Climate experts study extreme weather

Environment Minister Terry Lake welcomes weather and climate experts to Victoria Monday. Lake is now in charge of B.C.'s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one third in the next nine years.

Weather and climate experts from across Canada are gathered in Victoria this week to share their latest findings on the extreme events they expect to increase as industrialized societies continue to pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Scientists are presenting papers that examine all sorts of extreme weather events, including high winds, blizzards and tornadoes. Studies also examine ocean effects such as increased acidity and lower oxygen content.

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake welcomed delegates Monday to the 45th annual meeting of the the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. Lake reminded delegates of B.C.’s “aggressive” target to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

B.C.’s carbon tax on fossil fuels is about to increase for the third time since it was introduced in 2008. On July 1 the tax goes up just over a cent to 5.56 cents on a litre of gasoline, 6.39 cents on a litre of diesel and similar increases for natural gas, jet fuel, coal and other carbon-based fuels.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has committed to follow through with another round of carbon tax increases in 2012, and is continuing former premier Gordon Campbell’s policy that all government operations should be “carbon neutral.”

That proved controversial this spring as the provincially-owned Pacific Carbon Trust chose what projects it will fund with carbon credits that school districts and health regions are required to buy. Among the recipients is EnCana Corp., whose natural gas wells and facilities in northeastern B.C. put it among the province’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.

Opposition critics pointed out that companies such as EnCana are exempt from carbon tax on their industrial process emissions, and school districts end up subsidizing their cleanup efforts while struggling to balance budgets.

Lake said B.C.’s 60 school districts paid a total of $5 million to be come carbon neutral in 2010.

NDP education critic Robin Austin said the B.C. government should use the carbon offset payments to upgrade the energy efficiency of school facilities, rather than giving the money to profitable corporations.

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Concrete beams for McKenzie interchange set for installation this weekend

No lane closures expected during weekend work, says ministry

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read