The road to neu­tral

En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter says Ot­tawa should ac­cept plan

Journal Pioneer - - THE ISLAND - BY RYAN ROSS

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Richard Brown de­fended the gov­ern­ment’s cli­mate change plan Wed­nes­day, say­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should ac­cept it. Brown faced ques­tions on two fronts in the leg­is­la­ture Wed­nes­day about his gov­ern­ment’s re­cently re­leased cli­mate change ac­tion plan, which does not in­clude a car­bon tax. As he de­fended the plan, Brown said P.E.I. can be­come a car­bon-neu­tral prov­ince. “We’re on a road there and we’re go­ing to get there.” Green leader Peter Be­vanBaker was the first to ques­tion Brown on why the cli­mate change ac­tion plan didn’t in­clude a car­bon tax.

“Do you hon­estly be­lieve that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will ac­cept your cli­mate change ac­tion plan in lieu of car­bon pric­ing?”

The five-year plan the prov­ince un­veiled last week in­volves re­duc­ing P.E.I.’s green­house gases by 30 per cent be­low 2005 lev­els by 2030.

To do that, the gov­ern­ment plans 32 ac­tions in­clud­ing in­cen­tives and other con­ser­va­tion mea­sures with­out a car­bon tax. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has said if prov­inces don’t put a price on car­bon it will do it for them.

Brown said the prov­ince is pric­ing car­bon when it re­duces the cost of elec­tric­ity by re­mov­ing the pro­vin­cial por­tion of HST on the first block.

He also said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wants to re­duce car­bon emis­sions.

“This plan pro­vides that…and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should ac­cept our plan.” Op­po­si­tion en­vi­ron­ment critic Brad Trivers also ques­tioned Brown on the lack of car­bon pric­ing.

“Why are you be­ing so un­clear, even eva­sive, about whether you are bring­ing in a car­bon tax to Prince Ed­ward Is­land?”

As Trivers pressed him on the is­sue, Brown said the prov­ince has a plan that is backed by sci­ence and it will re­move car­bon from the at­mos­phere.

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