A Private Member’s Bill introduced by Green Party of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) Deputy Leader Lynne Lund passed through the Legislature and received Royal Assent on December 4, 2020. Bill 127, the Net-zero Carbon Act, establishes “sustainable prosperity” as a long-term objective for P.E.I.
It also enshrines greenhouse gas emissions targets in legislation, something that P.E.I.’s main piece of climate legislation, the Climate Leadership Act, does not do. The targets are those already put forward by the government: emissions of 1.2 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, carbon neutrality by 2040.
Bill 127 imposes additional transparency on government actions to reach those targets, striking a committee to provide annual advice to the minister and requiring the minister to provide an annual report on progress toward the targets, among other things.
Similar legislation has been passed in British Columbia (the Climate Change Accountability Act), Manitoba (The Climate and Green Plan Act), and Nova Scotia (Bill 213, the Sustainable Development Goals Act). P.E.I.’s legislation is most closely modelled on Nova Scotia’s Sustainable Development Goals Act (not yet in force).
“It’s probably something that we should have looked at in advance of our net zero, but we didn’t,” said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers during the brief debate on the Bill.
Bill 127 will come into force on December 31, 2021 unless proclaimed into force earlier.