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Trudeau in Vancouver: PM pledges to lower emissions 40% by 2030

Trudeau attending Globe Forum as part of multi-day trip to B.C.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while speaking at the Globe Forum in Vancouver on March 29, 2022 | Tyler Orton, BIV

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “it cannot be business as usual” as extreme weather events ravage the planet. 

The prime minister was delivering a keynote address at the Globe Forum 2022 in downtown Vancouver just after his government unveiled a new 2030 Emissions Reduction plan Tuesday.

The plan aims to reduce emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared with levels in 2005.

“Let’s be clear. You can grow the economy while taking climate action,” Trudeau said while visiting one the world’s largest sustainability conferences as part of a multi-day trip to B.C.

“If we don’t do this now, it will be too late.”

B.C. has been hit hard by extreme weather over the past year, as a heat dome descended upon the province in the summer to smash temperature records, soon followed in the fall by ferocious floods that cut off transportation networks and destroyed land.

“Big oil lobbyists have had their time on the field. Now it’s over to workers and engineers who will build solutions for their sectors, for their communities and for their kids,” Trudeau said, while also outlining previously announced sales targets for zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) that would require 60 per cent of new vehicles to be ZEVs by 2030. By 2035, that target increases to 100 per cent.

The new plan sees Ottawa earmarking $400 million for new ZEV charging stations, totalling 50,000.

The plan also sees the government carve out $150 million for a green buildings strategy that would partner the feds with provinces to retrofit existing buildings. 

The Low Economy Carbon fund is also getting a boost to the tune of a $2.2-billion renewal as part of the 2030 Emissions Reduction plan.

The oil and gas sector is expected to reduce emissions 31 per cent compared with 2005 as a result of the new plan.

“Following consultations, the [emissions] cap will be designed to lower emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net zero by 2050,” the plan states.

The government said it's also working to reduce oil and gas methane by at least 75 percent by 2030

Meanwhioe, Crystal Smith, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, took to the stage just before Trudeau to address economic partnerships with Indigenous peoples.

“Over the course of several years, thanks to the negotiated agreements with companies in our territory, we have developed a robust program that is reconnecting our people to our cultural history and our language,” she said.

Last year, the Haisla Nation inked an agreement with Pembina Pipeline Corp. (TSX:PPL) for the former’s Cedar LNG project, a small floating LNG terminal that would be built on Haisla land.

“With Cedar LNG we have more than a seat [at the table]. We are owners and we are setting the standards we believe in with our values,” Smith said.

The Haisla Nation is also part of the First Nations Climate initiative, whose “mission is not only to fight climate change, but lead First Nations out of poverty, restore ecosystems and put reconciliation into action,” Smith added.

Trudeau kicked off his keynote discussing the invasion of Ukraine, acknowledging sanctions targeting aggressor Russia would result in higher energy and food prices in developed democracies.

“We must remain resolved to punish this criminal invasion with catastrophic sanctions on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his inner circle to make them pay for as long as it takes,” he said.

More to come …

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