The future of Vancouver’s new Green Building Rezoning Policy is already uncertain. As of this morning, there is an emissions cap on all new construction and buildings applying for rezoning. There are several ways developers “can meet the energy efficiency and emissions targets (50 per cent decrease in GHGs).” They can use “better insulation, thicker windows, and better design, as well as opting for renewable energy.” However the largest cause of the city’s emissions is natural gas and so Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals attack Vancouver’s attempt to limit emissions.
Fossil fuel companies pumped more than $5.1 million into British Columbia’s elections between 2008 and 2015. 92% of that money was given to the BC Liberal party, which was in office through-out that period. The remainder went to the leading opposition party, the New Democratic Party (NDP). A new report from the Centre for Policy Alternatives, MAPPING THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE examines the funds and lobbying data to get answers. So what do BC’s Fossil Fuel Companies Get For their Campaign Contributions?
According to a recent report from the University of British Columbia, “Site C has more significant adverse environmental effects than any project ever reviewed under the history of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, including impacts on dozens of species, aquatics, vegetation, wildlife, Aboriginal use of lands and resources, and cultural heritage.” The British Columbian and Canadian governments are most likely breaking treaty #8, which gave local first nations usage of the land that will be submerged. BC Hydro has not properly evaluated less destructive, and far less expensive, alternatives like geothermal energy. We won’t need the power for decades, if ever. Why do the Liberals push Site C?
A year has passed since the World proclaimed its’ resolve to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degrees. The Canadian government appears to be green lighting the expansion of our emissions heavy fossil fuel sector through the addition of Woodfibre LNG terminal, Pacific Northwest LNG terminal and at least one more pipeline to carry diluted bitumen to the West Coast. (Natural Resources Minister Jim Car says that the now expected U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline does not change the fact Canada needs more access to Asian markets.) They are expected to approve the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would tripple the tanker traffic flowing past the city of Vancouver, on December 19. The hearings for an even larger project in eastern Canada, Energy East, have been temporarily on hold since the entire panel had to recluse itself because “their participation in these meetings may have created an apprehension of bias which could undermine the integrity and the credibility of the Board’s decision making process.” Despite the fact emissions from the gas and oil sectors are one of the principal contributors to our rising emissions, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says “there is no turning back” in the fight against climate change. At the press conference following the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) at Marrakech, she was confronted about the disconnect between Canada’s climate words & fossil fuel investments.
A new Insights West poll found that found that 86% of British Columbians would support a ban on corporate and union donations before the next election. Only 32% of the respondents believe the government represents their interests. The top three perceived influences were: corporations (by 90% of respondents), lobbyists (60%) and foreign investors (58%). The Poll calls on BC’s Government to put citizens first.