BC’s Coal Exports Undermine Climate Action Goals


Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on the mounting criticism from climate scientists of BC’s growing coal exports and their contribution to carbon emissions. (Feb. 20, 2012)

VANCOUVER — Coal is fast gaining notoriety as the dirtiest fossil fuel and a growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions, all of which is staining the B.C. government’s green climate-action initiatives.

“It’s a curious inconsistency of the old economy and the new economy at the same time,” said Dan Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California in Berkeley.

In an interview Monday, he said B.C. must take into account not just carbon emissions within the province, but the full emissions resulting from its coal exports.

“On one hand B.C. is an impressive innovator …” said Kammen, who recently served as chief technical specialist for renewable energy and energy efficiency at the World Bank.

B.C.’s climate-action initiatives include provincial greenhouse gas targets, low-carbon energy projects, the Carbon Tax Act and the Pacific Carbon Trust.

“Like the U.S. and Australia, B.C. also exports coal and that has to go on the books somewhere,” Kammen continued. “That accounting is going to be controversial. No one wants to put pressure on a revenue-producing and job-producing [export] industry.

“But it’s exactly the sort of thing we have to sort out as we figure how to institute a lower-carbon economy going forward.”