Nova Scotia Considers a Cap-and-Trade System for Emissions

Nova Scotia legislation to replace cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emitters

Nova Scotia is considering a new cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2020, in a bill to be heard Tuesday and Wednesday in the provincial legislature.

The proposed cap-and-trade system would be more efficient than the current system, which will begin next month.

Under the system, companies will meet emission targets for greenhouse gas emissions and will be compensated if they do not. As emission increases — or decreases — and the market price declines, the government would pay compensation to the companies. By reducing demand, costs would be reduced and the government would receive revenue.

But critics say the proposed system would be complex and costly for Nova Scotia, as it would be difficult to regulate. They say the cap-and-trade system is not necessary, as current emissions have been rising.

Under the proposed system, Nova Scotia would join three provinces that already have cap-and-trade systems — Ontario, Alberta and California. Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia in Canada have not yet agreed to a cap-and-trade system.

The proposed system would come into effect in 2020, with new regulations going into effect in 2021. It would be similar to Alberta’s emissions trading system, which has been in place for more than a decade.

“A cap-and-trade system has been in place in North America for a long time,” said Steve Young of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “It’s an economic policy that has been very successful at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one that we believe Nova Scotia and Canada can be proud of.”

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been a vocal critic of cap-and-trade systems. They say they are not necessary, and could hamper efforts to reduce emissions in the oil patch.

Nova Scotia Environment has also expressed concerns and has opposed the proposed cap-and-trade system.

A Nova Scotia Cabinet committee on Nov. 16 approved the draft greenhouse gas emissions bill, with the hope of releasing it to the public by Nov. 30. The bill has been in development since 2010. Since then the province has received a total of nine expert reports from academics,

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