Next Nova Scotia government must prioritize transition to green economy

May 4, 2017

HalifaxWith the looming federal government deadline for provinces to institute their own carbon pricing scheme or have it imposed, the next Nova Scotia government will have a small window to move forward. Today, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia released a backgrounder that outlines a progressive policy on carbon pricing that it urges should be adopted instead of the one being currently proposed.  

“The final budget of the current Liberal government in Nova Scotia did confirm their intent to move forward with a cap and trade system, with a $1.6 million cost incorporated into the estimates. As this budget has not been passed and given that we are in the throes of an election campaign, it is important for the electorate to ask critical questions about the Liberal’s proposed system and about the other parties’ positions,” says Christine Saulnier, Director of CCPA-NS. 

“The number one goal of a carbon pricing scheme must be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, as this backgrounder shows, a well-designed carbon price can also mitigate the additional costs for those least able to afford them and assist in the transition to a greener economy.” 

Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre and co-author says, “Nova Scotia is rightfully proud of the work done so far to reduce our emissions, however the future of climate action in Nova Scotia remains uncertain. In 2015, almost 70 percent of our electricity needs were still met using carbon intensive fossil fuels, with over 55 percent from heavily polluting coal.” 

“We need to build on our success and set clear emissions reduction and renewable energy targets past 2020, including phasing out our coal plants, and providing support for workers and communities. The proposed cap and trade program is being planned without broad public consultation or expert review.” 

Brian Gifford, Chair of the Affordable Energy Coalition and co-author explains, “The carbon tax proposed in the Nova Scotia Alternative Budget would ensure that we transition as rapidly as possible to renewable energy sources, while most Nova Scotians would be compensated for their additional costs through a Carbon Tax Benefit similar to the Child Tax Benefit.” 

“At the same time, converting the 10% rebate on home energy to set up a Universal Service program and other anti-poverty measures would eliminate energy poverty and ensure that no Nova Scotian has to choose between heating and eating. This proposal demonstrates how smart energy policy can help us to simultaneously lower our emissions and alleviate poverty as well as reduce inequality.”

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Aggressively reduce emissions and provide affordable energy: Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2017 Backgrounder on Energy and Climate Change can be downloaded free at www.policyalternatives.ca.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Brian Gifford, Affordable Energy Coalition and Nova Scotians for Tax Fairness at (902) 454-1656 (h), (782) 234-4766 (cell) or brian.gifford@eastlink.ca ;

Or Stephen Thomas at Energy Campaign Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre, (902)441-7136 or stephen@ecologyaction.ca ;

Or CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 240-0926 (cell) or email christine@policyalternatives.ca.   

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