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«The Honourable Iona Campagnolo Lieutenant-Governor — at the — Opening of the Third Session, Thirty-Eighth Parliament — of the — Province of ...»

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It will aim to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below current levels by 2020.

This will place British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions at 10 per cent under 1990 levels by 2020.

It is an aggressive target and will set a new standard.

To achieve that goal we will need to be focused and relentless in its pursuit.

Interim targets will be set for 2012 and 2016.

Leaders from business, community groups, and citizens themselves are calling for a new environmental playing field that is fair and balanced but that recognizes we all need to change. We all need to be part of the solution.

The soon-to-be released new climate action and energy plans will be complemented by an air quality improvement initiative.

— 14 — Each of those plans will aspire to meet or beat the best practices in North America for reducing carbon and other greenhouse gases.

Because our emissions have grown so much since 1990, our task of reducing emissions in percentage terms will be that much more difficult.

Clearly there is a limit to what can be credibly accomplished within any given period of time.

A Climate Action Team will be established. Working with First Nations, other governments, industries, environmental organizations, and the scientific community it will determine the most credible, aggressive, and economically viable sector targets possible for 2012 and 2016.

The Climate Action Team will also be asked to identify practicable options and actions for making the government of British Columbia carbon neutral by 2010.

Your government is confident that balanced action will provide solutions that reduce costs, increase productivity, and make a leading contribution to environmental improvement.

This will be hard work but there is no place better suited to meet this challenge than B.C. because of our diverse and strong economy.

— 15 — A longer-term emissions reduction target for 2050 will also be established for British Columbia, as it has been for Canada, California, and Oregon.

Citizens might be rightly skeptical of any such long-term targets. What we do today will rightly be judged for the example it sets.

Our economy has the strength and resources to be bold and far reaching.

Indeed, being bold and far sighted will foster innovation, new technologies, and plant the seeds of success. Just as the government’s energy vision of 40 years ago led to massive benefits today, so will our decisions today provide far reaching benefits in 2040 and 2050.

Our actions will mean more jobs, new investments, and ultimately greater prosperity for British Columbia.

Climate action must be seen and pursued as an economic opportunity as well as an environmental imperative.

Your government’s comprehensive climate change and energy strategies will rest on a number of defining principles.

The new energy plan will require British Columbia to be electricity self-sufficient by 2016.

A new personal conservation ethic will form the core of citizen actions in the years ahead. Conservation provides huge benefits at minimal cost.

— 16 — All new and existing electricity produced in B.C. will be required to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.

That target may be unprecedented in North America, but it is achievable and realistic in B.C.

Under the new energy plan, British Columbia will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry to 2000 levels by 2016.

That will include a requirement for zero flaring at producing wells and production facilities.

The energy plan will require that at least 90 per cent of our electricity comes from clean, renewable sources.

Effective immediately, British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in North America, if not the world, to require 100 per cent carbon sequestration for any coal-fired project.

That means no greenhouse gas emissions will be permitted for coal-fired electricity projects anywhere in British Columbia.

Your government will look to all forms of clean, alternative energy in meeting British Columbians’ needs in our provincial economy.

Bioenergy, geothermal energy, tidal, run-of-the-river, solar, and wind power are all potential energy sources in a clean, renewable, low-carbon future.

— 17 — Your government will pursue British Columbia’s potential as a net exporter of clean, renewable energy.

A new $25-million Innovative Clean Energy Fund will be established to encourage the commercialization of alternative energy solutions and new solutions for clean remote energy that can solve many challenges we face right here in B.C.

Trees infested by the mountain pine beetle will be used to create new clean energy. Wood chips and other wood waste will be better utilized to produce clean power.

Beehive burners will be eliminated in British Columbia.

Legislation will be developed over the next year to phase in new requirements for methane capture in our landfills, the source of about nine per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions.

That methane can and should be used for clean energy.

New technologies will be encouraged to “green the grid” and reduce energy losses in transmission.

In the weeks ahead, the Premier will meet the governors of Washington and California to work in partnership on several of these and other initiatives to reduce net greenhouse gases in the Pacific Coast Region.

British Columbia will work with California to assess and address the impacts of climate change on our ocean resources and establish common environmental standards for all our Pacific ports. Your government will seek federal co-operation to electrify our ports — 18 — and reduce container ships’ carbon emissions in all of Canada’s ports.

A co-ordinated, integrated, market-based approach will be critical to meeting our targets.

Your government will work with the federal government and its Pacific partners to develop a sensible, efficient system for registering, trading, and purchasing carbon offsets and carbon credits.

Later this spring, your government will invite all Pacific Coast governors and their key cabinet members to British Columbia to forge a new Pacific Coast Collaborative that extends from Alaska to California.

Transportation represents about 40 per cent of B.C.’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

B.C. will work with its neighbours to create electrified truck stops and support other anti-idling measures for heavy vehicles.

A federal-provincial partnership will be investing $89 million for fuelling stations and the world’s first fleet of 20 fuel cell buses. This expansion of the number of hydrogen fuelling stations is part of the initial phase of the hydrogen highway. That highway will run from Whistler to Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria.

But that is just a start.

Your government will work with California and other Pacific states to push for a hydrogen highway that runs from Whistler to San Diego by 2010.

