OTTAWA - The Green Party is asking questions today about a press release put out by Environment Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. “I think at the very least both governments owe citizens a better explanation of what is happening,” said Green Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May.
The press release suggested that the Nova Scotia government was weakening their commitment to reduce electricity sector emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, saying that the federal and provincial governments were working toward an “equivalency agreement” to “avoid duplication”.
“The release reads as if Nova Scotia are weakening their commitment to reduce emissions from the electricity sector by extending the timeline to 2030, to match the federal regulations. But representatives from the department have said this is not true and that in fact they will have stronger targets,” said NS Green Leader John Percy.
“I certainly hope this is not a green washing attempt,” said Percy. “With the legislature on an extended break, it is difficult to hold them to account. It is difficult to understand how the release could be so wrong.”
The Greens have reason to be wary of changing timelines when it comes to emissions targets. Before pulling out of Kyoto altogether, Prime Minister Harper had weakened Canada’s emission reduction targets by changing the reference year from 1990 to 2006, thereby creating an illusion that progress was being made while in fact, emissions continue to rise precipitously.
“Governments at every level need to realize that reducing emissions will ensure long-term energy security and energy affordability,” said federal Green Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands (BC) Elizabeth May. “The federal government should be providing incentives to provinces and municipalities to make real cuts in emissions by phasing out coal and focusing on energy efficiency and renewables.”
“We know that the Harper government is cutting environmental regulations right and left in the guise of reducing duplication. In reality, the cuts are designed to placate industry at the expense of environmental regulations,” said May.