Lake calls South African summit useful
As world leaders met in Durban, South Africa, to discuss to climate change last week, B.C.’s environment minister was busy at the summit representing the province’s interests.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake was invited to speak on a couple of panels during the UN climate-change summit, while getting to meet with some of his counterparts in other jurisdictions around the globe.
One such meeting was with the head of the California Air Resources Board, the agency looking over the state’s move to a cap-and-trade system.
Lake said B.C., which signed onto the Western Climate Initiative in 2007, does have the option to enter the system with California at some point, but he cautioned it would only happen if the move was best for the province.
The MLA indicated the system will have an impact on the province’s carbon tax, adding B.C. doesn’t want to put revenues at risk by moving to cap-and-trade.
Lake noted the province is discussing the issue with industry and environmental groups.
“I think we’ll take a wait-and-see approach at this point,” he told KTW.
“We want to make sure if we go ahead with that, it’s in the best interest of B.C.”
California is expected to fully implement the system by 2013.
Lake, who returned home on the weekend, also met with officials from China who are looking to other parts of the world to find ways of reducing the country’s greenhouse gases (GHG).
Specifically, the Asian country is eyeing B.C.’s liquified natural gas to help reduce GHGs by displacing its use of coal.
While Lake was in South Africa to represent the province, Canada was making its own headlines by withdrawing from the Kyoto accord.
The Kamloops MLA said there is “no secret” controversy surrounds the decision, but he said he met with his federal counterpart, Peter Kent, and understands the government’s decision.
“I think a lot Canadians want to be a part of the solution, but I also think many of them want large emitters like China and India to make a commitment to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions as well,” he said.
Lake added any comprehensive plan wouldn’t be complete without China.
Though Lake maintained attending the summit was useful, it didn’t come cheap.
Lake was part of three-person contingent who made the trip to Durban. He estimated the cost of the trip to be between $15,000 and $20,000.