Climate Action in BC: The November Offensive

Climate Action

Will you join me? I need lots of people to join the November Offensive, so that together, we can make a difference.

This summer’s forest fires and smoke-filled skies have left many of us asking, “What will it take to end the climate dithering and start DOING something to tackle the growing emergency?”

The IPCC has just reminded us of the urgency of the crisis, and the need to reduce emissions globally by 45% by 2030 if we are to limit the warming to 1.5C.

The BC NDP government is getting ready to launch its climate plan at the end of November, somehow combining climate action sufficient to meet its stated goal of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 with its recent climate-disastrous decision to approve the big LNG Canada project.

The timing is critical to impress our New Democrat and Green MLAs of the need for urgent action to speed the transition to 100% renewable energy and protect the forests.

When the government floated its ‘Intention Papers’ in August, my response was that they were really timid, far from what was needed. Our government must, must do better.

Here are my words from this August:

“Globally, we are heading for an unmitigated disaster. I have worked in the climate trenches for twenty-five years. I know this stuff inside-out. I have written two award-winning books on the solutions, which have been praised by climate scientists like James Hansen and by climate activists like Bill McKibben. I founded the BC Sustainable Energy Association fifteen years ago, to try to make an impact. I co-founded the Victoria Car-Share Cooperative (now part of MODO). It troubles me to see so little progress. These Intentions Papers are the unwitting prelude to disaster. We are selling our children and grandchildren down the river, to struggle or drown in an increasingly dark future.”

What is the November Offensive?

It has two goals. The first is that people will write as soon as possible to one of the New Democrat and Green Party MLAs on Vancouver Island, to impress upon her or him the urgency, and to present a set of 12 climate policy requests (see below) that are appropriate to the scale of the crisis. The goal of the Offensive is that every Vancouver Island NDP and Green MLA should receive 50 letters, urging rapid action.

And please note: a letter is so much better than an email: that’s why there is no ready-made “click here” email with this initiative.

The second goal is that people will step forward to seek a meeting with their MLA, to impress the same urgency and solutions in person.

The concise, specific, actionable request is that the MLA you meet with will convey your concerns, hopes and recommended 12 Actions in person to to George Heyman (Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy) and to John Horgan, Premier of BC.

I realize that the true goal must be to reach EVERY NDP MLA in the province, and to that end I have included the contact details for every MLA below. If you can pick up on this and spread it to the rest of BC, please do.

Who is organizing the November Offensive?

I am, Guy Dauncey. I’m hoping that everyone who shares my concern about the climate crisis will join me, including supporters of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, the Sierra Club, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, the Dogwood Initiative, Clean Energy Canada, Clean Energy BC, the Ancient Forests Alliance, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the many No Pipeline groups, the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans, Raincoast, and other groups.

Are You In?

I have posted the contact details for each NDP and Green MLA below the Twelve Climate Actions. Please use this Facebook Page to share that you have written a letter, and to find people who will join you who share your interest in meeting with your MLA.

To arrange a meeting, send an email and follow up with a phone call, impressing on the constituency assistant the urgency of your concern. Once you have a meeting arranged, let me know and I’ll note it on the chart below. We need to get these letters and meetings done within the next 2-3 weeks, before the NDP finalizes its plans.

Will a transition this fast create or destroy jobs?

To counter fears that such rapid change will destroy jobs, please refer to my paper here which demonstrates (for all of Canada) that making such a rapid transition would create almost twice as many jobs as would be lost.

