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Carbon pricing debate: Get involved and have your say!

|October 17, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear his stance on carbon pricing just before this year’s Core Energy conference in Halifax on October 4 and 5.

Recently, the Trudeau Government issued the ultimatum to the provinces – either put carbon pricing systems in place by 2018, or the federal government will do it for them.

The goal: to reduce emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

In Nova Scotia, there is resistance to this approach. Why? We’re already leading the nation in greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions. Nova Scotia Power has achieved 35% reductions of GHGs and will achieve 58% from 2005 levels by 2030.

This significant progress has come at a cost, with Nova Scotians paying the highest price for electricity in Canada. The idea of paying more for electricity is most unwelcome news in our province.

Some argue that Nova Scotians already pay a price for carbon on electricity and suggest we should not have to pay twice for same results.

In contrast to these opinions, the climate change panel at Core Energy challenged the dominant narrative in Nova Scotia.

They asserted that carbon pricing is much broader than the electricity sector. While Nova Scotia can and should be proud of its progress in GHG reductions, there is still work to be done in other sectors like transportation and buildings.

Regardless of which side of the discussion you fall, a national conversation needs to happen to better inform people about what this all means.

It’s a complex subject with different implications depending on the jurisdiction people live in. The key is educating ourselves about this important topic.

The Conference Board of Canada kicks off a round table discussion in Halifax on October 20. The Board will be hosting discussions across the country to develop a socioeconomic analysis of what deep GHG reductions means for Canadians.

As part of this round table series, there will be online engagement opportunities. Citizen engagement and participation are critically important to informing the national debate.

Another great opportunity is an event hosted by the Energy Council of Canada in Halifax on November 21 and 22, examining a regional solution to Atlantic Canada’s carbon challenge.

My challenge to you — be informed, get involved, and have your say!