What Nova Scotia is Doing

Nova Scotia is a national leader in fighting climate change. We have the most ambitious targets in the country  for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our success to date is thanks to many different actions by Nova Scotians. We will build on this success for a cleaner energy future.

Below are highlights of our efforts and achievements. This 2019 progress report gives some more in depth information.


  • Nova Scotia is the first province to require energy efficient LED streetlights. They are expected to use less than half the energy of traditional lights and when combined with reduced maintenance costs, the estimated annual savings could be $18 million. They’ll also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes.
  • Nova Scotia has more wind power in our mix than 8 other provinces. As of September 2016, there were almost 567 MW of installed capacity from wind generation in the province.
  • Nova Scotians are the leading composters in Canada on a per capita basis. More than 95% of residents have access to curbside collection, and 48 of 50 municipalities use clear bags to enhance diversion of organics and recyclables from the solid waste stream.
  • More than 120,000 Nova Scotians have heat pumps in their homes. Of those, at least 100,000 use a heat pump as their primary source of heating. Over the last five years, Efficiency Nova Scotia’s work alone has helped roughly 60,000 Nova Scotians reduce their reliance on oil.
  • Programs run through Efficiency Nova Scotia have reduced electricity demand in the province by 10%. In addition, provincial programs are helping communities install solar panels and create options for low-carbon transportation.


The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act imposed aggressive targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, improve air and water quality, and protect ecosystems.

The Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act replaces this legislation. It sets the most ambitious climate change goals in the country:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53% below 2005 levels by 2030
  • achieve net-zero emissions in Nova Scotia by 2050

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2009, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations established greenhouse gas emission caps on the electricity sector. These regulations require the electricity sector to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 and 55% by 2030. They ensure Nova Scotia achieves equivalency with the federal government’s regulations for coal-fired electricity.

Amendments were also made to the Air Quality Regulations to set tighter limits on Nova Scotia Power Inc., sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions for 2015 and 2020.

  • Climate Change Action Plan

    The Climate Change Action Plan outlines what we are doing to be leaders in climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for changes to our climate that are already happening. We have made significant progress in putting our plan into action.
  • Renewable Electricity

    Nova Scotia's Renewable Electricity Plan sets targets for renewable electricity generation like wind, tidal, biomass, and hydro. In 2015, we surpassed our target of 25% of electricity from renewables, and we are on track to reach 40% by 2020.

Adaptation Workplan

Nova Scotia Environment is working to enhance government’s capacity to incorporate climate change into government planning and operations, so we can anticipate and respond to a variety of climate impacts. The department’s program of work is called the Adaptation Workplan. It is based on strengthening social cultural factors, such as commitment, leadership, engagement, empowerment, and information sharing, as well as more technical initiatives.

Climate Adaptation Leadership Program

This program is helping government departments and their industry partners to better anticipate and prepare for climate-related risks and opportunities. To date, it has helped the Department of Agriculture examine its climate risks and opportunities and its current capacity to prepare for them, and start implementing an adaptation plan. In 2019, Environment is seeking federal funding to enhance and expand the program to reach more departments and their stakeholders. The department has begun similar work with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage on risks to places of cultural importance, and with Health and Wellness on risks to public health and health infrastructure.

Climate Data Hub

The department is in ongoing discussions with Environment and Climate Change Canada and the other Atlantic provinces to develop an Atlantic regional hub for climate data and services. Work will continue in 2019 to explore feasibility.

Risk Assessment

The department is working with federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to determine the best approach for regional climate risk assessments. We are considering whether such assessments should focus strictly on risk or also incorporate other considerations, such as Nova Scotia’s institutional capacity to prepare for and respond to climate risks, the resilience of our natural and social systems, and groups in the province that are most vulnerable to climate change. We are also considering how the public and key stakeholders can be involved.

Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions

The Atlantic Climate Adaptations Solutions Association promotes research, learning, and collaboration on adaptation issues. Between 2010-2016, the association received funding from Natural Resources Canada for research and risk assessments on priority issues facing Atlantic Canada.