BC delegates at COP21 have been touting the province as a leader in fighting climate change, but close to home the critics have been vocal saying that’s not the case.
Energy and mines minister Bill Bennett says there’s a balance between curbing greenhouse gas emissions and doing what’s best for the economy.
“There’s no other province with a broad-based carbon tax. There’s no other province that tells refiners they must have renewable content in their gasoline and diesel. To some extent we have to be careful we don’t make ourselves uncompetitive. There is, however, some catching up by other jurisdictions that need to take place.”
Until the election of the Alberta NDP, BC was the only province in Canada to have a carbon tax.
In 2013, the province slapped a five year freeze on the tax, locking it in at $30 per tonne.
But Bennett says that second measure, the province’s low carbon fuel standard, is what sets BC apart from other jurisdictions in the country.
“We actually tell anyone who wants to sell gasoline or diesel in the province of British Columbia whether it’s refined in B.C. or refined elsewhere, they must have at least five per cent renewable content in their gasoline and four per cent renewable content in their diesel. And by 2020, the carbon intensity of their fuels must be reduced by ten per cent.”
Bennett says BC is still a long ways out in front of other Canadian provinces, despite its critics.