November 26, 2007

BC joins international partnership to deal with climate change

The British Columbia government has joined a groundbreaking international effort to deal with climate change. At a recent summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Premier Gordon Campbell signed on to the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP).

The agreement provides an international mechanism through which public authorities, including sub-national levels of governments, adopting caps on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will share best practices on strategies such as the development of compatible global carbon trading systems. Trading systems currently exist in Europe and systems are being developed by eastern U.S. states and the Western Climate Initiative, of which BC is a member.

"Tackling climate change requires international co-operation and collaboration unlike anything we have seen before. It is vitally important that as we design our own market systems we co-ordinate with other provinces, states, nations and continents," said Premier Campbell.

"The partnership we have signed today opens the door, for the first time ever, to jurisdictions around the globe to share ideas and new technologies, and ultimately will lay the foundation for compatible market-based systems to trade carbon offsets and credits worldwide," he added.

The ICAP agreement was also signed by Canadian and U.S. members of the Western Climate Initiative, northeastern U.S. members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as European members including the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, and the European Commission. New Zealand and Norway joined on behalf of their emissions trading programs.

"A larger, global trading market will benefit British Columbia and Canada, particularly with our province playing a pivotal role in the process to develop a system," said Campbell. "The very existence of a global carbon market will boost demand for low-carbon products and services and drive innovation as the entire world looks for efficient, cost-effective ways to cut carbon emissions."

British Columbia will be introducing new legislative measures this fall to put GHG reduction targets into law as part of the government's strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% below current levels by 2020. The provincial government will also be holding sectoral symposiums to discuss GHG emission reduction strategies specific to the forestry, mining, energy and agriculture industries, as well as waste and landfills.

More information on the International Carbon Partnership is available on the ICAP Web site, www.ICAPCarbonAction.com.

In other climate change activities, BC's Campbell also signed a partnership agreement with Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, pledging co-operation between the two governments to deal with climate change, improve conditions for Aboriginal citizens, and further international relations and trade.

The agreement affirms the commitment of both provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels and beyond, and sets out specific actions that will help meet those targets. Measures include:

*developing and implementing green building codes that achieve the highest level of energy efficiency in Canada;

*broadening renewable energy portfolios to include additional hydro, wind power, geothermal, solar and biomass power;

*designing a multi-sector market-based mechanism through the Western Climate Initiative by the end of August 2008; and

*promoting the development and use of low-emitting vehicle technologies including plug-in hybrid and hydrogen technologies and through initiatives such as the Hydrogen Highway and hydrogen transit projects.

As well, the provinces will pursue a "one project-one assessment" approach with the federal government to streamline environmental assessments.

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