2024/2025 Budget Recommendations from Manitoba’s Climate Action Team submitted to Finance Minister Adrian Sala and Premier Wab Kinew

Dear Premier Kinew and Minister Sala,

We’re grateful for the investments you’re making in Manitoba. Your commitments related to geothermal are a critical first step in ensuring Manitoba effectively lowers emissions from buildings. But given the province’s emissions are still higher than they were in 2005 and that we need to reach a 40 to 50 per cent reduction by 2030 (1.5 election terms away), we are asking you push even further to help everyday Manitobans affordably and accessibly feed, transport, and shelter ourselves without the use of fossil fuels.

Our assumption is that you’re regularly inundated with climate solutions from people across political, economic, and social spectrums. Big shifts are happening globally, and people have strong feelings towards these shifts. Throughout it all, we hope you are seeing a common thread: climate solutions exist, but government action and investment is needed to implement them. 

With that in mind, the solutions laid out in Manitoba’s Road to Resilience — a report series filled with affordability-minded climate action recommendations for our province — will get us much closer to reaching our emission reduction targets while also saving money for everyday Manitobans long-term.

Below you will find key solutions from the Road to Resilience series. These actions will help address the question so many Manitobans are concerned about: what can our provincial government do to decrease the physical, emotional, and economic costs associated with extreme weather events?

Recommendations from Volume 1: Community Pathway

  1. Heat all of our buildings – old and new – affordably without fossil (natural) gas
  2. Move all goods and people without gasoline or diesel
  3. Ensure that Manitobans have access to food that has been produced without synthetic fertilizer and without diesel for machinery

Recommendations from Volume 2: Energy Solutions

  1. Make our buildings as energy efficient as possible.
  2. Heat and cool our buildings electrically on district geothermal systems
  3. Reduce need for vehicle transportation and make all vehicles electric
  4. Increase local electrical generation primarily with wind power
  5. Develop thermal and electrical energy storage systems

Recommendations from Volume 3: Policy Solutions

3.1: Coordination and Finance

  1. Establish a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner and make public the guiding principles they will use to develop and prioritize climate actions.
  2. Create a Climate Emergency Secretariat with central coordination and oversight of all climate actions.
  3. Plan and deliver the training needed to support all of the climate actions.
  4. Return the carbon tax from the federal government to the government of Manitoba and ensure this revenue is used to help Manitobans reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  5. Rebate a portion of Carbon Tax revenue to ensure the lowest 40 percent of households by income do not experience a net loss.
  6. Make Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) available to finance loans for climate action programs.
  7. Change legislation and revenue sources to make Efficiency Manitoba’s mandate to “reduce Manitoba’s greenhouse gas emissions through the efficient use of electricity.”
  8. Enact legislation to create a Thermal Energy Services utility.
  9. Ensure that the public has access to reliable climate change education and that progress toward the climate goals is reported upon regularly and that failure to meet targets result in remedial action.
  10. Expand the scope of the carbon tax to include all sources of climate emissions in Manitoba.
  11. Direct Manitoba Hydro to plan for and implement at least 7,000 MW of wind generation within the province.

3.2: Residential and Commercial Buildings

  1. Adopt the highest tiers of the 2020 National Energy Code for Buildings and 2020 National Building Code achievable by the construction industry and execute a plan to achieve higher tiers as soon as possible.
  2. Prohibit the use of fossil gas in any new construction.
  3. Use the Energy Advisor resource to audit, inventory, and map the energy performance of as many buildings in the province as possible.
  4. Use the most economical combination of building envelope improvements, geothermal and on-site solar energy to retrofit each building to achieve the energy savings required to ensure that financial savings exceed the amount of the loan.
  5. Instruct the Thermal Energy Services utility to plan, model, design, implement, and maintain a district geothermal system throughout the province.
  6. Find ways to employ solar energy and waste heat recovery economically to reduce the need for grid power for water heating.
  7. Apply PACE loans on terms based on the combined life expectancy of the equipment involved, estimated at between 25 to 60 years.

3.3: Vehicle Transportation

  1. Set targets for market adoption of electric vehicles of all types.
  2. Enact Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) sales standards to penalize manufacturers who do not meet a schedule of fleet fuel efficiency standards.
  3. Work with the private sector and federal government to expand charging infrastructure until every community connected by road has enough charging stations.
  4. Use carbon tax revenue from the transportation sector to create a pool of capital that provides zero percent interest financing to Manitobans wanting to purchase a fully electric vehicle.
  5. Lay the groundwork for a program to tax fossil fuel vehicles and use the revenue to finance electric vehicle purchases.

For too long, the conversation has been centered around how much it will cost to address climate change and not how much it will cost not to. The Canadian Climate Institute’s 2022 report Damage Control ties everything together and the Forward summarizes:

“As climate change impacts intensify, life will become even less affordable as economic growth slows, governments will be forced to raise taxes or cut services to pay for climate disasters, job losses will be measured in the millions, and goods will become more costly as supply chains are disrupted.”

Thank you for reviewing our submission. We look forward to hearing you adopt these action items and committing to intensive climate action. Our lives are depending on it,

Manitoba’s Climate Action Team Coalition:

Josep Seras Gubert, Green Action Centre
Molly McCracken, CCPA Manitoba
Andrea Pelletier, MEJC
Curt Hull, Climate Change Connection
Eric Reder, Wilderness Committee

Manitoba’s Road to Resilience, Manitoba’s Climate Action Team

Damage Control: Reducing the Costs of Climate Impacts in Canada, Canadian Climate Institute