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Nova Scotia’s Climate Action Plan ‘starting point’ for the province

Environment Minister Timothy Halman optimistic that province is on track

3 min read
Two pedestrians walk in front of a yellow house in Halifax
caption The province's Climate Change Action Plan looks to reduce heating oil use in homes by 20 per cent
Hannah Marais

Nova Scotia’s new climate action plan includes 68 actions the government says it will take to fight and adapt to climate change in the province.

The plan, released on Wednesday, included actions such as reducing heating oil use in homes by 20 per cent by 2030 and installing more electric vehicle charging stations across the province.

“This plan is a starting point for a new focus in Nova Scotia on climate action,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman said.

The actions are grouped into four areas: responding to climate impacts, reducing Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gas emissions, seizing opportunities for a cleaner sustainable economy and reporting and evaluating progress.

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The province is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent from its 2005 levels.

The actions are divided between 15 government departments, with over half of them the responsibility of Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton.

“Everyone has a role to play in fighting climate change,” said Rushton during the news conference announcing the plan on Wednesday.

While some actions are already being worked on, others have no completion dates stated in the plan.

The Ecology Action Centre is pleased with some aspects of the plan but feels that there are things missing.

Marla MacLeod, director of programs at the Ecology Action Centre, said in an interview after the news conference that the centre was looking for four things going into the plan and that only one of them was fully met.

“One was clear, actionable items. One was funding, one was accountability. And one was commitments to stop things that are undermining the other actions,” MacLeod said.

She said that she feels positive about the 68 actions laid out in the plan at first glance, and that the plan covered all of the areas she hoped to see. However, there was no commitment by the province to end activities that undermine the other actions, including coal and gold mining.

The centre plans a full response to the plan on Thursday.

Halman was asked at the news conference whether development of the Eisner Cove wetland, a large housing project under way in Dartmouth, was inconsistent with the protection of wetlands outlined in the plan.

He said the development fits with the plan.

“We’re a government that believes in sustainable development and I want to assure all Nova Scotians that, as it relates to those developments, just because we’re moving faster doesn’t mean we’re not following process,” said Halman.

One action in the plan would create a climate change advisory committee for the government to learn from Nova Scotia’s youth.

In response to concerns about climate grief, Halman said that he recognizes climate anxiety is real and reassured the youth of Nova Scotia that they would have a part to play in fighting climate change.

“The youth of this province are going to be a fundamental partner in working on the 68 goals,” said Halman.

MacLeod said she agrees that the youth advisory committee is a great idea, but she would not have linked climate grief to young people.

“We cannot put all of this on the youth,” she said. “And they are not the only ones experiencing climate grief.”

MacLeod said that Nova Scotia is only going to see more climate grief and anxiety in the coming years.

“We need to ensure that we are caring for our mental health as a community because climate change is going to be hugely disruptive.”

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About the author

Hannah Marais

Hannah Marais is a fourth-year journalism student and a reporter for the Signal. When she's not out reporting, she's probably cycling, thinking...

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