The Green Party of Nova Scotia (GPNS) welcomes the release of the province’s Climate Risk Assessment and Climate Action Plan. However, while the risk assessment illustrates future and current harms of climate change, such as Hurricane Fiona, the plan itself falls short of capturing the urgency of the moment.
“We were happy to see good region-specific data in the risk assessment, as well as a lens on equity and disproportionate climate impact on the most vulnerable,” stated Anthony Edmonds, GPNS Leader, “But I agree with Minister Halman when he says that this plan is a starting point”.
The Houston Government’s Climate Plan and prior actions do not align with the urgency captured in the assessment. “Climate risk reports are only valuable if they translate into actual action,” stated Brie Dukeshire, GPNS Critic for Climate Change and Adaptation. Just weeks before releasing his climate plan, Premier Houston reopened Donkin’s Coal mine despite sustained environmental concerns and opposed implementing carbon pricing in the province.
While the climate risk assessment discusses risk factors such as low income or insecure housing, the climate plan is largely focused on individual actions targeted mainly at the middle-class. The plan includes heat pump rebates and other efficiency incentives for homeowners, but offers no measures specifically to help renters in the green energy transition.
“The GPNS would have liked to see more support for renters in the climate plan. We should look to other jurisdictions that provide financing for energy upgrades to affordable rental properties,” suggested Edmonds. He also pointed to a lack of vision for transformative change, “This plan recognizes big-picture problems like car dependency without addressing root causes. We need ambitious long-term goals like bringing reliable public transit to rural areas, as well as Halifax”.
The risk assessment lays out the science, but much of Premier Houston’s record suggests that he is either unprepared or unwilling to address the severity of the situation. The risk assessment indicates sea level rise of at least a metre. This would submerge critical infrastructure, including much of the Halifax waterfront, our highway to New Brunswick, and even whole communities like Grand Pré. Conditions that could lead to disasters of this proportion are predicted throughout the risk assessment, yet the action plan does not capture the urgency.
The GPNS applauds the positive efforts of the current government and considers the Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth to represent an excellent potential starting point for constructive all-party collaboration toward building a more complete vision for a greener Nova Scotia.
Critic, Environment & Climate Adaptation