HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s cap-and-trade system for bringing about a reduction in carbon emissions has received Ottawa’s blessing, with the premier saying his citizens will be better off than they would be under a federal carbon tax.
The province has long held that its electricity sector had already made big strides in reducing emissions as the province shifted away from coal-based generation in recent decades to less-carbon intensive methods.
However, government officials said the province was still required to put a price on carbon under Ottawa’s new rules, and as a result Nova Scotia is setting a goal of reducing emissions by 45 to 50 per cent of 2005 rates by 2030.
In an announcement, the provincial government said its system of capping the amount of carbon for large emitters, and requiring them to either purchase credits or reduce their carbon output to meet the caps, will reduce carbon by 650,000 tonnes between 2019 and 2022.
The province says costs passed on to consumers are estimated to be about one cent per litre of gasoline over the four years, along with a one per cent increase in electricity prices in the same time period.
Premier Stephen McNeil said the price of gasoline would have gone up 11 cents per litre and electricity rates would have risen eight per cent if Ottawa had created a carbon tax system in the province.
However, opposition leaders said those estimates are misleading as they don’t take into account the rebate cheques Ottawa is promising to send individual citizens in provinces with a carbon tax.