Manitoba carbon emissions targets in question
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2022 (322 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s Environment and Climate Minister Jeff Wharton was unable to say with certainty if Manitoba’s carbon footprint is shrinking, after the provincial opposition NDP released documents prepared by a government consultant showing projected emissions flat-lining.
During question period Wednesday, Wolseley MLA and environment critic Lisa Naylor tabled a 41-page stakeholder engagement presentation prepared by Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors.
Dunsky was hired by the province last month to lead the engagement process for a long-term energy policy framework and provide recommendations to government on a policy to replace the Clean Energy Strategy.
The presentation included a chart projecting the province’s greenhouse gas emission levels under existing climate policies over a nearly 30-year period.
According to the slide deck, the model produced using the North American TIMES Energy Model puts carbon emissions at around 22 megatonnes in 2021 and forecast to increase gradually after 2026.
“Continuing along their current pathway with their current plan, there will be a year-after-year increase in emissions and no chance of meeting any of the targets that have been recommended,” Naylor said.
The province has set a target of reducing carbon emission levels by one Mt — compared to 2018 and relative to an emissions forecast with no additional measures taken — by the end of this year.
Wharton told reporters he had not seen the presentation prior to it being tabled in the legislature. However, the newly-minted environment minister said Dunsky is expected to produce its first draft report within weeks.
Asked if the province was on track to meet its emissions reduction target, Wharton said he was waiting to see the Dunsky report, which will include an assessment of efforts made toward reaching emissions targets.
“Certainly, just over 30 days on the job, I’ve seen some great information pointing that we are looking at doing things that are going to make a difference,” he said.
“I believe the (carbon) footprint is lowering. I believe that Manitobans are starting to make decisions that will affect their family. Look at the cost of fuel: we know fuel is through the roof.”
Naylor said the environment minister should be more familiar with the engagement efforts and policy options presented to stakeholders on behalf of the province, including a massive shift toward electric vehicle use and a “significant build-out” of electricity generation.
She applauded the government for conducting engagement to “try to figure out a better path,” but said she needs to see more action from the Tories on the climate file.
“If they are ready to get on board and follow some of the suggestions that we’ve made over the last couple of years and many, many climate organizations and activists have made, there’s still a possibility to turn this around in Manitoba,” the NDP MLA said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
Updated on Thursday, March 17, 2022 11:36 AM CDT: Minor tweaks to lede