The hike is due to federally-mandated carbon pricing
The portion of Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Siobhan Coady’s budget speech related to climate change began with a notice that the price of gas will increase Oct. 1 due to federally-mandated carbon pricing.
“This year, the price must increase to $30 per tonne. If we do not follow the federal government’s direction, they could potentially impose a federal back-stop on our province, resulting in higher taxes on such things as home-heating fuels,” Coady said.
The increase is up from $20 per tonne.
However, the province is reducing the provincial portion of the gas tax on gasoline by two cents/litre, mitigating some of the increase motorists will see at the pump.
Therefore, gas prices will increase about one-fifth of a cent per litre — 0.21 cents/litre to be exact — and the price of diesel will increase 2.68 cents/litre.
Budget documents say the province’s climate-change action plan outlines a vision to work towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
To that end, Coady said the province will continue to transition more public buildings, such as education and health care facilities, to electricity. The price tag attached to this transition is $14.1-million. Coady said this, along with the province’s first electric vehicle fast-charging network, will help lower electricity rates and decrease the province’s carbon footprint.
“Our plans are supported by Budget 2020 investments totalling $30 million. This includes programs through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, such as the Climate Change Challenge Fund, and residential energy efficiency programs, as well as industry-focused climate change adaptation initiatives,” said Coady.
She said work is also ongoing to electrify offshore petroleum platforms to reduce flaring and to capture carbon emissions.
Also allocated in the budget is $100,000 for Memorial University’s Harris Centre’s Climate Economy and Society Initiative, which will explore how the province addresses climate change while recovering from COVID-19.
The Telegram has requested an interview with Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities Derek Bennett to get clarification on why the climate change section of the budget under his department has decreased by nearly $1.4-million from $1,889,200 in the 2019-2020 budget to $497,600 in 2020-21 — the entire decrease a result of the line for grants and subsidies down from $1.5-million to $100,000.
As well, The Telegram will ask why the Low Carbon Economy Fund has decreased roughly $4.8-million from $11,221,800 in 2019-2020 to $6,386,500 in 2020-21.
The Telegram will continue to update this story.