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Part One: A Budget for Climate Action

Section 1.1: Summary

  • There is considerable evidence that global temperatures are warming and that there are more frequent severe weather events causing increased economic and related damage. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the main cause is the creation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to extensive use of fossil fuels by humans.
  • BC has a clear track record of climate action initiatives going back several years, including the 2002 Energy Plan, the 2004 “Weather, Climate, and the Future: BC’s Plan,” and additional targeted measures.
  • The 2007 Throne Speech signaled that even more efforts are needed. Also over the past year, the 2007 Energy Plan was released, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act was legislated, and work has continued on the development of effective climate change actions.
  • Budget 2008 provides the fiscal tools to meet the climate challenge. Its cornerstone is government’s intention to introduce a revenue neutral carbon tax effective July 1, 2008.
  • The carbon tax has a broad base, so that it will affect emissions throughout the provincial economy, but it is being introduced gradually to give individuals and businesses time to adjust. All of the revenue raised will be offset by cutting other taxes; none of the revenue will be used to fund government programs. As part of the revenue recycling, a refundable tax credit will help offset the tax for low income individuals and families.
  • In 2008, a Climate Action Dividend of $100 for all BC residents will help British Columbians make adjustments to begin to move towards a lower carbon lifestyle.
  • Budget 2008 also provides for almost $1 billion of new operating and capital expenditures on climate action over four years to create incentives to change behavior, implement new regulatory requirements, undertake cutting-edge research, and make needed “low carbon” investments.
  • These actions place BC among the most progressive jurisdictions in the world in terms of climate action policies.
  • The climate action challenge cannot be confronted in isolation from what other governments are doing. BC will continue to work with its partners in other jurisdictions on cooperative solutions, through mechanisms such as the Western Climate Initiative.
  • Key next steps include implementation of: enhanced tailpipe emission standards for new passenger vehicles; a “cap and trade” system for large emitters; emission reductions from landfills; fuel standards that increase use of biomass fuels; and planning for more sustainable community development.
  • In summary, Budget 2008 introduces a carbon tax as a key climate action tool and provides the needed fiscal resources to support the development and implementation of the climate action plan.
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