Will British Columbia keep its status as Canada’s greenest province?

By Mana Tulberg

Read the latest edition of Business Review Canada!

British Columbia: 2014’s Greenest Province

Corporate Knights, the magazine for clean capitalism, has ranked Canada’s gateway to the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia, 2014’s greenest province.

Corporate Knights’ Green Provinces and States Report Card uses 10 key performance indicators across six categories:

  1. Air & Climate: Measures the efficiency of a region with energy use and lower air pollution productivity.
  2. Water: Calculates the amount of water consumed per-capita.
  3. Nature: Indicates the percentage of land and water protected by law.
  4. Transportation: Specifies the number of persons per public electric vehicle charging station and vehicle kilometers driven per capita
  5. Waste: Evaluates waste productivity and the rate of waste diversion.
  6. Energy:  Reflects how efficiently energy is being used and percentage of renewable electricity generated as a percentage of overall generation.

B.C. has the highest percentage of protected land in Canada, and British Columbians drive the fewest kilometers per capita than other Canadians. As it happens, B.C. has 38 percent fewer kilometers driven than Alberta, which registered the most kilometers per capita.

Relative to population, the province has the highest density of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the country. In this study, B.C. was proven to be one of the most efficient energy users in the country with the lowest amount of pollutants emitted. According to a study from researchers at the University of Ottawa, the CO2 emissions from gasoline consumption fell in the province by 3.5 million tonnes since the B.C. carbon tax was enacted in July 2008.

However, after the recent announcement by B.C’s Ministry of Environment, there is some speculation about the future of the province. British Columbia has approved a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be developed by Malaysia’s Petronas, along with two pipelines to service Canada’s liquefied natural gas industry. The Petronas’ terminal, along with the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) pipeline, which is being developed by TransCanada Corp, and the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline, proposed by Spectra Energy Corp can have a significant impact on B.C.’s green report card.

According to Pembina Institute, an organization working to protect Canada’s environment, Carbon pollution from this scale of LNG development could reach 73 million tones (MT) per year by 2020, that is a 30 MT above B.C.’s 2020 climate target. 

British Columbia is rapidly moving towards developing facilities for LNG exports, but there are still many important unanswered questions about the impacts on B.C.’s environment.

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