FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 29, 2017
K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - The McNeil government introduced legislation today to enable its cap and trade system. The system is largely unchanged from a draft proposal released in March 2017 that will give away emission credits for free, and claims there will be very little price impact for consumers.
The system will set greenhouse gas emissions targets, but those targets are not yet known. That has many stakeholders concerned.
“This is precedent-setting for Canada’s carbon pricing program. A carbon pricing system that doesn’t actually put a price on carbon, support low-income people, or incentivize clean growth truly misses the point,” says Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. “Unless something changes, we feel that the federal government should consider rejecting this system.”
Nova Scotia’s proposal is to trade emission reductions only within the province, not with other jurisdictions. With a population under a million in Nova Scotia and only about 20 estimated businesses covered in the pricing scheme, many worry that the system will be extremely volatile as entities enter or leave the trading system.
“From a population perspective, Nova Scotia creating its own carbon trading system is like the city of Ottawa creating its own system,” says Wayne Groszko, Renewable Energy Coordinator with the Centre. “It’s difficult to understand why they think this makes sense.”
The province released a ‘What We Heard’ document on the Cap and Trade system in August, which collected feedback given last spring by industries and stakeholders. The document stated that most respondents favoured a system linked to other jurisdictions, such as the Western Climate Initiative, that includes California, Ontario and Quebec.
“A larger system can be more effective by allowing trading between more emitters, and by sharing regulations that have been built over years,” says Groszko.
Nova Scotia is also proposing to give the carbon allowances away for free to polluters. That would not generate revenue to support low and middle-income people, or programming like public transit infrastructure and home energy efficiency. A small Green Fund is being created, however, in case the province sells from a strategic reserve of additional greenhouse gas emissions.
“We worry that Nova Scotia is missing a huge opportunity to show climate leadership and support businesses and low- and middle-income Nova Scotians by giving polluters a big break,” says Thomas. “We hope the McNeil government makes the right choice by collecting revenue and linking Nova Scotia’s system with other jurisdictions.”
Energy Campaign Coordinator
902 441 7136
Dr. Wayne Groszko
Renewable Energy Coordinator
902 701 8852