Industrial activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy, have released excessive amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHG), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. Since pre-industrial times, global average CO2 concentrations have increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to 424 ppm in 2023. This unprecedented shift has resulted in widespread climate change, threatening ecosystems and societies worldwide. Despite ambitious targets like the Paris Agreement, it has been difficult to mobilize intergovernmental climate mitigation efforts, and communities across the globe are feeling the effects of climate change. In 2023 alone, record-breaking heat waves, forest fires, droughts, heavy rainfall, and extreme floods affected many communities in Canada and the world.

Nova Scotian communities are among those feeling the effects of climate change.  In recent years, the maritime province has experienced a myriad of extreme weather events atypical to the region’s historical climate trends. In February 2023, Nova Scotia experienced a polar vortex, which brought wind chills below -40°C, killing off many horticultural crops in the province. In May 2023, the province saw its most devastating wildfire season, with over 25,000 hectares burned and approximately 200 homes destroyed. In July 2023, torrential rainfall (with 250mm of rainfall over 24 hours) and flash flooding resulted in a province-wide state of emergency and severe infrastructural damages. In February 2024, the province experienced extreme snowfall, with parts of the province buried under 150 cm of snow and yet another state of emergency called into effect. On top of this, Nova Scotia has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes and post-tropical storms, such as Hurricane Dorian (2019), Hurricane Fiona (2022), and Hurricane Lee (2023), bringing strong winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges that accelerate coastal erosion.

Given that greenhouse gas emissions are not bound by borders, each jurisdiction has a role to play in climate mitigation. While Nova Scotia is situated on the periphery of a densely populated and highly industrialized region of North America, it is imperative that the province also reduces its own greenhouse gas emissions. This will require growth in the clean economy, such as clean energy production, electrifying supply chains, modernizing grid infrastructure, adopting clean technologies, and increasing transmission capabilities. Workforce development efforts, industry collaboration, cultural shifts, and changes in policies and programs will be needed to advance Nova Scotia’s clean energy economy.

Policy Brief


To cite this brief:

Clark, A. and Legere, T. March 2024. Strengthening Nova Scotia’s Clean Economy: An ICTC Policy Brief. Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Ottawa, Canada. Author order is alphabetized.