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Environment minister Graham Letto launches climate change action plan in Corner Brook

Gary Kean

Mar 2, 2019
The provincial government is embarking on a five-year plan to address the onerous issue of climate change, but says it can’t do it on its own.

Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto launched a document government has called “The Way Forward on Climate Change” during an appearance at ACAP Humber Arm’s monthly speaker series Coastal Matters in Corner Brook Friday.

The plan contains actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, stimulating clean innovation and growth and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The action plan goes hand in hand with the province’s review of its environmental assessment processes and regulations, its review of the solid-waste management strategy and the implementation of the province’s tailor-made carbon pricing program announced in October. The province said it and other levels of government, environmental organizations, industry, businesses and the general public must all work with the province to address the issue.

The action plan was developed following public consultations held throughout the province.

The plan

The climate change action plan includes 33 measures to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions and 17 actions to build resilience to climate impacts. The goals of the plan include:
  • Implementing the Made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador carbon pricing program
  • Increasing the use of electric vehicles
  • Decreasing the reliance on diesel electricity generation in off-grid communities
  • Supporting the agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry sectors
  • Building climate-resilient infrastructure
  • Addressing climate change-related health issues
  • Pursuing education and community outreach (Source: Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment)

    Some of what was said at Friday’s press conference:
On keeping people informed:

“As part of our government’s mandate to ensure transparency and accountability, we will report on the progress of this plan and provincial action on climate change halfway through the five-year plan and again at the end of the five years.”

- Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto

On single-use plastic bags:

“It is important we thoroughly explore the implications that a potential ban on plastic shopping bags might have on the environment. We are working closely with the federal government and other provinces … to ensure this province is thoroughly involved in development of any actions to reduce plastic waste, including a zero-plastic waste strategy. By working together, we can find the best course of action for limiting the amount of single use plastic bags and plastic packaging that shows up in our environment. I anticipate providing an update in the next while.”
- Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto

On the review of the environment assessment processes and regulations:

“We want to ensure current and future proponents are working with strong legislation and have the best opportunity to move forward with their project in a way that ensures public and environmental accountability and protection. Through the review, we are hoping to optimize decision making before a project commences and before significant investments are made.”

- Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto
On composting:

Tony Oxford:

“I can’t help wonder about the efforts of the government with respect to composting. That’s the most offensive part of our waste stream in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.”

- Tony Oxford, Cox’s Cove resident

“Composting is one area we have not made great strides in, I’ll certainly admit that. It’s going to be a big part of the (waste management) review. We agree it’s a major part of the process.”

- Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto

On the Made-in-NL carbon pricing program:

Simon Jansen:

“One of the things lacking right now is actually changing the mindset of individuals. For example, when it came to the carbon (pricing program) that came out, the fact we sort of exchanged the gas tax with the carbon tax, really meant the individual didn’t really feel there was money shifted towards climate change solutions.”

- Simon Jansen, Climate Watch NL

“If we had been subjected to the implementation of the federal plan, the people of this province would have been hurt. And businesses would have been hurt.”

- Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto


For the compete “The Way Forward on Climate Change” document:

detailed results of the climate change public consultations:

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