Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act is devoid of ecology, more notable for what it cuts than for content.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
With the introduction of new legislation in Bill 16, the Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act, the Manitoba government has reinforced that they don’t have a plan. There are no details on how to reduce carbon emissions and preserve our environment, and Bill 16 removes environmental law at the same time.
Bill 16 does go into detail about imposing a carbon tax, which is an essential step in preventing runaway climate chaos. The point of a carbon tax is to tax polluters so they change their ways and incentivizes change over time by making it more costly to pollute. Unfortunately, as we stated in the past, the government is not going to charge the major emitters for their current operations and will not be progressively increasing the carbon tax. The government is setting Manitoba up to fail our climate action with Bill 16.
What’s equally troubling is the environmental legislation that is repealed — the Climate Change and Emissions Reduction Act and the Sustainable Development Act — and that they don’t replace these acts with anything. The Principles and Guidelines of Sustainable Development which detailed Manitoba’s commitment to protecting our environment have simply been removed from the legislation.
There is little else to mention in the new bill because there is no plan. The first sentence in the legislation says “The minister must develop a plan…” We’re left to wonder about whether the government will help transition Winnipeg Transit to electric power, or whether a loan program for insulation retrofits of people’s homes will be offered, or whether Manitoba and Saskatchewan can grid tie the existing hydroelectricity generation so our neighbors can shut down their destructive coal plants, or whether any of the 100 other suggestions included in last fall’s discussion paper will be initiated.
Bill 16 says nothing on climate action. No matter how many times the government boasts that this is a Climate and Green Plan, it is still not a plan.
The Manitoba government is taking way too long to introduce initiatives to reduce carbon emissions — to make a plan. The Wilderness Committee attended our first climate meeting with the government in November 2016. One year later the government announced their Climate and Green discussion paper with much self-congratulation. It has been six months since then, and there is still no plan.
The government’s inaction on this file mirrors their inaction on the boreal woodland caribou protection that’s required by federal law, or revising the Environment Act as recommended by the Manitoba Law Reform Commission, or finalizing a Nopiming Provincial Park management plan which was supposed to happen two years ago, or moving towards the 17% protected area goal the rest of the world is reaching for.
I’ve said it before in a Winnipeg Free Press Op-Ed, and I have to say it again, this government is either dismissive of the pressing need for environmental protection...or they’re inept.