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A Newfoundland and Labrador environmental group says the provincial government’s carbon pricing plan, while a step in the right direction, lacks clarity on how the plan is being implemented.
In a report released on Climate Watch NL’s assessment of the provincial plan, one of the key concerns is the exemption of major industries from the plan, including the province’s offshore oil and gas industry. The group of concerned citizens that envision a minimal carbon economy by 2050 says the exemptions are especially concerning in terms of continued exploration for fossil fuel reserves because climate change targets can’t be met if known fossil fuel reserves are burned.
Instead of subsidizing an industry responsible for driving climate change, the group says the plan needs to include rebates for low income and rural families.
“Our environmental regulation of the oil and gas industry in NL is far too loose and plagued by conflicts of interest, something we have witnessed again just recently,” Climate Watch NL steering committee member Conor Curtis stated in a release.
“Performance standards will require strict regulation to be effective, and if they will amount to the same (greenhouse gas emissions) reductions as carbon pricing on industry would achieve, then it is better that we keep the resulting revenue here in NL with carbon pricing.”
Climate Watch NL also suggest that any revenue not rebated from a carbon tax needs to be invested in green projects and proposes more widely available electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the province as an example.
“These vehicles are already bringing benefits to consumers in many cases, such as decreased maintenance costs,” stated Simon Jansen, another Climate Watch NL steering committee member.
“As the upfront price of electric vehicles decreases, and as incentive programs elsewhere also drive consumers to buy them, creating the infrastructure to support these vehicles also helps align our considerable transport and tourism assets with changing demands.”