— 19 — The Gateway Project will reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and reduce emissions from vehicle idling.

It will dramatically expand cycling networks and connect communities as never before with safer cycling paths and healthier alternatives to driving.

It will establish, for the first time in 20 years, a new transit corridor and open the way for transit improvements to the Fraser Valley connecting Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, and Surrey to Coquitlam and Vancouver.

Electronic tolls will help restrain traffic growth and transit funding will work in concert with decisions to increase densities, reduce sprawl, and reduce costs.

The new $40-million LocalMotion Fund will also help local governments build walkways, cycling paths, disability access, and other improvements aimed at getting people out of their cars and back on their feet.

The new Canada Line will reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 14,000 tonnes by 2021.

New measures will be implemented to encourage and dramatically increase local transit alternatives.

Over the next year, new regional transit options will be established for our major urban areas in the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley, the Capital Regional District and the Okanagan.

— 20 — New tailpipe emission standards for all new vehicles sold in B.C. will be phased in over the period 2009 to 2016.

Those standards will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by some 30 per cent for automobiles.

British Columbia will establish a low-carbon fuel standard.

It will reduce the carbon intensity of all passenger vehicles by at least 10 per cent by 2020.

These new standards will be developed in recognition of what is already mandated in California, to ensure they are viable and achievable.

Your government has already introduced fuel tax exemptions for ethanol and biodiesel portions of fuels blended with gasoline and diesel.

The $2,000 sales tax exemption on new hybrid vehicles will be extended to help make those cleaner cars more affordable.

Moving to a hybrid car from a four-wheel-drive SUV can cut personal transportation emissions by up to 70 per cent overnight.

Beginning this month, all new cars leased or purchased by the provincial government will be hybrid vehicles.

New measures will also be taken to reduce energy consumption and emissions in the public sector.

— 21 — New strategies will be launched to promote Pacific Green universities, colleges, hospitals, schools, prisons, ferries, and airports.

An important symbol of leadership in that regard starts right here in the legislative precinct.

As the Legislative Buildings are upgraded to meet modern seismic standards, new standards of energy efficiency will be set and met.

Many other initiatives will form part of your government’s climate action strategy.

A new unified B.C. Green Building Code will be developed over the next year with industry, professional, and community representatives.

Incentives will be implemented to retrofit existing homes and buildings to make them more energy efficient.

New measures will be taken to help homeowners undertake “energy audits” that show them where and how savings can be achieved.

New real-time, in-home smart metering will be launched to help homeowners measure and reduce their energy consumption.

These measures will demand new personal commitment, new investments, and new funding.

— 22 — Your government remains committed to putting more money back in people’s pockets, which allows them more choice in personal spending.

It remains committed to competitive tax rates that stimulate investment and job creation.

This government does not support new taxes on productivity that create disincentives to capital investment. But it does believe that our tax system should encourage responsible actions and individual choices.

The cost of climate change is directly related to our consumption.

Over the next year, the Province will consider the range of possibilities aimed at encouraging personal choices that are environmentally responsible.

It will look for new ways to encourage overall tax savings through shifts in behaviour that reduce carbon consumption.

For our goals to be met citizens must take primary responsibility and make choices that reflect their values.

Conservation is key to a greener future.

Public education and information is critical in that regard.

Your government will ensure that our children have the benefit of that knowledge in their school curricula.

— 23 — It will work to build literacy on early actions that can be taken at home and at work to make a positive difference to reduce our individual impact on the environment.

A new Citizens’ Conservation Council will be established and funded.

Your government will also invest in our forests, nature’s carbon sinks.

Next year will mark the six-billionth tree planted in British Columbia since reforestation efforts began in

1930. It took 51 years of planting before our first billion trees were planted.

Today we are planting about 200 million trees a year, or one billion trees every five years.

In the new world, those new trees will have new value as carbon sinks and oxygen creators which help clean our air and offset greenhouse gases. On average, each new tree planted offsets up to one tonne of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

Your government will substantially increase its treeplanting efforts, which will increase the amount of carbon that is offset each year through reforestation and afforestation.

The new Green Cities Project will foster innovations that reduce our imprint on the planet through sustainable community planning.

–  –  –

These are just part of the Green Cities Project.

The Green City Awards will recognize B.C.’s most environmentally friendly communities.

The $21-million Towns For Tomorrow infrastructure program will help small towns across B.C. make improvements in their communities over the next three years.

The new B.C. Spirit Squares program will provide $20 million for communities to create or enhance outdoor public meeting places.

Those new outdoor gathering spaces will be built in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Colony of British Columbia in 2008.

These new civic spaces will be legacies for our children to celebrate our heritage, culture and community achievements.

Vibrant communities are livable, lively places.

More housing choices and more pedestrian activity are key components of healthier communities.

–  –  –

The challenges of housing, homelessness, addictions, and mental health require us to rethink the actions of a generation.

Homelessness is a plague that weakens our cities, siphons our strength, and erodes our social fabric.

It weakens us all. It is unacceptable.

The failed approaches of the past that require more money but deliver no improvement are also not acceptable.

New approaches are needed.

Your government believes municipal governments with populations greater than 25,000 should identify and zone appropriate sites for supportive housing and treatment facilities for persons with mental illnesses and addictions in official community plans by 2008.

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