FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 29, 2022
Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) - In a letter to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, the Nova Scotia provincial government expressed opposition to federal carbon pricing, suggesting that it will submit its own plan before the deadline at the end of this year. The Ecology Action Centre is expressing disappointment with the letter, citing what it calls a lack of true leadership on climate change and a failure to provide details on an alternative plan.
"Writing to Ottawa to oppose federal carbon pricing without providing any sort of alternative shows a lack of leadership from the Nova Scotia government,” says Kelsey Lane, senior climate policy coordinator with the EAC. "They are quick to take credit for actions of other governments, but don’t want to roll up their sleeves when it's their turn to act. It seems to suggest that their true plan is to avoid accountability by opposing carbon pricing and reaping the benefits of the federal backstop once it comes into force.”
The EAC also takes issue with the letter’s use of energy poverty as justification for opposing carbon pricing without any concrete solutions to the problem itself.
"The province keeps using energy affordability as a scapegoat for taking action on climate change, but what have they done themselves to actually address energy poverty in Nova Scotia?,” asks Thomas Arnason McNeil, climate policy coordinator, sustainable transportation with the EAC. "Revenue from carbon pricing can be recycled back to communities to make the transition more affordable and reduce cost of living. If the government wants to oppose federal carbon pricing, then they need to present a plan that will likewise take pressure off of Nova Scotian families.”
Nova Scotia Environment Minister Tim Halman says in the letter that now is not the time to implement carbon pricing, but Lane argues this thinking is tone-deaf to the reality of climate change.
“We’re in the midst of a climate emergency that will impact Nova Scotians on a massive scale,” says Lane. “Now is exactly the time to act, and carbon pricing is an essential part of tackling the crisis we’re facing. If done right, progress on climate action is progress on affordability. We’re way past the point of this false dichotomy of climate and the economy, and it would be great if the government could catch up to that fact.”
Lane says that the letter is part of what she sees as a pattern of lackluster action on climate from the Nova Scotia government.
“The PC government is trying to position itself as climate leaders, but they simply aren’t doing the work,” Lane says. “We still don’t have a provincial Climate Plan, and now it seems clear that they don’t have a plan for carbon pricing either. That’s not leadership.”
McNeil agrees, saying that the provincial government needs to step up on climate change now.
“We need our leaders to be ambitious and brave when it comes to the climate emergency,” McNeil says. “We need a carbon pricing option that benefits Nova Scotian communities and makes big polluters pay, not a provincial government that sits on its heels and waits for the feds to take care of it.”
Kelsey Lane, Senior Climate Policy Coordinator
Thomas Arnason McNeil, Climate Policy Coordinator