The road to neutral
Environment minister says Ottawa should accept plan
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.