Kyle Aben, a TRU alumni, was invited to talk about climate change solutions and policies. Since 2008, Aben has run his own consulting company called Carbon Realities Consulting.
He’s been working with Prince George Chamber of Commerce on their carbon reduction program, and the city of Quesnel on implementing a climate action plan.
During the presentation, Aben touched on federal, provincial and municipal policies. He gave a brief history of how little we did to implement climate plans with Stephen Harper in government.
“Under Stephen Harper, we didn’t just not want to do anything, there is proof of us trying to derail agreements under Harper,” Aben claimed.
As of June this year, 27 cities in BC have declared a climate emergency. After doing this, Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain expansion project, a crucial step for the pipeline project.
“It’s hard to keep climate change a non-political conversation, but I don’t believe it should be,” Aben said, “Your political stripes should not dictate whether we want to address climate change or not.”
In regards to BC policies, former BC Premier, Gordon Campbell, implemented some of the toughest climate policies in North America. The biggest policy that gets news around the world is the carbon tax. Though the province has increased our emissions in the last two years, statistical analysis has made it clear our emissions would be much higher without the carbon tax.
People such as Doug Ford, the current Premier of Ontario, claims that the carbon tax is a job killer. Yet British Columbia has had the carbon tax for a decade and we have the lowest unemployment in the country.
Since the NDP took power in BC, our climate policies have been more enhanced. They’re very focussed on the zero-emission vehicle support, implementing vehicle chargers throughout the province.
Aben address how many institutions in BC, including Thompson Rivers University, are carbon neutral, meaning we’ve taken action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as we have put into it. The BC government has also become carbon neutral, being the first government in North America to do so.
Lastly, Aben touched on local policies, discussing how each city in BC has to measure and report their emissions to the government while including what they’ve been doing to lower these emissions.
Major step cities have taken is organic waste diversion is instead of putting waste in landfills they’re turning it into resources. “I don’t care if it costs money, it’s the right thing to do,” Aben explained. “We’re paying to keep waste in a dump for 100 to 130 years when we can make it into the soil in eight weeks!”
Aben received a round of applause for his research and thanked his alma mater for inviting him back to share it.