The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Environment and Conservation and Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading:
Progress Report on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give you an update on the great work being done to implement our Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans released in 2011. These plans established a strategic approach to climate change and energy efficiency, and set out government’s vision and goals for the next five years for adapting to climate change, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have made great strides such as meeting our greenhouse gas target for 2010 by reducing provincial emission levels below 1990 levels, while at the same time, real economic growth increased by 63 per cent. We provided grants to approximately 4,000 low-income homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, allowing them to save on average $775 per year on their home heating costs. We launched a pilot Hurricane Alert Program in 2012-13, under which more than 4,700 storm forecasts were generated for 40 communities, providing 55 flood alerts. We have also shown leadership by reducing energy consumption and operating costs in government’s own operations by installing occupancy sensors in place lighting controls, upgrading fluorescent fixtures, and procuring energy efficient appliances, computers and vehicles.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, we launched the province’s first public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency, Turn Back the Tide, receiving more than 9,200 visits to our campaign website in the first two and a half months. We also commissioned an independent study on how we can increase jobs in the green economy by 30 per cent by 2020, and are in active dialogue with business on the next steps.
Mr. Speaker, this is just a brief overview of some of the important work being done in this province on these important issues. I am also delighted that our efforts received national recognition in September when we won a Clean16 award for our outstanding work.
Without ongoing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, our communities will be at risk from adverse impacts such as extreme weather events and coastal erosion. But, Mr. Speaker, there are also significant opportunities such as utilizing our vast clean energy resources like Muskrat Falls, enhancing energy efficiency, and improving our province’s resilience. This is why we must ensure we are well-placed to seize the opportunities and minimize the risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
I look forward to the continued implementation of our action plans as we do our part to help tackle climate change in our province.
2012 12 11 2:05 p.m.