Nova Scotia presents a new climate plan, but does not lose sight of coal, gold and LNG

Nova Scotia has set 68 climate goals, including plans to reduce oil heating in homes and buildings, improve levees to prevent flooding and expand electric vehicle charging stations, in its advance plan released Wednesday.

The Climate Change Plan will help Nova Scotia meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 53 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, the Minister of State said on Wednesday. Environment and Climate Change, Timothy Halman. Halman did not attach a specific dollar amount to the new plan.

“It’s fair to say that the estimate of this is millions and millions of dollars that the government is willing to spend for climate adaptation and mitigation, and to ensure a just transition,” he told reporters.

He notes that the money will come from the province’s Green Fund, which currently receives income from the cap-and-trade system. Halman reaffirmed the will of the government plan to eliminate that system as of January 1, 2023, when it will then be replaced by a results-based system. That means big emitters will have to keep emissions below a certain threshold or pay up.

However, the plan will only apply to two companies at first: Nova Scotia Power and cement producer Lafarge.

“We recognize that there are probably 12 or 14 other entities that are likely to be a part of that, and those regulations that are being worked on and discussions are taking place with those companies,” Halman said.

The province grouped the climate plan into four categories:

  • respond to the impacts of climate change
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • seize opportunities for a cleaner and more sustainable economy
  • report and evaluate progress

Those categories are an attempt to address concerns laid out by a report released earlier in the week assessing climate risks. It found that sea levels will rise if the province, and the world, continue to increase emissions. Nova Scotia would see a 4.8 degree Celsius increase in annual temperature, a 10 percent increase in precipitation levels, and higher wind speeds. The report, released Monday, notes recent storms: hurricanes fiona and Juan, have “hit harder than ever” and those trends will continue and worsen.

The plan, which spans 15 government departments, includes a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by 90 percent by 2035. In it, the province commits to updating flood line mapping in the province and increase data collection in high-risk areas. through CLIMAtlantic, a regional climate change data services hub, which Nova Scotia will create in partnership with the federal government and other Atlantic provinces. He says expanding wind power and green hydrogen are priorities, but also includes renewable natural gas (still a global warming factor). fossil fuel) as a sector the province intends to expand.

Critics say the province’s approval of the Donkin coal mine last week runs counter to its climate targets, which the new plan is supposed to help achieve. #NSpoli #ClimateChange

In terms of energy efficiency, the province says it will help “over 20,000 low-income families reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions through the HomeWarming program” and support “2,600 energy efficiency jobs Nova Scotia Energy. Along with that is a commitment to reduce home heating oil use by at least 20 percent by 2030.

It also lists annual reports on the plan’s progress and a full review and renewal every five years, which Marla MacLeod of the Halifax Green Action Center said was good to see, though she stressed the province should set climate targets before 2030.

Although his overall reaction is “positive”, MacLeod said the climate plan will not achieve much if the province continues to allow extractive industries to run full steam ahead. He pointed to last week’s announcement that the Donkin coal mine will be allowed to operate until 2029, a push to expand gold mining, and talks of liquefied natural gas (LNG) development as evidence that the province is still moving in the wrong direction.

“We need to stop doing things that are going to undermine this plan. You can’t have it both ways,” she said.

In terms of the 68 climate goals, MacLeod called those actionable items he’s glad to see, saying the overall plan, along with progress checks committed to by the province, provide a window to hold government accountable.

“I think it gives us a good opportunity to push for good accountability mechanisms for missing targets…If we’re being honest, Nova Scotia and Canada as a whole have a long history of missing their target,” he said. .

“So if we’re not hitting our targets, I’d like to know why. And how we plan to address that. Because this is too important.”

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