Greenhouse Gas, Air Pollutant Caps

August 14, 2009

Nova Scotia is one of the first provinces to impose regulated caps on greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from power generation facilities.

After consulting with Nova Scotians, the province has set emissions caps for the years 2010, 2015, and 2020, as committed to in the provincial Climate Change Action Plan.

“This is a major stride forward in meeting the province’s goals to combat climate change and its effects,” said Sterling Belliveau, Minister of Environment.

“This will help achieve the key reductions called for in the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, which commits the province to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least ten per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and significantly reducing emissions that cause air pollution.”

The greatest single emissions reductions will come from imposing the caps on Nova Scotia Power Inc. The company is responsible for about 50 per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions, or 10 million tonnes, and will need to achieve roughly half of the emissions reductions set out by the Climate Change Action Plan. Nova Scotia Power officials have said the caps are aggressive but achievable.

“We are very serious about addressing climate change with clear, workable actions,” said Mr. Belliveau. “These emissions caps on power producers will help make Nova Scotia a cleaner, greener place for families, visitors, businesses, and others.”

The regulations putting the greenhouse gas emissions caps into effect will be under the Environment Act, and the air quality regulations will be expanded to include caps on sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions. Other air pollutants already have caps.

Reducing air pollutants helps limit smog and the effects of acid rain.

Public consultations on the emissions caps proposal included the release, earlier this year, of the discussion paper, An Approach to Regulation Electricity Sector Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Power and other key groups including environmental organizations, and other groups with an interest in air emissions were also consulted.

These new regulations focus on the electricity generation sector. The province will consult with interest groups on policy and regulatory approaches for other emission sources.