FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 30, 2019
K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - On March 30, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia released a proposed ‘equivalency agreement’ that sets out greenhouse gas emissions reductions for Nova Scotia’s electricity sector. The proposed equivalency agreement is for a five-year period between 2019 and 2024, but includes emissions pathways out to 2040.
In November 2016, the Federal government committed to phase out coal electricity across Canada by 2030.
At that time, the Federal and Provincial governments issued an ‘agreement in principle’ for Nova Scotia to keep some of its coal plants running past 2030 provided Nova Scotia make equivalent emissions reductions over the lifetime of the federal policy.
However, the long-term projections of this proposed equivalency agreement signal that Nova Scotia could still be emitting millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases from coal more than a decade past the 2030 deadline.
Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, says while an extension comes as no surprise, he’s concerned with the lack of overall commitment.
“Nova Scotia now has the most coal-dependent electricity grid in Canada. The Province has submitted their business-as-usual pathway to this process, which continues to burn coal past 2040,” Thomas says. “There have been no updates to Nova Scotia’s plan to phase out coal or reduce emissions from electricity since before this equivalency process was announced more than two years ago.”
As of 2017, Nova Scotia uses coal for about 55 per cent of annual electricity generation and has eight coal-fired generation units across four coal plants, all owned by Nova Scotia Power.
The Province is arguing that greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the past - as far back as 2015 - should count toward emitting more than the federal regulations would allow in the future – as far forward as 2040.
While past actions are worth celebrating, Thomas worries that with no further future ambition, the provincial government lacks the urgency needed to create jobs in the green economy, while protecting Nova Scotia from the worst impacts of climate change and the human health impacts caused by burning coal.
“The health of Nova Scotians and the health of our economy depend on a path that diversifies our electricity sector toward affordable, clean electricity quickly. The pathway being proposed by the Nova Scotia government simply does not do that,” says Thomas.
The Federal government’s analysis has shown that succeeding to phase out coal electricity in Nova Scotia by 2030 would avoid 89 premature deaths, 8,000 asthma episodes and 58,000 days of breathing difficulty for Nova Scotians, among other benefits.
“Phasing out coal in Nova Scotia is not only possible but makes more sense now than it ever has. We still have an opportunity to collaborate to set the right path to phase out coal in Nova Scotia. It is the right move for jobs, our economy, and the climate. Let’s get to it,” says Thomas.
The proposed agreement is open for comment until May 29th.
- 30 -
Ecology Action Centre’s Full Position Statement on the Proposed Equivalency Agreement: https://ecologyaction.ca/sites/ecologyaction.ca/files/images-documents/EAC%20Position%20Statement%20-%20NS%20Equivalnecy%20Agreement%20-%20April%2029%202019.pdf
Proposed Equivalency Agreement: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmental-protection-act-registry/agreements/equivalency/canada-nova-scotia-consultation-carbon-dioxide-electricity.html
ECCC Quantitative Analysis: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmental-protection-act-registry/agreements/equivalency/canada-nova-scotia-consultation-carbon-dioxide-electricity/quantitative-analysis-equivalency-determination.html
The proposed agreement is open for comment, until May 29th. https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-pollution/energy-production/consultation-nova-scotia-equivalency-agreement-electricity.html
Setting Expectation for Robust Equivalency Agreements in Canada (April 2019) Climate Action Network Canada | Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment| Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement | Ecology Action Centre | Environmental Defence | Pembina Institute https://ecologyaction.ca/sites/ecologyaction.ca/files/images-documents/CAN-Rac-Equivalency-Paper-2019-web.pdf
The Just Transition Task Force on Coal Workers and Communities Final Report: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2019/03/government-of-canada-welcomes-report-from-just-transition-task-force-for-canadian-coal-power-workers-and-communities.html
Ecology Action Centre’s Ongoing Work on the Coal Phase-Out in Nova Scotia: https://ecologyaction.ca/coal
For more information, please contact:
Energy Campaign Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre
(902) 441 7136