B.C. premier stuns critics with plans to go green

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The premier of British Columbia wanted to bring coal-burning plants and offshore oil rigs to this lush province, so environmental groups were ready for a fight as he prepared his government’s annual policy speech last month.

They were stunned when Premier Gordon Campbell delivered a list of green promises that surpassed their most ambitious dreams.

He would not only stop the growth in greenhouse gases in the province, he said, but also slash them by one-third. He would gut the coal-plant plans. Embrace wind power. Lease hybrid cars for the government. Squelch environmental pollution by the powerful oil and gas industry. Toughen car-emission regulations.

His plans would make British Columbia what The Globe and Mail newspaper called “the continent’s greenest spot.” Campbell also proposed an enterprising alliance with California to create a Pacific Coast bloc of states and provinces to tackle climate change without waiting for action from their federal governments.

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