B.C. to share "climate successes" at UN conference, government says

Polak will also be outlining BC's plans to supply cleaner natural gas to foreign markets that are otherwise heavily dependent on dirtier fossil fuels like coal for their energy needs.

Photo of Mary Polak by the province of BC
Photo of Mary Polak by the province of BC

Environment Minister Mary Polak will be promoting British Columbia's climate achievements at the United Nations COP 20 climate change conference in Lima, Peru, from Dec. 6-11, 2014, according to an email from the provincial government.

Lima COP 20 is a critical step in the United Nations' process to set the stage for a framework for a new international climate pact next December in Paris at COP 21, which aims to achieve a legally-binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world in 2015.

"As a global climate action leader, B.C. has been actively encouraging all jurisdictions to have strong climate policies in place," said Polak in the release. "In particular, B.C. has worked through international forums such as the Pacific Coast Collaborative and R20 Regions of Climate Action to encourage adoption of carbon pricing. We are proud of our carbon tax policy, and it has been recognized as a model for the rest of the world to follow."

B.C. was the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a broad-based, revenue neutral carbon tax, and was also the first jurisdiction on the continent to become carbon neutral across its public sector and remains the only carbon-neutral province or state in North America.

B.C. has already had success in reducing emissions while growing the economy - in June the Province announced that it had reached its first interim greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 6% below 2007 levels by 2012. Polak will be telling conference delegates that B.C. remains committed to achieving its aggressive legislated

GHG reduction targets of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% below by 2050.

Polak will also be outlining B.C.'s plans to supply cleaner natural gas to foreign markets that are otherwise heavily dependent on dirtier fossil fuels like coal for their energy needs.

"B.C. is in a position to make a difference in the pursuit of real global GHG reductions," said Polak. "Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is part of a global climate solution when used to displace other fossil fuels such as coal, and is an important transition fuel while clean-energy options are gradually brought on line. By exporting natural gas, B.C. will supply growing markets with the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and contribute to global development and the fight against climate change."

Polak will highlight the fact B.C. will have the cleanest LNG facilities in the world. The centrepiece of the Province's efforts is a GHG emissions intensity benchmark that is lower than any other LNG facility in the world. As well, companies will have flexible options to reach this benchmark, including purchasing B.C.-based offsets and contributing to a technology fund.

B.C. has also begun work on revitalizing its Climate Action Plan to reflect the Province's climate leadership in the context of a strong and growing economy that includes a new LNG sector. During the conference, Polak will be seeking fresh ideas from her counterparts from other jurisdictions to help develop new policies that could succeed in B.C.

Polak plans to meet with officials from a number of nations (e.g., Mexico, Chile, France, Peru, Germany, United Kingdom), subnational governments (e.g., Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, the Canadian Territories, California, Lima municipal government) and organizations (e.g., R20 Regions of Climate Action, World Bank, International Emissions Trading Association, Local Governments for Sustainability, International Energy Association, Carbon Capture and Storage Association).

In addition, Polak is scheduled to speak at four events, including: the International Carbon Action Partnership's "Emissions trading and carbon pricing"; the Climate Registry/Climate Action Reserve's "North America sub-national collaboration on climate change mitigation"; the Pacific Coast Collaborative/International Emissions Trading

Association's "The Pacific Coast Collaborative on the pathway to Paris" panel; and the International Emissions Trading Association's "Climate leadership and policy innovation: North America's sub-national stories".

Polak plans to attend events hosted by the government of Canada, the United Nations and the Climate Action Reserve.

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