Manitoba To Unveil Climate Change Targets, Green Initiatives On Dec. 3

Last Updated: 2015/11/25 03:57:38 AM

Province plans to focus on Power Smart programs and 'green jobs,' Premier Greg Selinger says

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger says he will unveil the province's targets and initiatives for green jobs and energy-saving programs on Dec. 3, as he and other premiers gear up for climate change talks in Paris next week.

Selinger met with other premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to discuss Canada's approach to climate change before they travel to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Selinger said Manitoba has led the way on many green initiatives, and he'll have more to announce on Dec. 3.

"You will see us really ramping up our ability to do Power Smart programs — ways to help people keep their energy costs down, reduce their consumption of water … and the financing of that through Manitoba Hydro," he told Marcy Markusa of CBC's Information Radio on Tuesday.

"It's very important that we keep the costs of living in Manitoba affordable, and Power Smart programs and energy efficiency programs are one of the best ways to do that."

Manitoba's plan will have "a big component" on "green jobs," he added.

"We need to keep focusing on the jobs of the future, and climate change offers us a way to focus on that. There's going to be all kinds of retrofitting going on in homes, energy efficiency programs, programs to electrify transportation, how we can do agriculture in a way that's sustainable," he said.

"So those are all opportunities for us in the province of Manitoba, and we've got a lot of smart people who are engaged and willing to be part of that solution."

Won't set national target in advance

Selinger said the premiers and Trudeau will not set a Canadian target until after the Paris meetings, but he found Monday's talks promising.

"I think there was a tremendous desire on the part of all the premiers and the prime minister to come up with a plan that we can be proud of for Canada, so I took it as a very positive meeting," he said.

"The discussion yesterday showed a lot of areas that we can co-operate on and identified a lot of ways that we can do things together. So in that regard, it was quite positive. The tone makes a difference, but you got to come up with some substance, too."

Some provinces, such as Alberta and British Columbia, announced their plans for carbon taxes, while Ontario and Quebec announced their own initiatives, but Selinger said Manitoba is being heard in the discussions.

"There's no problem with our voice being heard. We're well-regarded for the things we've done," he said.

"We were one of the first provinces with an ethanol mandate. We led the nation in geothermal installations. We've got a lot of good work that's being done with social enterprise in First Nations communities."

Manitoba Hydro's electricity exports are "well-regarded" for helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions outside the province, and the public power utility is an innovator in financing energy efficiency programs, he added.