The Manitoba Liberal Party has presented a plan it says would make the province “carbon neutral” by 2030 through a combination of incentives to consumers, improved land use strategies and adoption of new technologies.

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The Manitoba Liberal Party has presented a plan it says would make the province "carbon neutral" by 2030 through a combination of incentives to consumers, improved land use strategies and adoption of new technologies.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he would negotiate with Ottawa to allow the province to regain control over carbon pricing.

Premier Brian Pallister abandoned his carbon pricing plan last fall. Manitoba is one of four provinces in which the federal government has imposed a pricing scheme in the absence of a provincial program.

Lamont said he would maintain a system of carbon tax rebates to Manitobans. However, he would eliminate payments to high-income earners while boosting payments to people earning less.

As the carbon tax is increased, Lamont said he would invest some of the revenues for green programs and incentives.

"One of the things we’d like to do is retain rebates but make them progressive," he told reporters Friday while unveiling the 24-page Manitoba Liberal Plan for Green Growth and Renewal.

The plan would phase out subsidies and tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and use the savings for green programming.

It would invest in developing new synthetic fuels that would reduce the province’s carbon footprint, Lamont said.

"We can use hydro to make synthetic fuels that are carbon neutral," he said.

There are several existing technologies that can be employed to make Manitoba greener, including those that pull carbon directly from the air and use electricity to make fuel that can be used in aircraft and trucks, the Liberals say. Other technologies can convert waste oil into diesel fuel and organic wastes into liquid fuels, they say.

Part of the party’s plan is to regenerate forests and grasslands and encourage new innovative techniques for farmers.

"Maintaining existing wilderness and creating more wilderness is the most cost-effective way to fight climate change," the Liberal document says.

It calls for more tree planting and increasing green space in urban areas as well as encouraging more rooftop gardens.

The Liberals would also boost the number of charging stations for electric vehicles to provide incentives to consumers to abandon gas-powered cars and trucks.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca