British Columbia’s (B.C.’s) government has announced the creation of a council to advise it on climate action and economic growth. A council with a similar mandate was formed by the former B.C. government in 2015, but its recommendations were largely ignored.
The new council, known as the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council, will be chaired by Merran Smith, executive director, Clean Energy Canada, and Marcia Smith, senior vice-president of Sustainability and External Affairs, Teck Resources Limited. They will be supported by 20 council members, including two from the provincial government.
According to the provincial government’s announcement, the new council “will provide advice to government on actions and policies that can contribute to carbon pollution reductions and optimize opportunities for sustainable economic development and job creation.” It will forward its advice to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy “on a regular basis”. This differs from the marching orders given to the Climate Leadership Team in 2015. That body was given six months to deliver a wide range of recommendations, including updates to the province’s climate plan.
Karen Tam Wu, the Pembina Institute’s acting B.C. director, will be taking a seat on the new council. Pembina was represented on the former Climate Leadership Team as well, and was roundly critical of the former government’s response to its recommendations. In an op-ed published on its website, it refers to this announcement as a rare opportunity for a do-over.
In a statement, Tam Wu says, “[i]n light of the stalled climate action and missed opportunities of recent years, B.C. needs to act swiftly and decisively to ratchet up measures to curb carbon pollution. I look forward to advising the government on how to jumpstart clean growth and secure a prosperous economy, safe communities, and healthy families in B.C.”