out of public charging infrastructure on all highways in the province.”
Furstenau also promised that the Greens would lower the cost of electric vehicles so “ordinary British Columbians can afford them.” She said the Greens would increase zero-emission vehicle accessibility by removing the provincial sales tax on used electric cars.
Furstenau said the Greens would implement “a just transition program for workers in the oil and gas sector, and other industries in transition,” working to lead them to “guaranteed” jobs in the clean economy.
“Second, we would establish a clean jobs program to help us recover from COVID-19 and get people back to work immediately,” said Furstenau. “The program would create thousands of jobs, enhancing B.C.’s natural climate solutions, tree planting, conservation, remediating environmental liabilities, as well as climate adaptation and improving community resilience to climate change.”
Furstenau was joined at Friday’s announcement by candidates Lia Versaevel of Nanaimo, Rob Lyon of Parksville-Qualicum and Evan Jolicoeur of Mid-Island Pacific Rim.