Worldwide Climate Action Now

Sam Arnold and Keith Helmuth

The good news is this weekend will see the largest worldwide demonstration ever for political
action on climate change.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens in cities around the world will be joining the People’s Climate
March for climate action now. They will be calling on their political leaders to act together in
global cooperation to stem the flow of fossil fuel pollution that is wrecking climate balance.
New York City will be the epicentre of this uprising because world leaders are meeting next week
at the UN to talk about action on climate change. The People’s Climate March has been organized
worldwide to help these leaders understand that global action must be taken now to drastically
reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gases that are being dumped into the
atmosphere.
For all the research, and all the negotiations that have been going on for the last several decades,
fossil fuel pollution of the atmosphere is continuing to climb. And climate disruption is no longer a
vague possibility: It is manifestly clear that the damage and the costs of extreme weather events
are escalating.
Several years before hurricane Sandy hit New York City, leading meteorologists said it was only a
matter of time until a super-storm hit the area that would flood lower Manhattan and fill the
subway tunnels with water. Then it happened, and the cost of the damage for that storm has been
pegged at $68 billion. And that doesn’t even count the cost of economic disruption of businesses.
Canadian meteorologists have since pointed out that if Sandy had come up the Bay of Fundy the
storm surge would have gone right across the Isthmus of Chignecto connecting New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia. It would have taken out all of its infrastructure and disconnected the two
provinces. And think of all the other surrounding shoreline damage that would have occurred. Is
this reality just a matter of time for us?
The reality of continued fossil fuel pollution of the atmosphere is not just global warming, but
increasingly chaotic, disruptive, and damaging climate instability. More than just discomfort,
inconvenience, or even loss of life and infrastructure, the costs of dealing with and trying to
recover from blow after blow will increasingly cripple our economy. Climate disruption is now a
looming economic disaster. How will NB, already deeply in debt, deal with such a future?
In 2011 the Canadian National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRT) published
a major research report titled, Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for
Canada, which laid out the costs likely to be incurred if nothing is done to stem the direction of
climate disruption. They estimate that by mid-century costs could average up to $1800 per home
per year in New Brunswick. Householders in some regions, of course, will suffer much greater
damage than others.
By 2020 the costs nationally will be $5 billion annually. By 2050 they will rise to between $21 and
$43 billion per year. These are conservative projections. If climate damage accelerates, they
estimate the figure could go as high as $91 billion every year.
If political leaders, including Canada’s, are not persuaded to take effective global action to move
swiftly from reliance on fossil fuel energy to renewable energy, these costs will become a reality.
The People’s Climate March on Sunday is a worldwide demand for political and business leaders
to wise-up to what’s happening. As the March organizers say, “Do the math!” The quantity of
fossil fuels still in ground, if extracted and burned, will destabilize the climate to such an extent
that the damage will far outstrip any possible benefit. We’ve got to minimize the use of fossil fuels
and switch to renewable energy as fast as possible simply to save our economy.
Even the US military has done the research and has warned that destabilizing the climate is the
biggest threat to national and global security that we face. If the Pentagon is worried about this,
it’s pretty dumb for the rest of us not be worried as well.
So what’s the response of political leaders in Canada and, for us, in New Brunswick? The Harper
government has responded by “shooting the messenger.” In addition to telling the economic truth
about climate change, the NRT had the audacity to issue a major study in 2012 titled, Framing the
Future: Embracing the Low-Carbon Economy. The Harper government yanked the NRT’s funding
out of the 2012 budget, which forced it to close down in 2013.
A “low-carbon economy” is the last thing the Harper government wants to hear about when its got
the Alberta tar sands going full tilt. And in New Brunswick, the Alward government wants the
west-east pipeline to bring Alberta crude to the Bay of Fundy, and to see the shale gas fracking
boom set up shop in the province.
This is the opposite of “embracing the low-carbon economy.” It’s the opposite of a positive,
progressive response to both the challenge and the opportunities of climate change. The NRT’s
study lays out the road map to a low-carbon economy that helps stabilize the climate, and creates a
renaissance of new businesses, investment, and employment opportunities in renewable energy
technology.
Why aren’t governments listening? Why aren’t they doing their best to minimize the economic
costs of climate disruption? How can we think of them as “leaders” when they are walking
backward into climate chaos and economic ruin?
The organizers of the worldwide People’s Climate March on Sunday hope that a massive uprising
of citizen power can be a turning point, even at this late date, which gives birth to a new politics of
global cooperation on climate change action. “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Sam Arnold and Keith Helmuth are members of the Woodstock Sustainable Energy Group. For
further information on SEG go to www.ttwnb.ca

