EAC panel series uncovers deep concerns about flaws in provincial climate policy | Ecology Action Centre

EAC panel series uncovers deep concerns about flaws in provincial climate policy


K’JIPUKTUK [HALIFAX] – The provincial government’s proposed carbon pricing system may actually allow the province’s emissions to increase, and won’t support the province’s most vulnerable.

That’s what was heard during the Capping Carbon | Trading Talk panel series, hosted by the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and its partners. Six public events were held throughout Nova Scotia between March 9 and June 29, 2017.

The series has been the only public engagement on carbon pricing in Nova Scotia since the design of the system was proposed. To date, the Nova Scotia Government has not conducted public consultations or information sessions, although a small group of industry, academic and NGO stakeholders have been consulted.

Nearly eight months after the Nova Scotia Government announced that they would implement a cap-and-trade system by 2018, many key details have still not been released, and stakeholders are expressing concerns about the proposed carbon pricing system.

“For us, the main goals for a carbon pricing system are to reduce emissions and stimulate innovation while supporting the most vulnerable in this province. Unfortunately, we’re concerned the proposed system will do none of that,” said Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.

The series heard from panelists across various sectors - including transportation, built environment, agriculture, forestry, and energy. The majority of speakers indicated that the cap-and-trade system, as proposed, is not likely to encourage innovation or meaningfully reduce emissions. The politically motivated tendency to set emission reduction goals too low was also a central point raised by many participants.

“A key concern we heard was that this government is proposing to give away all credits to polluters for free, and collect no revenue to support low- and middle-income Nova Scotians, nor support affected businesses or the low-carbon transition,” said Thomas.

Dr. Kate Ervine was a panelist on two of the panels in the series. “Rather than learning the lessons offered by the mistakes of cap-and-trade schemes around the world, the government of Nova Scotia seems to be borrowing from their worst features. This will leave us with a plan that simply can't deliver in a world that grows hotter by the year," said Ervine, and Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University whose research focuses on cap-and-trade systems.

A summary and discussion of the findings from the Capping Carbon | Trading Talk panel series is available here.

“This program will likely be in place for decades to come, and it’s important that we don’t create an ineffective, harmful system simply to meet minimum federal requirements,” said Thomas. “We need to get this right, and believe in ourselves and make decisions that benefit Nova Scotia in the long term.”

In November 2016, Nova Scotia announced that they would implement a cap-and-trade system in 2018 to comply with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. In March 2017, Nova Scotia Environment released the Nova Scotia Cap and Trade Program Design Options discussion paper; EAC responded with an official position statement detailing concerns.
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For further information, please contact:

Stephen Thomas
Energy Campaign Coordinator

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