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Energy & Infrastructure

Natural resources are, and will continue to be, a crucial component of the economic well-being of British Columbians. To advance BC's prosperity, we must responsibly develop new forms of energy resources and build the necessary infrastructure to connect them with global markets. The Council’s work supports the efforts of businesses and governments to develop resource projects, energy systems and transportation networks in a way that minimizes the environmental impacts and maximizes economic benefits for communities and BC’s job creators.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions - The Costs Vary By Industry

Policy-makers in a growing number of jurisdictions are committed to taking steps to reverse – or at least slow the growth of – greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are believed to contribute to global warming.

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Climate Progress in BC

If you read the recently released 2014 Progress Report on Climate Action in BC and some of the related commentary, one would think BC is doing really well on meeting its climate objectives. It’s not surprising to see the government pat itself on the back, but the self-congratulation is overdone in the context of the 2020 33% legislated reduction target that was put in place in 2007. We have only run 2.4 km of a 40 km marathon race. It was clear in 2007 that the government of the day was too ambitious in adopting the 33% goal, and the latest data confirm this.

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The LNG Opportunity in BC: Separating Rhetoric from Reality -- Part II

In Part I of this two-part series, we reviewed the main economic critiques of LNG development in British Columbia, concluding that while there are risks and economic uncertainties with respect to LNG in the province, the critics are largely off base with their professed economic concerns. Here in Part II, we address the more analytically challenging environmental issues that have been identified by various commentators who doubt the benefits of LNG.

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Metro Vancouver’s Transportation Choices: How the Mayors got it right and wrong at the same time

Last week the Mayors’ Council, representing 23 local governments in Metro Vancouver, released their long term vision for the region’s transportation system. On many aspects of transportation planning the Mayors’ proposed blueprint moved the region closer to a comprehensive vision that could, conceivably, pass the muster of a regional referendum. To their collective credit, the Mayors for the most part resisted the temptation to play politics with the priorities - the investment side of the plan displays a degree of reasonableness that has often been lacking in transportation debates in the region.

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The LNG Opportunity in BC: Separating Rhetoric from Reality -- Part I

At the same time as China and Russia signed a massive 30 year, $400 billion natural gas trade agreement, the BC government continued its push to establish an LNG industry with a (successful) global LNG conference in Vancouver. The May event came on the heels of Premier Clark’s fifth trip to Asia promoting, in part or full, LNG opportunities in the province.  

The China-Russia agreement is emblematic of the changing energy supply landscape; it also speaks to the size of the potential opportunity for jurisdictions like BC considering the contract constitutes only 29% of China’s future import requirement.

Closer to home, critics continue to question whether BC can develop the LNG sector in a responsible and economically sensible manner that will deliver the benefit set expected by government.  

In this two part Energy and Environment Bulletin, we assess the validity of arguments suggesting BC is making a mistake in seeking to advance LNG and that the province would be wiser to halt, slow down or significantly change its approach to LNG development. 

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What will $48 Trillion get you?

The strong correlation between energy use, economic growth (GDP) and improving standards of living is well documented. All societies that have significantly improved quality of life have relied heavily on energy and energy systems to do so.

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BC Ports and Shipping Industry are Global Leaders

The shipping industry is one of the oldest in the world but is not well known -- even though many immigrants arrived by boat to North America.  Settlers relied on ships to move supplies to the New World from the Old World.  Today, shipping is still a fundamental means of conducting trade and transporting goods from place to place. In Canada, shipping represents the dominant mode of bulk deliveries for both exports and imports to and from markets other than the United States.

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BP's Global Energy Outlook 2035 - Confirmation of Some Key Energy Trends

Given the critical importance of energy production and use  to our societies (economic , social and environmental), the forecasting of energy supply and demand is an essential tool in helping to shape the myriad public and private sector policies and investment decisions required to ensure energy availability and effective energy resource use.