Twelve Climate Actions for BC

to Match the IPCC’s Recommended Goals

Download these here as a PDF: Twelve Climate Actions for BC

  1. We Need Province-Wide Public Engagement, with active social media, two-minute video-clips, a website, a travelling roadshow and a movie to briefly show the nature of the crisis and then get people excited about the solutions, sharing stories from around the world where the solutions are already in play, and how new jobs are created by the transition. We need to reverse the fear that the impact of the solutions will be worse than the impact of the crisis.
  2. We Need 100% Renewable Energy by 2040 for all purposes, with 45% by 2030. Various jurisdictions have embraced a 100% target, including Vancouver, Victoria and Saanich.[i] We don’t need to know in detail how to get there. NASA did not know how to get to the moon when Kennedy made his commitment in 1961. They just had the determination to do it. To help finance this, we need to remove BC’s $1.1 billion a year subsidies on fossil fuels, and apply the money to renewables instead, which receive 23 times less – just $47.5 million. The carbon tax should continue to increase as planned, and some of the revenues should to be used to help industry reduce its emissions with incentives (see #12).
  3. We Need Set a Strong Target for 95% GHG Reduction by 2040. To minimize the risk of climate disaster we ideally need to reach 100% tomorrow. That’s not achievable, but 2040 is. As the transition gathers steam, and as people gain confidence that its possible, and awareness about the climate reality sinks in, we could advance the goal to 2035.
  4. We Need Annual Government Carbon Budgeting, legally mandated to hold the government accountable to its goals, with an Auditor-General of Carbon as an independent Officer of the Legislature. Britain has been successful with this approach, reducing their emissions to the level they were in 1890.[ii] If the relevant ministers meet their annual targets they should receive a bonus, to be given to the charity or non-profit of their choice. For a summary of government carbon budgeting, I recommend Marc Lee’s paper at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.[iii]
  5. We Need to Stand Firm Against the Pipeline, which will enable tar-sands corporations to pump yet more carbon into Earth’s distressingly overheated atmosphere, while endangering our west coast ocean. We should also NOT continue with the planned LNG facility, because of its massive carbon and methane emissions.
  6. We Need a government mandate that 50% of New Cars and Light Trucks are EVs by 2025 and 100% by 2030, following Norway‘s example, not by 2040 as the Intentions Paper proposes.[iv]  To support the goal, there should be tax-breaks for dealers and sales-people who meet the target, financed by a new fee on gas-guzzling cars. By 2025, a new electric vehicle with a range of 400km will cost the same as a gasoline vehicle.[v] We need continued financial support for new electric vehicles and for their charging infrastructure.
  7. We Need Massive Support for Urban Cycling, aiming to achieve levels similar to those in Holland (27% of all trips)[vi] and Copenhagen (41% of all trips to work and study).[vii] This will also reduce healthcare costs and make people happier. Where there are hills, e-bikes eliminate gravity.
  8. We Need a Huge Expansion of Transit, which means electric transit. China has 400,000 electric buses on the road.[viii] Together, transit, cycling, car-sharing and closer commutes[ix] could end the increasingly long traffic congestion delays that are so frustrating, and make our cities instead happy, healthy, delightful and green. A new electric bus costs more to buy but less to run, and pays for itself over the 12-year life of a bus. Revenues from the carbon tax should be used to finance solutions like these, and not returned to the taxpayer.
  9. We Need all New Buildings to be Zero Carbon by 2024, learning from the example of Brussels, Belgium. In 2011 they announced that every new building in the city must meet the Passive House standard by 2015. Since then, every new building, large or small, public or private, has been super-efficient and carbon neutral. They needed just four years for carpenters to train in the new approach. This would speed up the current commitment for all new buildings to be net-zero ready by 2030. To achieve this, the government should accelerate the implementation timeline for the existing Step Code.
  10. We Need No Oil-Heated Buildings after 2025 and no gas-heated buildings after 2030, accompanied by a world-class program to support building retrofits, from single family homes and condos to commercial buildings. The finance for the investment should be tied to utility bills, so that the savings pay for the retrofit over a period of time.
  11. We Need to Protect the Carbon in BC’s Forests and Farms. In 2017 wildfires in BC released between 150 and 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, more than twice the volume created by human activity. We need to protect all of the remaining ancient old growth forests, which store so much carbon, and to plan a transition of all logging in the province from clearcutting to sustainable ecoforestry methods for First Nations involvement. To help, the government should provide tax breaks to industry to invest in mills that use small logs, like the recently announced San Group in Port Alberni, and massively increase tree-planting to well beyond replacement. We also need to begin a planned transition to 100% organic and regenerative farming and holistic grazing, since these methods have been proven to store more carbon in the soil.
  12. We Need a Climate Test for all New Industrial Projects, targeting Zero Carbon by 2040, with yearly targets for reduction and sectoral councils involving business, labour and government to plan the annual reductions, as proposed by Marc Lee, Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Transportation (39%), buildings (10%) and industry (40%) account for 89% of BC’s emissions.[x]

