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John Horgan: Where I stand on climate change

BC NDP Leader John Horgan delivered a speech on climate change at the speaker series, Thinking Big About BC at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at SFU, hosted by the Broadbent Institute, Jan. 23, 2017.

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It’s an opportunity to look at how we do business and how we do government … so that people feel connected and included and part of a solution. 

If all we say is ‘we’re all gonna die’ then people will tune out and watch Netflix. 

And that doesn’t get us anywhere. 

And it’s not easy to find the right balance of push and pull to keep making progress.

That’s what distinguishes real policy makers. 

That, and the ability to see when new evidence requires a changed approach. 

I like to think I’m that guy. I’ve listened a lot. And I’ve learned a lot. 

I know the BC NDP has struggled with the issue of carbon pricing over the years.

But those years have also been years of reflection, undeniable evidence, and fresh understanding for me.

Now that we have a new national price on carbon, we need to focus on a “made-in-BC” approach that produces the right outcomes in our fight against climate pollution.

We need smart new measures and policies that will act together to take BC in the right direction.

So here’s my simple pledge today:

I promise a climate plan that will ensure emissions go down – that we will reverse the trajectory of pollution growth that the BC Liberals have put us on.

Because at the end of the day, the one measure of success or failure for climate policy must be reducing our emissions. 

And I am committed to succeeding where Christy Clark has failed.

Policy makers must provide people with the opportunity to reduce their own carbon footprint.  

I want us to strengthen that and give people alternatives – in their homes and communities. 

And nowhere are we better able to do that than in transportation and retrofitting.  

Investing in transit and transportation infrastructure creates jobs and reduces emissions. 

Smart regulation on low-emission fuel standards will bridge the transition to electric vehicles, and reduces emissions. 

Retrofitting buildings and making them more energy efficient creates jobs throughout BC and reduces emissions.

Doing that will ensure that we use less energy, less fuel, and that a family’s overall bills go down, not up.

We also need to innovate.

We need to lead if we want to create innovative jobs now for our future. 

When I think of innovators that are building opportunities out of this threat – I think of Chief Gordon Planes from the T’Sou-ke First Nation in my constituency. 

Now, he was ahead of the curve. 

Under his leadership the Nation installed PV solar panels on the roofs of all the common buildings.

And additional panels to heat hot water on family homes. New technologies to direct the panels to catch the sun. Better batteries to store the energy. 

Most days, they’re giving energy back to the grid. He’s fuelling his community and the local economy and making a profit off the energy. They are always innovating because of Chief Planes’ leadership. 

We need to cultivate that kind of leadership. Train for it. Nurture it. Invest in it. And build it—right across BC. 

We need a strong commitment to technological innovation to get more lasting jobs.  To minimize carbon pollution.  To create new jobs and new sustainable industries.

In BC, we are proven problem-solvers. We are innovators. We are entrepreneurs.

But what about provincial leadership? 

Christy Clark has failed British Columbians on climate change. 

In the last five years, BC has gone from climate actor to climate distractor.

Climate leader to climate laggard. 

She was Premier photo-op at the Paris meetings on climate. 

She engaged in political grandstanding at the First Ministers’ meeting tasked with setting a national price on carbon.

And she’s spending millions of tax dollars advertising climate “action” with zero substance to back it up.

She abandoned BC’s near-term emissions targets, and ignored the advice of her own expert climate council.

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