Yesterday, the Nova Scotia government released its 2021-2022 Provincial Budget. Although there are some positive signals that suggest the government is taking its response to the climate emergency seriously, the question we are asking is: will it be enough?
There is an increase in funding devoted to climate change, clean growth and energy efficiency. There are investments in renewable energy, but there is still spending on offshore petroleum exploration and natural gas. The budget for geoscience and mines, petroleum resources and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is much higher than renewable and sustainable energy programs ($10 million versus just $1.8 million). We see funding for active transportation and public transit, but it’s a mere 1.5% of the spending on roads. There is $1.5 million allocated for an Aquaculture Expansion Strategy, but no details on what this will mean – will this be a subsidy for industrial-scale, polluting open net-pen salmon farms, or will this be a shift to sustainable shellfish farming?
In short, it is good to see spending on green initiatives, but the amount spent is simply not enough to address the reality of the climate and biodiversity emergencies
As Nova Scotia continues to recover from COVID-19 and faces down the intersecting crises of climate change, rising inequity, and biodiversity loss, the question we need to ask ourselves is not “are we spending more on green initiatives than last year?” but rather “is this level of budget spending going to support the level of action needed to respond to the climate emergency, build resilient communities, and support the wellbeing of all residents?”
EAC will continue to dig into the details of the budget. Interested in reading it for yourself? Click here for more info!