A discussion paper released in early March by the government of Nova Scotia proposes the structure of a cap-and-trade system for the province, as required by the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change . Nova Scotia is a reluctant participant in the national carbon pricing regime of the Framework, having walked out of one of the federal-provincial meetings on the topic in October 2016.
The Discussion paper, Nova Scotia Cap and Trade Program Design Options , proposes a plan which covers only those sectors required by the Framework, and grants free allocations to them, including Nova Scotia Power and the suppliers of fossil fuel. Sectors not included represent about 10% of emissions, and would be allowed to sell offsets into the system. Fugitive emissions will not be included. As stated in the Discussion paper, the system will not align itself with any other provinces. Yet, days after the release, and in apparent contradiction to the Discussion paper, the CBC reported that the Premier is still in discussion with the provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island about a regional system : see “Welcome to join: Atlantic cap and trade system explored” .
An excellent summary of the features and failings of the plan appears in a post from the Environmental Law blog from Dalhousie University. It states that the proposed plan seems designed to meet the minimum GHG emission reductions obligations under the Pan-Canadian Framework, while also minimizing any impact on Nova Scotia’s economy. “We are clearly far from getting our C&T system right. To do so, would take time, careful analysis and a public dialogue on priorities and values rather than starting assumptions that all we care about is trying to preserve the status quo for as long as we can.” Unfortunately, the deadline for public submissions was March 31, less than a month after the release.
“Political Manipulation Could Derail Nova Scotia’s Cap and Trade System” in the Halifax Examiner is also highly critical. Author Brendan Haley decries the lack of time and opportunity for public input, and states that political expediency seems to be motivating the design of the carbon pricing system . The Ecology Action Centre also has concerns over the proposed system – their position paper is here .