Climate Strike – by Keith Towse

The Green Party of Nova Scotia marches with the young people on the streets of Halifax and communities across Nova Scotia today.  Climate change is a threat to Nova Scotians – its impacts will include sea level rise and increasing coastal erosion, more frequent extreme weather events, and altered weather and rainfall patterns. We applaud the Ecology Action Centre for publishing two reports recently showing that Nova Scotians can take action and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 2005 levels. We can do this through changing how we generate our electricity and heat our homes, increasing the energy efficiency of all the buildings we live and work in and using more electric vehicles.  But, as our leader, Thomas Trappenberg, and deputy leader, Jessica Alexander, agree, “We must make sure that introducing these changes protects those Nova Scotian’s who can’t afford to heat their homes now. More than 20% of Nova Scotians experience energy poverty, and we must ensure that the benefits of clean renewable energy are shared by everyone”,

The Green Party calls for all political parties to cooperate to make sure that the changes which are needed are implemented now – we can’t wait for more studies or debates. We must listen to the young people who march and whose futures are most at risk from climate change. We can take action now.

Changes we can make right now include:

  • Pass legislation setting targets for increasing the percentage of our electricity which comes from renewables to 60% in 2023, 80% in 2026 and 95% in 2030. This should not increase the price of electricity significantly – the cheapest form of new power generation now is onshore wind, which will soon be cheaper than existing coal or gas fired generation:
  • Scrap the ineffective Cap and Trade regulations introduced by the Liberal Government and introduce a Carbon Tax of $50 per tonne CO2e (increasing at $10 per tonne CO2e per year), requiring that proceeds from the Carbon Tax are returned to Nova Scotians who are most impacted by the additional costs, in the form of quarterly cash distributions and subsidized energy efficiency programs. “Implementing this Carbon Tax will be less expensive than dealing with the climate crisis that results if we miss the IPCC target”, says Thomas Trappenberg.
  • Requiring that all new housing meets stringent energy efficiency standards and introducing programs to retrofit existing housing to the same energy efficiency standards.

The Ecology Action Centre report indicates the financial savings from reduced fuel use in buildings and personal vehicles, and reduced fossil fuel purchases for power generation could largely pay for the annualized investments in deep energy retrofits, electric vehicles, and renewable electricity generation.

We can afford it; the future of our Province requires it and our young people demand it.

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