Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets: BC Re-establishes Targets

by Bennett Jones LLP

Bennett Jones LLP

[co-author: James Struthers - Articling Student]

On May 7, 2018, the Government of British Columbia introduced Bill 34 to amend the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. The Bill re-establishes the province’s greenhouse-gas reduction targets, and broadens the regulatory authority of the Minister of Environment to set industry-specific reduction targets, among other amendments.

The Bill was foreshadowed in the BC New Democrat Clean Growth Climate Action plan—where a BC New Democrat Party government would “take measures to reduce carbon pollution… and will set a new legislated 2030 reduction target of 40 per cent below 2007 levels.”

The new targets acknowledge the unlikelihood of the province achieving the 2020 Target (33-percent reduction from 2007 levels), and that active measures must be taken to achieve the 2050 Target (80-percent reduction from 2007 levels). The latest published provincial GHG inventory for 2015 reported B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions as 61.6 million carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes (Mt CO2e), which included 1.7 Mt CO2e in offsets from forest management projects in B.C. (down 4.7 percent from 64.7 Mt CO2e in 2007).

Bill 34 - Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Amendment Act, 2018

If passed, the new legislation proposed in the Bill will:

  • eliminate the Act’s 2020 Target;
  • establish a 2030 target of 40-percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels), and a 2040 target of 60-percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels;
  • require the Minister of Environment to publish bi-annual climate-change reports;
  • enable the Minister to set industry-specific targets beyond legislated targets;
  • require public sector organizations to provide climate-change related information to the government; and
  • rename the Act to the Climate Change Accountability Act.

These changes are in line with recommendations 1 and 2 contained in the October 31, 2015, Recommendations to Government by the Climate Leadership Team.

During the first reading of the Bill, Minister of Environment, George Heyman stated that "[w]ith the input of the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council and engagement with industry and other stakeholders, B.C. is charting a new path to meet our climate goals and targets."

Bennett Jones Remarks

The Council was appointed on October 26, 2017, by the Government of British Columbia to advise the government on matters including carbon pollution reductions policies and implementing the recommendations of the 2015 Climate Leadership Team. The Council includes members from First Nations, environmental organizations, industry, academia, labour and local government.

As a refresher, the October 31, 2015, recommendations of Climate Leadership Team included:

  • expanding coverage of the carbon tax to apply to all GHG sources after five years;
  • measures to reduce fugitive and vented methane emissions;
  • establish the following sectoral GHG reduction goals (below 2015) for 2030:
    • 30 percent for the transportation sector, totaling 6.3 MT of CO2;
    • 30 percent for the industrial sector, totaling 8.4 MT of CO2; and
    • 50 percent for the built environment, totaling 3.4 MT of CO2;
  • developing a low-carbon transportation strategy for transitioning the transportation sector to emit 30 per cent fewer GHGs by 2030; and
  • amending the Clean Energy Act to increase the target for clean energy on the integrated grid from 93 percent to 100 percent by 2025 (except where fossil fuel capacity is required for back-up or reliability).

The Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council expects to report on the provincial government’s progress towards meeting legislated after October 23, 2018.

The content and influence of the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council to implement the 2015 Climate Leadership Team recommendations may provide clarity to current unanswered questions, including how B.C. plans to engage with industry and other stakeholders, and how the sectoral targets will account for energy intensive trade exposed industries.

GHG emitters and project proponents should participate in any government consultation process, to better understand and prepare for increased GHG reduction targets and broadened regulatory powers. Companies should also continue to monitor global trends towards climate-change mitigation as such changes are likely to challenge static, carbon-intensive industries, while favouring innovation and low to zero emission industries.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Bennett Jones LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Bennett Jones LLP

Bennett Jones LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.