HALIFAX - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, and Nova Scotia Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Sterling Belliveau, announced recently that they are working towards an equivalency agreement on coal-fired electricity greenhouse gas regulations.
Both governments wish to avoid duplication of effort to control greenhouse gas emissions, and are working together to ensure that industry does not face two sets of regulations. An equivalency agreement would see the federal regulations stand down in favour of a provincial regulation, as long as the provincial regulation achieves an equivalent environmental outcome.
"More than two years ago, our governments signed an Agreement in Principle on efforts to address climate change," said Minister Kent. "We remain focused on our mutual goal of reducing green house gas emissions, but we believe in ensuring the Province of Nova Scotia has the flexibility to choose an approach that best suits them ."
"We're very pleased to be developing this agreement with Environment Canada," said Minister Belliveau. "An equivalency agreement makes sense for Nova Scotia. Our regulations were developed after significant research and input from Nova Scotians, and they will achieve the same greenhouse gas reductions as the federal approach while recognizing what's best for our province."
Nova Scotia is the first province to put in place hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions for the electricity sector. This regulation requires a reduction of 25 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector by 2020, which will be extended to 2030 to match the federal regulations.
In August 2011, the federal government proposed new regulations for the electricity sector that will apply a stringent performance standard to new coal-fired electricity generation units and those coal-fired units that have reached the end of their economic life. Final regulations are expected to be published in the first part of 2012, after which the equivalency agreement can be finalized.
Canada stands firm on the commitment it made when it signed the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels, by 2020.
SOURCE: Government of Canada