The BC government is filing a response to the lawsuit alleging that the Environment Department’s climate plan does not adequately address emissions targets – Advice Eating

The government argues that the Sierra Club of BC was “misguided” in filing a lawsuit against the province’s 2021 climate report.

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The BC government has filed a court response to a lawsuit brought by an environmental group alleging that the Environment Department’s climate plan did not adequately set out how the government plans to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.

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In the response, filed in BC Supreme Court on Friday, the provincial government says the issues raised in the lawsuit — filed by Ecojustice on behalf of Sierra Club BC last month — are not justiciable.

The government claims that the Sierra Club’s complaint – that the government’s plans are not detailed enough in the report – is simply not to “the Sierra Club’s liking”, particularly with regard to the target in the oil and gas sector. And that is not a reasonable basis for legal action, which is why the court should dismiss the lawsuit.

The Climate Change Accountability Act requires the government to publish annual reports on how it intends to make progress toward all of its climate goals. BC’s goals are for province-wide GHG emissions to be at least 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2030, at least 60 percent by 2040, and 80 percent by 2050.

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However, the Sierra Club claims that the 2021 accountability report falls woefully short as it does not provide a plan for the 2025, 2040 and 2050 climate targets. It also omits the government’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector, which is primarily fueled by the province’s natural gas industry.

While the report does not include chapters dedicated to quantifying progress toward the 2025, 2040, or 2050 targets, its supporting material is “packed with information” on how the various initiatives outlined in the report will achieve incremental reductions over time, argues the government, in response.

The government claims that the law does not impose an adequacy standard for plans to meet the targets and that the minister’s duty is to report on the government’s plans to meet the emissions targets “in whatever ​​state they may be”. reimburse

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Alan Andrews, director of the climate program at Ecojustice, said the claim that the report was full of details was “ridiculous”.

“That came as a surprise and really questions why they introduced this law saying it would provide transparency and accountability and now they are arguing that it is not enforceable in court. How does that provide accountability?” said Andreas.

“They have not developed a plan for all of their goals. So if a government fails to comply with the law, we have the right to go to court and demand compliance with that law.”

The government also argues that the Sierra Club waited more than five months to submit its petition against the minister’s report, causing unnecessary delays. Andrews said they are waiting for the last part of the report – the methodology – before making any legal decisions.

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The government has called Sierra’s lawsuit “misguided” and says it “cannot credibly argue” that the report does not include plans to meet the various emissions reduction targets set out in the law.

“I urge the Secretary to point out where in this report are the plans for the 2025, 2040 and 2050 targets,” Andrews said.

Government Attorney David Cowie, who submitted the response, hasn’t returned a message yet. A date for a hearing on this topic has not yet been set.

Last month, BC’s Department of Environment emailed a brief statement in response to the lawsuit, saying it was proud of its “continent-leading” CleanBC plan and unable to comment on the specifics of the matter as Raising a problem can go to court.

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British Columbia has approved the construction and operation of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects under the environmental review process. Another three LNG projects are in the environmental assessment process and are being considered for development in BC, according to court documents.

Ecojustice’s attorneys claim that all of these projects will impact BC’s ability to meet the oil and gas sector goal, as well as its 2040 and 2050 goals.

The petitioners seek a determination as to whether Environment Secretary George Heyman has failed to fulfill his legal obligations under the Act and/or for the 2021 Report to be overturned and set aside.

Andrews claims the ministry’s failure undermines the BC government’s leadership on climate action and risks locking the province into a high-carbon future.

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“The public has a right to know if their government has a real plan to tackle the climate crisis,” he said.

In February, the global authority on climate science warned that climate breakdown is accelerating and the window to averting catastrophe is rapidly closing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said the world faces inevitable climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming reaching 1.5C, and even temporarily exceeding that warming will cause widespread destruction, including catastrophic human losses- and animal life and infrastructure.

According to the climate report, greenhouse gas emissions in BC increased from 66 million tons in 2017 to 68.6 million tons in 2019. The government estimates that its CleanBC climate action will reduce those emissions to 55.2 million tons by 2030.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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