• “Courts ‘Recognizing the Obvious on Climate”

    Telegraph Journal, Daily Gleaner, Times Transcript - March 11, 2019

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance was an intervener in the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeals reference case on the federal carbon pricing “backstop.”

    Those opposing carbon pricing portrayed the case as strictly a constitutional matter of jurisdiction, and chose not to discuss the issue of climate change. However, one of the first questions the Chief Justice asked Saskatchewan’s lawyer was: “If (climate change) literally imperils the future of the planet, should it be taken into account?” 

    There was little doubt why the Justice asked this question. The Court had received overwhelming evidence about climate change and its calamitous effects. 

    Our group submitted judicial decisions from courts around the world, based on the principle that increased greenhouse gases emissions from anywhere, no matter how small the amount, add to the global totals that threaten everyone. 

    Clearly the courts are now recognizing the obvious about climate change and the elemental part fossil fuels play in it. 

    Saskatchewan and its co-plaintiffs, realizing that being “deniers” is no longer politically acceptable, proclaim concern about climate change. But their claims ring hollow, as all these provinces have recently elected Progressive Conservative governments whose climate policies belie their words.

    Sadly, New Brunswick is a case in point. Its signature energy policies of a new shale gas industry and a resurrection of the Energy East bitumen pipeline contradict concern about climate change, despite official rhetoric to the contrary.

    The first necessity to slow climate change is to stop creating additional greenhouse-gas emissions from new fossil fuel sources. This is the very thing that carbon pricing is designed to deter.

    How could New Brunswick meet any greenhouse gas limits while starting a shale gas industry that would create huge volumes of emissions from leaking methane and from burning large quantities of diesel fuel and gasoline?

    Reviving Energy East is a fantasy few experts consider viable, not least because its approval would have to consider the climate effects of its upstream and downstream emissions. It didn’t face that requirement last time around, but would now.

    By misreading climate change considerations, and fossil fuel market forces, our government’s policies both suffered setbacks.

    After promising that Corridor Inc. had millions of dollars to immediately invest in local shale gas, the premier appeared to be blindsided when Corridor said it wouldn’t be drilling new wells until 2021, and only if it found a financial partner.

    This should not have been a surprise. The gas market is flooded. Shale gas has never been profitable for lenders and investors, who are now demanding long-delayed paybacks. The easy money spigot is closing, making it tougher to get financial backing.

    A recent Supreme Court decision, finding environmental clean-up obligations have precedence over repaying loans, has made banks warier about fossil fuel investments.

    Mr. Higgs has countered with the position that local shale gas could replace gas from Nova Scotia’s about-to-close Sable Island facility. However, gas suppliers, noting that a new local shale gas solution was years away, announced they would supply the Maritimes with western gas via the pipeline that was the centrepiece of Energy East. 

    With Energy East dead, and with no apparent market justification for local shale gas, Mr. Higgs now gives us a truly convoluted policy rationalization for both.

    He would have us believe a local shale gas industry (years in the making) would convince gas pipeline companies and western producers to give up their Maritime business, and once again go through the near-impossible task of Energy East approval.

    Besides needing dozens of things to go exactly right, the many years required would bring this plan to fruition at the very time when fossil fuels must be reduced by nearly half, and when carbon pricing would be at a maximum. It strains credulity.

    Readers should note these setbacks to the premier’s plans are not due to political opposition, or environmental activism, but rather to business decisions and market forces in the industry. 

    Climate change, by necessity, will be a major market force in reducing fossil fuels, while cheap renewable energy is another. 

    Energy planners and pundits should begin recognizing the obvious, as Alberta just did in contracting three new solar farms to provide 55 per cent of the government’s electricity, at nearly half the cost of natural gas.

    The U.S. Permian Basin, the heart of shale oil, produces so much accompanying gas they pay to get rid of it. Yet, plans for the industry’s electricity needs include a solar farm and the world’s largest battery.

    Despite many similar examples, Mr. Higgs maintains renewable energy is still too expensive, and continues dealing in the false hopes of fossil fuel riches. Both ideas are from a bygone era.

    The climate threat and market forces clearly indicate there is no future in a local shale gas industry. We, too, need to recognize the obvious.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, an organization intervened in the recent court challenge over carbon pricing in Saskatchewan.

