HALIFAX, NS – Premier Iain Rankin released his environment platform today, the fourth plank of his plan for recovery and growth.
This new platform is strategic. It will secure Nova Scotia’s place as a national leader on environmental issues by empowering Nova Scotian businesses, workers, and communities to innovate and benefit from new economic opportunities.
At the heart of this plan is a commitment to protect our environment for future generations. It sets out to reduce Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2050.
“Nova Scotia is at an important point – one that calls for action on the environment while posing great opportunities for businesses and communities,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “A strong government with vision can guide our green transition, fight climate change and see Nova Scotians benefit from innovation and adaptation. The Liberal government has shown this vision – and will continue to act on it.”
This plan will get Nova Scotia off coal by 2030 –10 years earlier than planned. It commits to getting 80 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by the same point.
Large parts of the plan will be funded through the Green Fund, which is comprised of the proceeds of the Cap & Trade auction. In 2021, cap-and-trade auctions are expected to generate $50 million.
A Liberal government would invest $20 million over the next two years to expand the Small Business Energy Solutions Program to non-electric customers.
Small businesses were impacted during COVID and this investment will help them with their growth and competitiveness.
A commitment to sustainability will be joined with equitability as a Liberal government will invest $20 million from the Green Fund in each of the next two years to support energy efficient home retrofits to help low-income families reduce their heating costs.
A re-elected Liberal government will protect more of our province’s forests and ecosystems, setting a target of 17 per cent.
In 2021, the Rankin government announced its intention to protect 62 new wilderness areas, making it over 150 to be protected since 2013.
Mi’kmaq leadership would also be engaged in land protection to develop an equitable network of protected conservation areas.
“By engaging key stakeholders across the province, including our Mi’kmaq communities, we can ensure our environmental action takes a form that is equitable, informed, and community-driven,” said Keith Irving, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Liberal Candidate for Kings South. “This means we can protect our environment in a way that reflects the voice and needs of Nova Scotians.”
These ambitious steps will keep rates affordable, and they’ll also create thousands of jobs. The recent call for proposals to support the development of 350 megawatts of renewable energy projects will stimulate over $550 million in construction activity while creating over 4000 new jobs, mostly in rural Nova Scotia.
This plan recognizes that just as the province needs to be protected, it needs to be enjoyed – and by everybody. A re-elected Liberal government will invest $15 million for major upgrades to our provincial parks.
We will also prioritize accessibility and see that at least one beach in each region has accessible beach access.
This plan is focused on innovation. Our government will commit $2 million to establish a Clean Energy Growth Hub that will support leading-edge research and develop the next generation of green technologies.
The Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will incentivize municipalities to develop local climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts – $12 million over three years will support projects that upgrade energy efficiency in community buildings.
Traditional industries will be supported, and new ones helped to grow. The Rankin government invested $5.4 million to help transition to ecological forestry, including $1 million to help our skilled workers adopt new approaches.
A Liberal government will put young people at the centre by investing in training for workers to become more sustainable. The platform commits an additional $2 million over four years to the Clean Leadership Summer Internship Program to meet the demand for youth training in the green economy.