How green? The political parties’ platforms on climate and environment

Climate change has become a key issue in voters’ minds as they prepare to cast ballots in Oct. 21 election. Here’s what the parties are promising:

Greens

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The Green Party’s 20-step climate- action plan makes a commitment to keep warming to 1.5 C. They promise to declare a climate emergency and commit to lowering greenhouse-gas emissions to 60 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Their platform also pledges to create an inner cabinet with representatives from every party to respond to climate change.

The Greens want to ban fracking, eliminate all subsidies for the fossil fuels industry and restore funding of climate research within the federal government and to universities that received funding prior to 2011, when Stephen Harper’s Conservatives came to power.

The plan calls for more protections for remaining old-growth forests, especially on southern Vancouver Island, and planting more trees in cities where they can create cooling areas and cut demand for air conditioning.

The party also promises that by 2030 all new cars will be electric, and internal combustion vehicles will be replaced with electric vehicles by 2040.

Liberals

The Liberals’ platform builds on their work over the last four years — the carbon tax, banning single-use plastics and protecting land and oceans. The party pledges to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 with legally binding five-year milestones guided by experts and in consultation with Canadians.

They would keep the carbon tax and invest every dollar earned from the Trans Mountain pipeline into a transition to clean energy. The party’s platform promises to provide loans of up to $40,000 to help homeowners pay for retrofits and $5,000 grants to help people buy new homes that are certified zero-emissions.

The Liberals pledge to improve the network of charging stations for zero-emissions vehicles by installing up to 5,000 more stations along major road networks and in urban and rural areas.

They would also expand on the current incentive for buying new zero-emissions vehicles to provide a rebate of up to $2,000 when buying used zero-emissions vehicles.

Conservatives

Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives promise to meet Canada’s Paris commitment to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, but provide few specifics. They want do away with the carbon tax.

Instead, they focus on supporting the development of green technology, a cleaner natural environment and “taking the climate change fight global.”

The Conservatives promise to encourage community engagement and consultation with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, like farmers, hunters, anglers and Indigenous communities.

They also intend to work with provinces and municipalities to stop the dumping of raw sewage into marine or freshwater systems.

Their platform pledges to champion clean Canadian industries by launching a “Canadian Clean” brand to identify “a high-quality product that is making a difference for our environment.”

NDP

The NDP would declare a climate emergency and implement greenhouse-gas reduction targets that would stabilize warming to 1.5 C.

Its platform includes the creation of an independent Climate Accountability Office to complete regular audits of the government’s progress on climate goals.

It would keep the carbon tax.

The party promises to modernize and expand public transit with the goal of moving to electric-powered transit vehicles by 2030.

It would work toward making zero-emissions vehicles the only new cars sold by 2040, and expand charging networks across the country as well as help homeowners with the cost of installing a charger.

The party would change the National Building Code so that all new buildings would be net-zero by 2030 and aim to retrofit all homes by 2050.

People’s Party

The People’s Party of Canada warns against “climate change alarmism” and asserts there is no consensus on what is causing the climate to change. Its platform suggests that increased carbon dioxide emissions are good for agriculture.

The party pledges to withdraw from the Paris Accord and abandon “unrealistic” targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. It would also cut funding to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions.

It would get rid of the federal carbon tax, but would allow provinces to adopt programs to reduce emissions if they wanted to. Subsidies for green technology would be abolished.

If climate change does take place, it would invest in adaptation strategies (however, the party foresees only “natural” climate change).

The party would repeal bills banning tanker traffic off the northern coast of B.C., change Canada’s regulatory review process, and find a private buyer for the Trans Mountain pipeline.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

— With files from The Canadian Press and the Vancouver Sun

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