Cariboo North and Cariboo-Chilcotin election candidates discuss climate change

Cariboo North and Cariboo-Chilcotin election candidates discuss climate change

In the third and final question asked by the Tribune, candidates in the Cariboo North and Cariboo-Chilcotin riding were asked if they accept the physical science basis of climate change and, if so, how serious a threat do they feel it poses to our society?

Cariboo North

Scott Elliott (NDP)

Of course climate change is real. We need to take it seriously. Christy Clark has consistently put big corporate polluters first, and the people of this province are paying the price — just look at Mount Polley.

John Horgan has a plan to reduce emissions and build a sustainable economy that puts people to work. In fact, adapting to a clean economy creates the jobs of the future, and will save us money in the long run. Together, we can defend B.C.’s environment, fight carbon pollution, and build a better B.C.

Tony Goulet

(BC Conservatives)

There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claims on a global scale. Growing insurance and infrastructure repair costs, particularly in coastal areas, are sometimes claimed to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms. In reality they are a function of increasing population density, escalating development value and even more media reports. We need to look at the Carbon Tax and how that has been a failed policy, a harmful tax grab on B.C. families, to pay for mismanagement of the economy.

Richard Jaques (Green)

I feel there has been a change in my lifetime, a physical change that I have witnessed firsthand travelling throughout B.C. and Alberta.

The Columbia Ice Fields being the most obvious. As a child the glacier was beside the roadway, we would have snowball fights just feet from our family camper van; now you must travel two miles up via tundra buggy to reach the edge of the same glacier.

Secondly, the collapse of salmon runs in B.C. rivers with a possible link to rising river temperatures and pollution. I believe in scientific data however, it has its limitations, its validity can be affected by those interpreting same for their own use. Ultimately, I am a realist, I have witnessed climate change firsthand. Do I think physical science has a part to play? Yes absolutely. Has human kind been a contributing factor? Likely. Should we migrate away from fossil fuel dependence? Yes, it wouldn’t hurt and might reverse some of the damage we’ve caused.

Coralee Oakes

(Liberal)

Our government is recognized as a world leader in the fight against climate change ­— we were the first in North America to introduce a broad-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax.

We believe in reducing emissions while growing the economy and protecting affordability. That’s why every penny raised through the carbon tax is returned through tax cuts and direct supports to people and businesses.

And we are standing up so that B.C. isn’t punished for our leadership under the national climate plan — we have secured an independent review of carbon pricing across the country in 2020 to ensure those of us in the Cariboo don’t pay more than people in Toronto.

Cariboo-Chilcotin

Donna Barnett

(Liberal)

Yes and British Columbia is a recognized world leader in the fight against climate change. We were the first jurisdiction in North American to introduce a broad-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax. Our plan is built on solid principles: carbon tax revenue neutrality, affordability for British Columbians, and competitiveness with other jurisdictions to ensure our citizens and employers are not unfairly treated as we grow our economy.

From converting energy sources in our natural gas fields from diesel to clean electricity, to helping fund the refurbishment of electricity transmission lines between Alberta and B.C. to help Alberta transition from coal fired power to clean electricity, British Columbia has a plan to help fight global climate change.

We have frozen the carbon tax, but the NDP will raise to 50 dollars a ton and the Green Party will raise to 70 dollars a ton.

Rita Giesbrecht (Green)

On the question of climate change, the BC Green Party is led by one of this country’s foremost climate scientists. Andrew Weaver. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers in climate, meteorology, oceanography, earth science, policy, education and anthropology journals.

Andrew Weaver was lead author in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for four consecutive scientific assessments; and has published two books on climate change. I did not doubt the evidence before entering politics on behalf of the BC Green Party, and certainly trust Dr. Weaver’s expertise now. The science is sound.

We are experiencing challenges, but they need not be threatening. Now is the time to seize the opportunities for new and innovative clean energy technologies that are our 21st century future. We have resilience and wealth enough that with intelligent management we can be socially and economically balanced, while we make the necessary adaptations.

Sally Watson (NDP)

Of course, climate change is a real problem. The science is settled and only a vote for the BC NDP will bring in a climate change plan that puts us on the path toward meeting our obligations to fight climate change.

Irreversible changes to our climate could have profound impacts on our way of life in the Cariboo. From impacting the types of trees or plants that can be grown to changing the migration patterns or life cycles of animals, to long-term health impacts on people, the challenges brought about by a changing climate will difficult, if not impossible, to mitigate.

The BC NDP plan puts us back on a path to sustainability, and includes a plan to create jobs and generate sustainable power for today and the future.