News Release - Manitoba Introduces Comprehensive Plan to Address Climate Change, Create Green Jobs

December 4, 2015

A comprehensive plan to fight climate change and protect the environment, while creating green jobs and building a sustainable economy was released today by Premier Greg Selinger.

“Climate change is the defining global environmental issue of our time and now is the time for action. We must seize opportunities to transform our economies, powered by renewable energy and the creation of green jobs to keep Manitoba’s economy among the national leaders,” said Premier Selinger. “Through the actions outlined in Manitoba’s plan and with the co-operation of the new Canadian federal government and all Manitobans, the province will cut greenhouse gases by one-third by 2030, enhance economic opportunities and create at least 6,000 new green jobs by 2020.”

The new plan will work to drive innovation in the transportation and agriculture sectors, assess local climate-change risks and develop solutions, expand work to combat climate change through new community partnerships and advance innovative energy projects in local communities in order to continue to grow the green economy and create green jobs.

The premier noted the plan includes several key initiatives including:

World-leading energy-efficiency investments:

  • Manitoba will take immediate action to create a new demand side management agency, establish energy savings targets, work to lower utility bills by taking the existing Power Smart program to the next level and support adoption of green-heating alternatives to fossil fuels such as geothermal technology.
  • While other provinces have set targets to lower emissions and have committed to increase capacity for renewable energy, Manitoba is well positioned as 98 per cent of the energy produced in the province is renewable.
  • Manitoba’s successful record on renewable energy means the province is poised to export additional power to neighbouring jurisdictions that will allow them to lower their carbon footprint.

The right to a clean environment:

  • In October, Manitoba became the first Canadian province to sign Dr. David Suzuki’s Blue Dot Declaration.
  • As part of this commitment, the province will introduce a proposed comprehensive environmental bill of rights that would enshrine the commitment that every Manitoban has the right to clean air, water, land and a stable climate.
  • The new act would include an independent oversight body to ensure public accountability.

Partnering toward greens jobs and a green economy:

  • Manitoba will join Ontario and Quebec in introducing a cap-and-trade system for large emitters and will enter into consultations with other sectors on the potential to introduce carbon stewardship, a unique made-in-Manitoba solution for non-capped industries.
  • Manitoba will also partner with the City of Winnipeg to introduce curb-side composting, reducing nutrient loading through historic investments in wastewater treatment, electrify public transportation and expand active transportation.
  • The province will work with Indigenous partners, utilizing and honouring traditional ecological knowledge and will work with First Nations and Métis communities, including moving forward on the PimachiowinAki project, as well as continuing to work together on land-use planning projects and expanding the province’s network of protected areas.
  • Manitoba will also partner with the geothermal industry and community organizations, such as Aki Energy, to responsibly introduce more geothermal and biomass installations, creating green jobs and powering the green economy.

Innovative programs, incentives, partnerships and resiliency:

  • The province will continue to expand on nationally recognized green building standards.
  • Manitoba will move to make government operations carbon neutral.
  • Manitoba is already recognized as a leader on climate change mitigation. The province’s support for climate science will be expanded through the Prairie Climate Centre and the Churchill Marine Observatory, which will research and inform Manitobans about climate change and allow the province to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The province will continue investments in crucial infrastructure from flood mitigation to adaptable transportation in remote communities.
  • The province will be expanding on internationally recognized sustainable education for sustainable development that will ensure that all Manitobans understand their role in protecting the environment.
  • The premier noted new partnerships have also been forged with the Manitoba Trucking Association, Keystone Agricultural Producers, National Farmers Union, universities and colleges, Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities and community organizations to help fight climate change and implement the actions in the plan.

“The Manitoba Trucking Association has been an active participant in the province’s green discussions for years, giving us the opportunity to provide our industry’s insight into the environmental issue as well as develop partnerships with other likeminded organizations,” said Terry Shaw, executive director, Manitoba Trucking Association. “Our most recent action in this regard is the GrEEEner Trucking Fuel Efficiency Initiative, which was developed in collaboration with Providence University College’s Buller Centre for Business. We appreciate their partnership on this initiative as well as the support expressed by the Province of Manitoba. We look forward to continuing work on this project.”

“With this strategy, Manitoba is re-establishing itself as one of Canada’s leaders on energy and greenhouse gas savings,” said Philippe Dunsky, Dunsky Energy Consulting. “The targets are aggressive but achievable, and I have every confidence that they will spur yet more innovation at Manitoba Hydro and more cost savings for Manitobans.”

“Farmers are already doing many of the right things to protect the environment through the Environmental Farm Plan program and other practices, and now we have the potential to do even more through provincial investment in research and additional programming,” said Dan Mazier, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “In addition, the measures outlined in the plan will help us adopt new environmental practices, which can result in even more carbon emissions reductions. We look forward to working with the province to mitigate the impact of climate change, thus ensuring farm viability and, ultimately, food security.”

Premier Selinger is leading a delegation to Paris as part of the 21st Conference of the Party (COP21). It is at this conference that governments will set in place the foundation to prevent global warming beyond two degrees Celsius by 2030. The cost of attending will be less than $35,000 and the flights purchased for COP21 will be offset by the purchase of carbon offsets.

“It is our collective obligation to fight climate change to ensure a healthy environment and robust economy,” said Premier Selinger. “We must do what we can to mitigate current risks while looking at ways to adapt to climate change. Delays will only make it more difficult and costly in the future.”

For more information on climate change in Manitoba, visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/climate/index.html

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"We must seize opportunities to transform our economies, powered by renewable energy and the creation of green jobs to keep Manitoba’s economy among the national leaders.” Premier Greg Selinger