Stay the Course – BC’s Leadership in the Western Climate Initiative

Today over 150 business, academic and NGO leaders sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark supporting the  provincial government’s leadership role in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).  The letter was prompted by news[i] which broke earlier this week that the B.C. government is softening its position on carbon pricing, cap and trade and its role in the WCI.  Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to the Premier and key members of her cabinet.

April 21, 2011

Premier Christy Clark

PO Box 9041, Stn Provincial Government

Victoria, British Columbia

V8W 9E1

Dear Premier Clark,

Thank you for the leadership race commitments you made to aggressively establish British Columbia as a leader in clean energy. We appreciated the connection you made between investments in clean energy and the ability to create jobs throughout the province.

We write to urge you to follow-through on those commitments, and give the clean energy economy a central role in your efforts to create jobs and help British Columbian families. According to the Globe Foundation, clean energy contributed $15.3 billion to B.C.’s GDP (10.2% of the total) and 166,000 jobs (7.2% of the total) in 2008. Those numbers are significant today, and they could double in the next decade.

B.C. has already built a strong foundation to achieve higher gains. The province has been rightly applauded for the leadership it has demonstrated by spurring investment in clean energy. We have punched above our weight and helped to positively influence the Canadian, continental and global debate on how to build a clean energy economy.

This is particularly true for the implementation of B.C.’s carbon tax and being one of the leading partners in the Western Climate Initiative. Continued progress presents opportunity, and limits risk, on a number of fronts:

We can grow the market for B.C.’s clean energy companies

By tipping the economic scales in favour of clean energy, and helping our neighbours do the same, B.C. can help open domestic and export markets for the province’s entrepreneurs. Whether it’s a wind farm being built in Dawson Creek, or cutting-edge fuel cell engines and biomass gasification technologies being sold to the world, those businesses bring investment to B.C. and employ British Columbians.

We can set the rules of the clean energy economy

The rules are set by the people that play the game first. We know there will be constraints on carbon in the near future, so B.C. needs to be involved in setting those constraints and demonstrating their potential. Doing so puts us in the driver’s seat to ensure the rules account for B.C.’s interests, which will give our economy a competitive advantage. Furthermore, just by setting the rules and participating, we give other jurisdictions the confidence to do the same. This will grow the size of the clean energy economy and increase the range and scale of opportunities available.

We can help families get ahead in a future where energy is going to cost more

As global oil prices rise, developing a robust clean energy sector in B.C. helps protect families by reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, and giving them real alternatives such as better public transit and neigbourhood heating systems. The same shift away from fossil fuels also benefits families by keeping energy prices lower than in other jurisdictions, providing long-term employment throughout the province, and building healthier more vibrant communities.

We can protect B.C.’s natural beauty for our children and grand children

If we fail to effectively build a clean energy economy, we will fail to effectively show leadership on climate change.  If climate change persists, the B.C. we know and love will be dramatically different for our children and grand children. We’ve already seen the devastation that pine beetles can cause on our forests and the way storms can gut our parks. If the Fraser River gets much warmer, salmon won’t survive. B.C. can’t stop these threats on our own, but we can be a positive influence in finding local and global solutions.

We look forward to working with your government to secure the gains we have made in recent years and affirm B.C.’s position in the clean energy economy.

Sincerely,

cc

Minister Lake

Minister Coleman

John Yap

Minister Lekstrom

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About Carbon Talks

Shauna Sylvester is the Executive Director of Carbon Talks and a Fellow at the SFU Centre for Dialogue. View all posts by Carbon Talks

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