Greens pledge to reduce green house gas emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs

James Beddome

Winnipeg, March 21, 2016: A Green government would introduce a comprehensive Climate Change Action Plan to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions and create thousands of jobs, said Green Party leader James Beddome.

“We propose to spend $166 million per year on measures that will reduce GHG emissions and stimulate the economy,” Beddome said. “Uncontrolled climate change threatens our very existence and we can no longer delay taking action. At the same time, doing our part to meet this threat will stimulate our economy by creating jobs, business opportunities and prosperity.”

The Greens would introduce a $50/tonne carbon tax that would generate approximately $500 million annually. Most of this would be returned to taxpayers in the form of personal income tax reductions ($274 million) or payroll tax cuts ($60 million). The remaining $166 million would be invested in a Climate Change Action Fund that would be used to fund various GHG reduction initiatives.

“By reducing personal income taxes and payroll taxes we would be helping Manitobans respond to the higher energy costs that would result from a carbon tax,” Beddome said. “Over time, we would expect Manitobans’ energy expenditures to decline as they insulate their homes and adopt more energy efficient technologies.”

Beddome said that Manitoba’s performance in reducing GHG emissions has been dismal. “Manitoba has the fifth highest per capita emissions in Canada. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 14 per cent since 1990 and the NDP has failed to meet any of the targets it has set. Its current plan is vague, poorly designed and inadequately funded.”

The Green’s $166 million Climate Change Action Fund would support improvements in transportation, heating, agriculture, and waste disposal – areas where GHG emissions are the greatest. “There are many things we could do, today, to reduce our GHG emissions and improve the quality of our lives,” Beddome said. “There is no time to waste.”

 

BACKGROUNDER

The Challenge – Rising greenhouse gas emissions

According to the 2015 National Inventory Report on greenhouse gas (GHG) sources in Canada (1990 to 2013), Manitoba had total GHG emissions of 21.4 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (ktCO2 e), which is 14.4% higher than 1990 levels and 21.7% higher than the Kyoto target of 6% below 1990 levels. The key contributors to the GHG emissions in Manitoba are transportation, agriculture and stationary heating. More specifically, the largest contributors showing high growth rates are heavy duty diesel trucks; light duty gas trucks; enteric fermentation from livestock; agriculture soils; and heating of manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings.

Manitoba’s existing Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan is short on action

In December, 2015, the provincial government released its Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan to address the province’s rising GHG emissions. The plan sets ambitious GHG reduction targets – a reduction of 6,900 ktCO2 e by 2030, which translates into an annual reduction of 490 ktCO2 e for each of the next 14 years. This is compared to an increase of 2.7 ktCO2 e between 1990 and 2013. However, what it proposes to do to achieve these ambitious reductions does not measure up. None of the measures have GHG reduction estimates attached to them. The government plan proposes:

  • demand-side management initiatives – 14 in all, but how will they be funded?
  • a five year $5 million Climate Change Action Fund to finance fuel efficiency retrofits, sustainable agriculture practices, assessing risks and finding solutions, expanding tree planting, community innovation, and green energy – all that for $1 million per year!
  • carbon pricing via a cap-and-trade on Manitoba’s largest emitters – there are only 13 of them and they account for only 10% of total GHG emissions.
  • carbon stewardship producer responsibility organizations tasked with reducing GHG emissions – no more than vague promises.
  • government-focused initiatives – no details or GHG reduction estimates.
  • sector reductions – good ideas in the list of initiatives, but how will they be funded?

The key conclusion is that the NDP blueprint contains ambitious targets but no plan or adequate financial commitment to make it happen.

The Green Response – $50/tonne carbon tax

  • generate additional $500 million with a carbon tax
  • lower personal income tax by $274 million to offset costs of GHG reduction
  • reduce levies on small businesses by $60 million to offset costs of GHG reduction
  • invest $166 million in a Climate Change Action Fund

Because Manitoba has few large emitters responsible for only 10% of GHG emissions, and because the source of emissions is broad based, a broad-based tax on fossil fuels, with the tax proportional to the amount of GHGs emitted, is required to achieve significant reductions. Accordingly, the GPM is proposing a $50/tonne tax on the same range of fuels included in British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Act, but increased by 5/3, given that B.C.’s carbon tax is $30/tonne.

This level of a carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would redirect 11.1 cents a litre toward emission reduction and lead to an estimated reduction of 281 ktCO2 e a year, based on analyses of the price elasticity of demand for fuels. It would also give incentive for retrofits to homes and businesses to reduce heating costs. The large proportion of the revenue would be raised from the tax on the following sources:

Type of Fuel

Carbon Tax

Total Consumption (2014)

Total Revenue

Clear Gasoline (per litre)

0.1112

1,555,060,000

$172,922,672

Clear Diesel Fuel (per litre)

0.1278

814,767,000

$104,127,223

Aviation Fuel (per litre)

0.1230

135,361,000

$16,649,403

Jet Fuel (per litre)

0.1305

9,660,000

$1,260,630

Natural Gas (per cubic metre)

0.0950

2,169,888,000

$206,139,360

Propane (per litre)

0.0770

239,000

$18,403

TOTAL

$501,117,691

Boosting Manitoba’s economy with a carbon tax

Reviews of the impact of British Columbia’s carbon tax show increased economic growth and reduced GHG emissions relative to the rest of Canada. Manitoba is likely to see similar results as the shift toward innovation boosts the economy and creates jobs. The Green $166 million a year Climate Change Action Fund would support:

Cleaning up road transportation

  • replace diesel with electric buses
  • grants to municipalities to expand their public and active transportation infrastructure
  • create electric vehicle charging stations in public places across the province
  • grants to cover the cost of installing electric vehicle charging stations in homes and offices
  • grants to help the trucking industry offset the costs of energy efficiency retrofit equipment for medium and heavy duty diesel vehicles
  • introduce a ‘feebate’ for new and used vehicles to give a rebate on taxes at point of purchase for vehicles with a fuel economy lower than 6 litres/100km.

Heating efficiency

  • grants to expand and extend geothermal and solar thermal heating incentives
  • grants to finance commercial building energy audits in First Nations communities
  • expand energy retrofit programs for residential, commercial and institutional buildings

Reducing agriculture emissions

  • financial support for the construction of manure digesters on livestock operations
  • support for on-farm production of biodiesel for on-farm use
  • expand programs for the adoption of ecological farming practices
  • promote crops that fix nitrogen in the soil to reduce GHG emissions of synthetic fertilizer
  • support for the transition to organic farming

Minimizing waste

  • support for the construction of methane capturing technologies at garbage dumps
  • support for the construction of composting of household and commercial food waste and other compostable waste products
  • support for low-cost waterless sanitation systems in provincial buildings and new developments
  • support for the creation of local industries for recycling of plastics, paper and other materials into new products, to save the transportation of recyclable waste

Ending dependence on ice roads

  • support for airships to carry freight to northern remote locations