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D'Avignon: YVR project Earns Environmental Assessment Certificate
It is crucial that capacity grows to meet trade and travel opportunities
(Vancouver Sun)

The B.C. government recently approved the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project and granted its Environmental Assessment Certificate. This is an important milestone and something we support specifically on its merits, but just as importantly for the signal this sends to investors that seek to do business and create jobs in B.C. The message underlying this project and this decision is that B.C. is open for investment and the province can get projects approved on their environmental, social and economic merits. This includes robust review and engagement, within reasonable time frames that are crucial to economic and investor certainty.

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On the Road to Emissions Reductions:
Environment and Energy Bulletin on BC's Low Carbon Fuel Standard

This edition of our Environment and Energy Bulletin was written by guest author Selina Lee-Andersen, Counsel, Environmental and Aboriginal Law, McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

As a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transportation sector has been identified by policy makers as a sector in which significant emission reductions can be achieved. One of the policy instruments designed to reduce GHG emissions is the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), which is intended to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels measured on a life-cycle basis.

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Submission: Site C Clean Energy Project

The Business Council's comments to the Joint Review Panel on the Site C Clean Energy Project

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Congested and Nowhere to Go:
Congestion, Road Infrastructure, and Road Pricing in Metro Vancouver

Transportation continues to be a top-of-mind concern for policy makers, business leaders and communities in the lower mainland. How best to manage and use the region's scarce transportation capacity is a complex and often contentious question. In this paper, Jonathan Arnold, who recently completed a co-op term at the Business Council as part of his SFU graduate public policy degree program, explores a number of issues related to transportation demand management, including road pricing, in the Greater Vancouver context.

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Building New Energy Advantages for BC:
Understanding and Benefiting from the Transformation of BC's Energy Marketplaces

A white paper on Energy Policy in BC

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News Release: Business Council Releases White Paper on Energy Policy in BC: Building New Energy Advantages for BC

The Business Council of BC today released a comprehensive review of provincial energy policies designed to help advance the development of BC's vast array of energy resources in a more coordinated and market driven manner.

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D'Avignon: BC could be world leader in safe transportation of energy products (Vancouver Sun)

The West Coast Spill Response Study outlines issues that need to be addressed to prevent oil spills and ensure an effective, coordinated response should one occur in the future. Such spills could stem from B.C.-originated marine traffic or transitory traffic near our coast involving the shipment of oil or oil products from Alaska to the nearby centre of oil-refining complexes across Georgia Straight at Cherry Point in Washington state.

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D’Avignon: B.C. could be world leader in safe transportation of energy products (Vancouver Sun)

The West Coast Spill Response Study outlines issues that need to be addressed to prevent oil spills and ensure an effective, coordinated response should one occur in the future. Such spills could stem from B.C.-originated marine traffic or transitory traffic near our coast involving the shipment of oil or oil products from Alaska to the nearby centre of oil-refining complexes across Georgia Straight at Cherry Point in Washington state.

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Transportation - The Way We Move Part II

This is part two of a two part Environment and Energy Bulletin that explores the topic of transportation. Part one focused on the context, statistics and some key issues that set the stage for part two, a high level discussion of policy options for managing transportation and related infrastructure issues going forward.

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BC Agenda For Shared Prosperity Final Report

September 25, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – The Business Council of British Columbia and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce today released the final report of the BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity initiative. For a year, the two organizations have sought expert and community-based answers to the question: “How can BC become a more prosperous province for all British Columbians?”

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Why electricity rates have to rise - and why little can be done to reduce the impacts

For 50 years BC Hydro has been the jewel of BC's Crown corporations. A source of pride and a foundational source for much of the province's prosperity, BC Hydro provides an array of benefits to British Columbians – from comparatively low electricity rates to significant revenues for government. The tremendous benefits BC Hydro delivers underscore what can happen when big infrastructure planning is done right. However, such legacy assets operating in a dynamic, growing region such as BC eventually must be upgraded and augmented by new sources of electricity to keep pace with economic development and other changes. Failure to do so will result in the erosion of legacy asset benefits and, over time, an unacceptable degradation of the system along with a growing reliance on imported electricity.

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Transportation -- The Way We Move

This is part one of a two part Environment and Energy Bulletin that will explore the topic of transportation. In part one we focus on the context, statistics and some key issues that set the stage for part two, a discussion of policy options and possible directions for managing transportation and related infrastructure issues going forward.

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