At the Atlantica Centre for Energy, we have been working tirelessly to determine the impacts of the Federal Climate Action Plan and Clean Fuel Standard, mindful that both of the new federal initiatives aim to add financial penalties on the use of carbon fuels that will have an impact on people and businesses in Atlantic Canada.

The fuel standard will incent low-carbon fuel technologies, but there are many unanswered questions. Data from Environment and Climate Change Canada indicates it will impact Atlantic Canada up to three times more than any other region in the nation.

As in all things, the devil is in the details. And details there are – more than 1,000 pages of them.

As Atlantica Senior Policy Consultant Neil Jacobsen notes, “The proposed Clean Fuel Standard is the most complex series of regulations I have seen in my 30-plus years of working on the impacts of public policy.

“The complexity and far-reaching socio-economic impacts present a real challenge to all four Atlantic Provinces and their residents, businesses and export-dependent industries.”

We think it is important to note that Atlantic Canada has made significant progress on greenhouse gas emission reductions with a 22.5 per cent decline since 2005 (versus 0.1 per cent nationally). Our region is leading the way.

What we are asking people to consider boils down to three key points:

  1. No one knows the economic impact of these compounding financial penalties, including a price of $170 per tonne on carbon fuels. Let’s fully assess the costs and benefits before we place a huge burden on our region.
  2. As we have already met our near-term emissions targets and have plans in place to meet longer-term goals, let’s embark on a “made-in-Atlantic Canada” plan to net-zero emissions that fully leverages our region’s strengths and does not impose harsh penalties on our residents, businesses and industries.
  3. During a worldwide pandemic that has locked down much of the country, reduced demand for energy and increased prices, now is NOT the time to introduce new sanctions that will further reduce Canadian jobs and damage still-operating businesses.

With that in mind, we are dedicating this issue of Highlights to showcasing several Atlantic Canadian initiatives to reduce and sequester carbon emissions and increase non-emitting energy production. With a sustained focus on energy efficiency, and research and development on clean energy technologies, we can accelerate our region’s path to net zero.

Colleen d’Entremont
Atlantica Centre for Energy