NDP and Green MLAs 2018

* Cabinet Minister

John HORGAN* Langford-Juan de Fuca
Mitzi DEAN Esquimalt-Metchosin
Carole JAMES* Victoria-Beacon Hill
Rob FLEMING* Victoria-Hillside
Andrew WEAVER Oak Bay-Gordon Head
 Lana POPHAM* Saanich South
Adam OLSEN Saanich North and the Islands
Sonia FURSTENAU Cowichan Valley
Doug ROUTLEY Nanaimo-North Cowichan
Scott FRASER* Mid Island-Pacific Rim
Ronna-Rae LEONARD Courtenay-Comox
Claire TREVENA* North Island
Jennifer RICE North Coast
Doug DONALDSON* Stikine
Nicholas SIMONS Powell River-Sunshine Coast
Bowinn MA North Vancouver-Lonsdale
David EBY* Vancouver-Point Grey
Spencer CHANDRA HERBERT Vancouver-Burrard
George CHOW* Vancouver-Fraserview
Adrian DIX* Vancouver-Kingsway
Mable ELMORE Vancouver Kensington
George HEYMAN* Vancouver-Fairview
Melanie MARK* Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Shane SIMPSON* Vancouver-Hastings
Katrina CHEN* Burnaby-Lougheed
Raj CHOUHAN Burnaby-Edmonds
Janet ROUTLEDGE Burnaby North
Anne KANG Burnaby-Deer Lake
Judy DARCY* New Westminster
Harry BAINS* Surrey-Newton
Garry BEGG Surrey-Guildford
Jagrup BRAR Surrey-Fleetwood
Bruce RALSTON* Surrey-Whalley
Jinny SIMS* Surrey-Panorama
Rachna SINGH Surrey-Green Timbers
Ravi KAHLON Delta North
Lisa BEARE* Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
Bob D’EITH Maple-Ridge-Mission
Mike FARNWORTH* Port Coquitlam
Rick GLUMAC Port Moody-Coquitlam
Selina ROBINSON* Coquitlam-Maillardville
Michelle MUNGALL* Nelson-Creston
Katrine CONROY* Kootenay West

[i] 100% Renewable Energy:

Most of the world’s countries could run on 100% renewable energy by 2050, says study. World Economic Forum, Sept 17, 2017.

Renewable Cities:

[ii] Analysis: UK carbon emissions in 2017 fell to levels last seen in 1890. Carbon Brief. March 7, 2018.

[iii] Submission to BC Government and Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council. Marc Lee, CCPA, August 2018

[iv] These countries want to ditch gas and diesel cars. CNN Money, July 26, 2017.

[v] Nissan sees 2025 as turning point for electric cars. Financial Tines, Feb 18, 2018.

[vi] Dutch Cycling Figures. Bicycle Dutch, January 2018.

[vii] Copenhagen City of Cyclists – facts and figures 2017. Cycling Embassy of Denmark, July 4, 2017.

[viii] How China Took Charge of the Electric Bus Revolution. CityLab, May 8, 2018.

Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry. Bloomberg, April 23, 2018

[ix] Closer Commutes:

[x] BC GHGs, 2015:


6 thoughts on “Climate Action in BC: The November Offensive

  1. Hi Guy, I was at your presentation to the World Federalists last Friday. I’m the guy who was pessimistic about the future of the planet. Like many other “more mature” folk there, I deliberately do not do Facebook, Linked-In, Tweet, or any other risky invasive technologies. I use email pure and simple. I will be approaching Carol James about your November offensive. She is laying a wreath at the legislature on November 9 and I am have been the choir director for the last 11 year. We have a lunch afterwards and I will pin her down with your 12 points then. Yet, I am sceptical of the strategy. All MLAs are really the captive of the premier and his office. One can make a lot of sense and still be stymied because the logic does not fit the overall narrative of the Party. Witness Site C and the LNG project. Horgan is from the Union/Jobs faction of the NDP and therefore will be going in that direction. Like Trudeau, he will give lip service to climate change but his priorities lie elsewhere. Realistically, we have to hope that Prop. Rep carries the day and the Greens can take a more active role. Certainly to defeat the NDP and get the Liberals back is no improvement. So, we have to hope that the Green presence is greater and can, in the end make the difference.


    Peter Dent


    1. Many thanks – I am of the same mind! We need a really strong climat plan now, however – it can’t wait until 2021, and hopefully a stronger Pro-Rep Green”NDP Coalition


  2. Great blog post and call to action Guy
    I will be sure to put a letter together and mail it in to Doug Routley . Also on the topic of animal based agriculture, I think we need to be even more extreme than organic holistic grazing. the entire food industry needs to change to make even a dent in climate change. I listened to this podcast yesterday and you may find it extremely educational and informative. Cheers ~ Chris


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