News from Groups Archives

Upcoming Events


NGO webinar on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
Wed, Dec 13th, 2017


NBEN Holiday Reception
Wed, Dec 20th, 2017
Fredericton

ASCF-CRI Webinar: Jani Helminen and Tommi Linnansaari
Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

Action Alerts

Have your say on Draft Water Strategy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
by Conservation Council of New Brunswick
A Water Strategy for New Brunswick

On October 6, 2017, the department of Environment and Local Government released a draft water strategy for comments. The draft strategy is available on the government website. Comments can be submitted by email to: waterstrategy-strategiedeleau@gnb.ca or by mail to: Department of Environment and Local Government, Policy and Planning Division, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2017.

In order to help groups with their submissions, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in cooperation with watershed groups, has put together key elements of a watershed strategy and a sample letter to send to the Department.

Summary​ ​of​ ​8​ ​Key​ ​Elements​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Strong​ ​Water​ ​Protection​ ​Strategy

New​ ​Brunswick​ ​deserves​ ​a​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy​ ​that:
    1. is​​ ​​science-based;​ ​(involving​ ​baseline​ ​data,​ ​tracking​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​into​ ​consideration cumulative​ ​impacts,​ ​environmental​ ​flows)
    2. sets​ ​water​ ​quality​ ​standards​ ​within​ ​a​ ​working,​ ​legal​ ​mechanism;
    3. conserves​ ​all​ ​water​ ​within​ ​​watersheds​ ​including​ ​surface​ ​waters​ ​(lakes,​ ​streams,​ ​rivers) and​ ​groundwater,​ ​by​ ​developing​ ​good​ ​conservation​ ​plans,​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​practices,​ ​and uses​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​principle​ ​as​ ​a​ ​guiding,​ ​legally​ ​enforceable​ ​tool;
    4. protects​ ​our​ ​marine​ ​coastal​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​law;
    5. has​ ​a​ ​meaningful​ ​form​ ​of​ ​​co-governance​ ​with​ ​First​ ​Nations;
    6. includes​ ​the​ ​development,​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​watershed​ ​protection plans,​ ​developed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​transparent​ ​manner,​ ​involving​ ​government,​ ​businesses,​ ​watershed organizations,​ ​farmers,​ ​municipal​ ​officials,​ ​and​ ​citizens;
    7. is​ ​accountable,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​ongoing​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual​ ​reporting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public​ ​on the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​objectives​ ​outlined​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy;​ ​and,
    8. is​​ ​enforceable​ ​through​ ​a​ ​modern​ ​legal​ ​framework
Sample Letter
 My name is ______, and I am writing to express my support for a strong Water Strategy in New Brunswick.

I live near ______ OR I live in ___________ watershed

Describe your favourite spot to fish/swim/paddle etc.

Share your favourite water memory.

Clean, healthy water is important to me because _____________.

Have you recently experienced a boil water order? Blue-green algae? Extreme weather? Describe what is of concern to you.

I applaud the provincial government for moving forward on its commitment to protecting our water; however I believe the draft strategy does not go far enough to ensure healthy water for my watershed.

We need a water protection strategy that (Insert one or multiple key elements).

I am afraid that if left unattended, my watershed will face ongoing and increasing treats from (pollution, wetland and coastal estuary loss, loss of adequate environmental flow to sustain aquatic life, and increasing climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures.)

Please protect my watershed by implementing a strong water protection strategy with modern legislation that (note key element(s)) to ensure the health of our water and people.

Thank you,
Your name.

For more information, visit the CCNB's website.

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.