FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has unveiled a framework to help develop an output-based pricing system for large industrial emitters of greenhouse gases. This system, an alternative to the federal government’s backstop plan, aims to reduce emissions while ensuring the province’s industries are not at a competitive disadvantage.

Provincial performance standards for large industrial emitters would fall within the range of what other jurisdictions have been allowed to implement or are proposing. Performance standards for electricity generation would be intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while minimizing electricity rate hikes on homeowners and business operators.

The provincial government plans to make amendments to the Climate Change Act to provide the necessary authority and regulations for facilities that emit more than 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases yearly. Facilities that emit more than 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases would be allowed to opt in annually.

Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr said the province is already well on its way to exceeding Canada’s 2030 goal of reducing emissions by at least 30 per cent below 2005 levels.

Since 2005, the province has reduced its output by 24 per cent, mostly due to closures of coal- and oil-fired power plants, restructuring in the forestry sector, incorporation of wind energy and investments in energy efficiency.

In addition to developing an output-based pricing system for large industrial emitters, the provincial government continues to oppose the federal government’s carbon tax on consumers.

“The federal government’s carbon tax is unfair to ordinary New Brunswickers who may have to drive to work or take their kids to school,” said Carr. “Home heating bills will increase, as well.”

The federal carbon tax, which takes effect April 1, will increase gasoline prices by 4.42 cents per litre; diesel by 5.37 cents per litre; propane by 3.10 cents per litre; and home heating fuel by 5.37 cents per litre. The price of natural gas will increase 3.91 cents per cubic foot. Rates will increase again in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The full framework and the provincial government’s climate change action plan are available online.

Also available online are details of how the federal carbon tax will affect you and your family.