Nova Scotia’s ambitious climate plan aims to phase out coal

The Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth includes 68 actions, but the biggest emission reductions are dependent on projects like the Atlantic Loop.

Nova Scotia's minister of environment and climate change warned residents “the ability to cool homes is going to be critical” as increased flood risks in the 2030s are followed by more intense heat by the 2050s, based on the most recent scientific data.

Tim Halman delivered the remarks as the province unveiled its Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth in Dartmouth on a foggy December morning this week, citing Hurricane Fiona as a recent example of the cost of inaction.

"Fiona reminded us that the climate has changed … and that the climate will continue to change,” he said. “The science backs that, so therefore what needs to happen is society and the economy needs to adapt to that new reality.”

The province’s climate plan includes 68 actions in total, broken down into four main groups:

  • Responding to climate change impacts.

  • Seizing opportunities for a cleaner, sustainable economy.

  • Reporting and evaluating progress.

  • And reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CL Nova Scotia Climate Change Plan RECUT Moment3

Chart showing emissions reduction targets from Nova Scotia's Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth.

The biggest chunk of CO2 emission reduction is set to come from electricity, largely by radically decreasing the use of burning coal. On a micro level, that means a coming ban on the installation of oil-fired heating equipment in new builds. Large scale, it means a transition to cleaner energy projects like the Atlantic Loop, which would pull down hydroelectric power from Churchill Falls.

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The energy corridor would literally loop in all four Atlantic provinces to hydroelectric power flowing from Labrador and Quebec. The consistent renewable source would be a reliable renewable energy supply when wind turbines aren't spinning, eliminating the need for coal. The cost of the project is in the billions and Nova Scotia's primary electric company, Emera, recently put it on pause after the government limited their ability to increase rates. The province is now looking to the federal government to help push it forward.

“Along with the Atlantic Loop, we have other things that are part of that. The development of green hydrogen. The development of offshore winds. The utilization of the power and tides in the Bay of Fundy,” said Halman.

Watch below: Tidal energy officially flowing onto Nova Scotia's grid

The plan commits to releasing an annual review every July to align with existing progress reporting on the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act.

Thumbnail image: Tim Halman, Nova Scotia's minister of environment and climate change, unveils the province's Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth. (Nathan Coleman)