BC Energy Action Framework closes a major gap in CleanBC plan

The government of British Columbia announced the B.C. Energy Action Framework last week.

The BC Energy Action Framework requires all proposed LNG facilities in or entering the environmental assessment (EA) process to pass an emissions test with a credible plan to be net zero by 2030. LNG Canada photo.

This article was published by the Pembina Institute on March 21, 2023.

By Chris Severson-Baker

The Premier of British Columbia, alongside the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation announced the B.C. Energy Action Framework last week.

The announcement marks the moment B.C. is officially pivoting away from further LNG expansion and towards an economy based on clean energy and clean products. It is one that takes advantage of the province’s ability to generate a lot of renewable electricity and ensures oil and gas sector projects are coordinated with B.C.’s climate commitments.

I was pleased to participate in the provincial government’s announcement of the new measures and made the following points: 

“With this announcement, the B.C. government is taking a very important step forward to grow the clean economy and to meet its climate obligations. These are two objectives that go hand in hand in a world that is rapidly moving away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

The need to cut emissions from the oil and gas sector was a major gap in the B.C. climate plan. The announcement today closes that gap.

Before this announcement, LNG production was simply incompatible with the CleanBC plan. The production of gas and the process of liquifying it requires enormous amounts of energy. Now, we will have policies that ensure B.C.’s 2030 oil and gas sector target will be met and B.C. will be doing its part to meet the federal oil and gas cap.

The emissions associated with LNG plants and the production of gas in B.C. will now be capped and cut by 2030, while new LNG plants that enter the regulatory process will not be allowed to have any net GHG emissions by 2030. The oil and gas sector has already signalled it is committed to taking action to protect the climate. They now need to show they are sincere about supporting the process.

It will be a significant undertaking to implement a provincial cap on oil and gas emissions by 2030. But this is necessary for B.C. to meet its climate goals and we are committed to working with the government and other stakeholders to meet that timeline.

This announcement also very clearly indicates that B.C. is prioritizing growth in the clean economy. This means industrial development that is consistent with a net-zero future.

A clean economy requires an abundance of clean electricity. B.C.’s power grid will be an engine of economic activity in the province. The announced BC Hydro Task Force therefore has a critical role to play in developing a plan for how B.C. can electrify buildings and transportation while also supplying all the projects that represent the future clean economy of B.C.

An economy based on clean electricity is a huge advantage in a world moving fast to eliminate fossil fuels. Analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) clearly shows that if momentum on clean energy and climate action continues at its current pace, the world will not need new LNG projects. However, the world needs clean electricity and products made using clean electricity.

All in all, this suite of announcements is a tremendously positive step for B.C. It closes a major gap in the CleanBC plan and points the economy in the right direction – one that is consistent with a net-zero future.

We look forward to participating in the process to support the development of the policies announced today.”

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