Climate Change Action Plan
In December 2016, New Brunswick released the Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy – New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan [PDF] and in December 2017, the provincial government issued an update to the plan. The plan seeks to:
- reduce total GHG emission outputs to 14.8 Mt by 2020, 10.7 Mt by 2030, and 5 Mt by 2050 – these targets have been implemented in the Climate Change Act (discussed below)
- phase out coal as a source of electricity by 2030
- make the government carbon neutral by 2030
- phase out the use of fuel oil for heating publicly funded buildings and replace it with low-carbon fuels such as wood pellets, natural gas, biomass and solar energy
- require energy performance identification (benchmarking and labelling) for all publicly funded new construction and major building renovations
- extend the reporting requirements to facilities that emit at least 10,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year and management requirements to facilities that emit at least 25,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year
- subject large industry that emit over 50,000 tonnes of GHG annually to emissions limits in the form of output-based performance standards which will be implemented and administered by the federal government
In January 2021, the province released a report outlining progress on climate-related action to date titled New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan Progress Report 2020 [PDF]. Among other things, New Brunswick has:
- introduced the Climate Change Act (discussed below), which establishes a made-in-New Brunswick carbon tax
- created a committee of Cabinet dedicated solely to the issue of climate change, chaired by the premier, to oversee the implementation of the action plan; and
- announced the creation of a climate change and environmental stewardship committee.
Climate Change Act and Gasoline and Motive Fuel Tax Act
In 2018, the Climate Change Act [PDF] (the Act) came into force. The Act sets out the following GHG emission output limits in New Brunswick:
- 14.8 megatonnes in 2020
- 10.7 megatonnes in 2030
- 5 megatonnes in 2050
In March 2020, New Brunswick introduced amendments to the Act to enable the regulation of emissions from large industrial emitters through an output-based pricing system (NB OBPS). Industrial facilities that emit more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year or more would be subject to the NB OBPS, with facilities emitting between 10,000 and 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent being able to opt-in to the regime.
On September 21, 2020, the federal government accepted the NB OBPS as an alternative to the federal output-based pricing system (Federal OBPS) established under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA). The NB OBPS applies to the same gases as the Federal OBPS and applies the same pricing scale rising to $50 per tonne by 2022. Any facility that does not meet the standard set by the NB OBPS will have a compliance obligation, which it can meet by:
- reducing its emissions to meet the performance standard
- purchasing performance credits from facilities outperforming their applicable performance standard
- contributing to New Brunswick’s Climate Change Fund, or
- obtaining offset credits
An announcement has yet to be made regarding the planned transition date from the federal OBPS to the NB OBPS. Until the transition is completed, the federal OBPS will continue to apply to large industrial emitters in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick has also introduced a tax on gasoline, motive fuel and carbon emitting products purchased or consumed in the province under the Gasoline and Motive Fuel Tax Act (GMFTA). The GMFTA applies to 20 types of fuels and is currently levied at a rate of $40 per tonne and is set to increase to $50 per tonne on April 1, 2022. As a result of New Brunswick’s enactment of the GMFTA, the federal fuel charge under the GGPPA, which similarly implements a tax on various fuel types, does not apply in New Brunswick.