  • Interesting news from California!

    Check out this article: "California faces future risk with carbon gold rush"

     
    Mary Ann
  • You may have noticed some curious posts about the federal carbon tax on the Government of New Brunswick’s Facebook Page and website.

    Premier Blaine Higgs’ Progressive Conservative government’s materials on the carbon tax and what it will mean for New Brunswick cherry-picks facts about the issue, misconstrues how we got here, and (until recently, after pushback from New Brunswickers and groups like your Conservation Council), didn’t even tell us how to claim the federal Climate Action Incentive in our 2018 taxes (an incentive which, for the majority of New Brunswick households, analysis shows will more than cover the extra costs associated with a carbon tax).

    Between the Higgs government’s misleading information on the carbon tax, and Andrew Scheers robo-texting campaign, there is a lot of politics dominating what should be a serious ‘all-hands-on-deck’ conversation about tackling climate change — what Canada’s leading health professionals call the ‘greatest public health threat of the 21st century.”

    Climate change is already affecting New Brunswickers. An issue this serious and this urgent should go beyond politics. Protecting the places we love should be something we all get behind and give our best, honest effort.

    But, slowing climate change is complicated business. And it’s made all the more confusing by stubborn and disconnected leaders who would rather deny climate change and abandon their duty to slow it and protect us from its effects.

    How did we get here? How does a carbon tax work? Why is it important? What more should we be doing to protect families from increasingly severe flooding, devastating ice storms, and flipped, unpredictable weather?

    Our Dr. Louise Comeau has prepared science-based, non-partisan fact sheets to help answer these important questions. If you are worried about climate change, but not sure where to get a sincere explanation of what all this is about, these resources can help. Give them a read. Share them with friends and family. And please, reach out to us if you have any questions (506-458-8747; info@conservationcouncil.ca).

    For the love of New Brunswick, we can — and must — prepare for a future with less pollution and safer communities.

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  • CCNB logo HR
    FREDERICTON —
     Lois Corbett, Executive Director, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement about climate change legislation. She is available for comment.

    “I’m pleased the province has followed the Conservation Council’s advice, and that of the Auditor General, by enshrining climate change targets in law. It is not clear, however, that climate fund the bill sets up will go far enough to protect the health and safety of New Brunswick families and communities already suffering from extreme ice storms, hurricanes and flooding caused by climate change.

    There are no new incentives, financial or otherwise, to innovate, reduce pollution or change behaviours. By toeing the status quo, the government has missed its goal of helping N.B. transition to a low-carbon economy and create jobs.

    It is an uninspiring follow-up to last December’s climate change action plan, which was a smart road map for climate action and job creation that was among the best in the country. And I sorely doubt it will meet the bar set by the federal government.

    Instead, we have legislation that largely maintains the status quo and sets us on a race to the bottom when it comes to protecting the health and safety of New Brunswickers and taking advantage of the economic opportunities that come with ambitious climate action.

    There are some good things in the bill: it requires the Minister to report on how the money in the Climate Change Fund is spent every year; it requires the government to report annually on the progress of its Climate Change Action Plan; and it enshrines in law the government’s carbon pollution reduction targets.”

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    Recommended Links: To arrange an interview, contact:Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, 238-3539 (m) | 458-8747 (w) | jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • ClimateLetterWideBanner.sml
    From intense rain, wind and ice storms bringing flooding and power outages, to hotter days and seasons bringing dry summers and ticks, a lot of us are feeling anxious and on edge about climate change in New Brunswick.

    We need strong leadership from our provincial government to do everything it can to protect our families’ health and communities’ safety from the effects of climate change and extreme weather we’re already seeing today.

    This year, make your Earth Day count a little extra by writing Premier Blaine Higgs about your concerns and your call for serious action on climate change.

    We’ve made it easy for you to speak out. Use our letter-writing tool below to let the Premier know where you stand and what you want.Our pre-written letter includes recommendations for smart climate solutions. We strongly encourage you to add to this letter with your own personal story of how climate change makes you feel and how it has affected you and your family.

    Letter button

  • There's a great new internet resource that anyone working on climate change issues will find handy.  This look at the global world gives a good idea of exactly what is going on. The intro video is one and a half minutes long and fascinating to watch. 

    Check it out by clicking here!

     

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