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No action on the environment


A press release from the Ecology Action Centre:

Halifax – The Ecology Action Centre says the provincial government’s climate change agenda is in need of emergency assistance. The EAC is throwing a lifejacket to the Premier of Nova Scotia and providing a pail full of solutions that the province should act on to fulfill its climate change promises. These policies could help Nova Scotia “bail out” of the current crises of both rising temperatures and rising energy costs.The Centre says its rescue kit will prevent further floundering, an apt description of the province’s actions to prevent climate change. A year ago the government passed the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, which aims to make the province “one of the cleanest and most sustainable” and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. Tomorrow, the Minister of the Environment will make his first annual report on progress towards achieving the goals.Rather than swimming towards a more sustainable province, the government seems to be treading water. The government has made commendable progress on protecting wilderness and some other goals, but has completely missed opportunities throughout the year to move towards meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goal. Aside from investing federal government climate change funding, the provincial government has failed to make significant investments in the recent budget or to introduce a legislative or regulatory agenda.“Rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and rising energy costs will all have detrimental effects on this province. The government is not preparing Nova Scotia for the effects of these crises.” outlines Mark Butler , EAC’s policy director.Despite the government’s lack of action, the province can still turn the situation around. “There is no shortage of solutions to reducing greenhouse gases” says EAC’s energy coordinator, Brendan Haley . “With all of these solutions available to us, the lack of implementation makes us question the government’s sincerity and competence when it comes to climate change.”A number of these solutions are included in the EAC’s gifts to the Premier. The bailer he is presented with contains examples of legislation and policies in other jurisdictions. Included are regulations that cap industrial emissions, carbon tax policies from Quebec and BC, sustainable transportation recommendations from the EAC’s Green Mobility Strategy, efficiency regulations implemented in Connecticut, and a renewable energy feed-in tariff plan from Michigan.The Centre’s advice is for this government is to grab hold of the solutions provided and to start implementing policies that will help the province rescue its climate change agenda.

I've detailed the numbers many times before (see here, here, here and here), but the nut of it is that under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act we are obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. When the law was passed, last spring, we were probably about 18 percent above 1990 levels. (Exact numbers won't be available until the federal government releases its GHG inventory, which is now late.)

Every year that passes with no action, we increase emissions by at least another two percent, so now we're at 20 or 21 percent above 1990 levels, making it that much harder to meet the target.

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