FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government introduced legislation today that would adopt the federal government’s intensity targets for large industrial emitters, requiring them to be among the cleanest in the country or pay to offset their pollution.

There would be no new direct tax on consumers; instead, the government would redirect existing taxes on gasoline and diesel to fund programs that combat climate change.

“Doing nothing to address climate change is not an option. We owe it to future generations, our children and grandchildren, to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from occurring,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “The federal government has been clear that provinces must take action by 2018, and this plan ensures we are striking the right balance by doing our part in a way that protects the economy and consumers.”

The legislation sets out a modified hybrid carbon pricing system. Under the approach:

  • the government would deliver the carbon levy aspect of the pricing; and
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada would deliver the output-based performance standards for New Brunswick’s large emitters.

“New Brunswick is already a climate change leader,” said Rousselle. “We have met our own 2020 provincial targets and we have also equalled Canada’s 2030 emissions target. Our plan is an opportunity to contribute to the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions, while seizing the opportunities of a low-carbon economy.”

A climate change fund established through the new legislation would reinvest in measures that address climate change, such as infrastructure adaptation, and energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industry and transportation.

“The goal is not to ask more from taxpayers; it is to ensure we are using taxation derived from fuel and industrial emissions to invest back into addressing climate change,” said Rousselle. “Dedicated funding for climate change initiatives is essential to ensure a sustained, ambitious and collaborative action. This approach is about managing our existing revenue and investing in a more targeted way.”

In 2018, 2.33 cents per litre of existing gasoline taxes and 2.76 cents per litre of existing diesel fuel taxes would be transferred to the Climate Change Fund, which would amount to about $37 million in the first year.

For large industry, Environment and Climate Change Canada would administer the industrial performance standards.

Industrial facilities emitting more than 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually would be subject to the federal standards beginning in 2018. This would include about 10 industrial facilities in New Brunswick.

“We believe that the federally administered industrial emissions program will provide a system in which big emitters are paying their fair share,” said Rousselle. “It also ensures that New Brunswick will not incur the costs associated with establishing and administering the program.”

The provincial government previously announced investments of up to $234 million over the next five years in energy efficiency programs for homes, businesses and public buildings. This includes up to $82 million from NB Power over the next three years, up to $51 million from the federal government through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, and $101 million for energy retrofits and renewable energy upgrades in provincial buildings.

These investments could spur an estimated $150 million in growth to New Brunswick’s GDP, create up to 400 jobs over the five-year period, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NB Power’s investments alone could be equivalent to taking up to 27,000 cars off the road.

Last year, the provincial government launched Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy - New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan. The plan is based on recommendations from the select committee on climate change and provides a list of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting economic growth and increasing the province’s resilience to climate change through adaption.