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

Kelowna connection to dead cryptocurrency exchange CEO

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Okanagan home to 2 of the best North American lake towns

TripAdvisor gives a nod to Kelowna and Osoyoos

‘There is no market for it,’ Kelowna apartment recycling takes a hit

Waste Connection of Canada’s is no longer picking up certain materials in the Central Okanagan

Summerland connection in early hockey game

Two local property owners played in Montreal in 1875

Crime Stoppers’ latest Kelowna-based unsolved crimes

RCMP and Crime Stoppers search info for incidents from West Kelowna through to Lake Country

Music Rundown: Who you should be watching play live this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Thieves steal bottles, mattress from recycle depot

Chase RCMP still investigating theft of tires, generator from commercial garage

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Regional district seeks $13 million to get rolling on Rail Trail

Federal grant would pay for a paved path from Sicamous to Armstrong

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Cold War Cabaret offers song, slam poetry and sock puppets

Devon More returns to Shuswap with Berlin Waltz, March 16

Most Read