• Florenceville-Bristol
  • Here’s the scenario. The NBEN office is on the third floor of the tower in the Peace Centre in Moncton. Due to electrical problems resulting in no electricity (read: no lights or elevators), on Sunday afternoon the Peace Centre announces that they are closed. Meanwhile, on Monday, the NBEN is scheduled for a big meeting on climate change adaptation. Guess the venue? You guessed right - the Peace Centre.

    Lynne to the rescue! Not only does she find a new venue for 30 people on Sunday night, she climbs and re-climbs the dark stairwell of the Peace Centre, flashlight in hand, to haul out the NBEN supplies, flip chart stands, projectors, etc. What a woman!

  • JIM EMBERGER COMMENTARY

    July 24, 2018  Telegraph Journal, Daily Gleaner, Times Transcript

    It was gratifying to see a recent article acknowledging that climate change has already changed our weather, and that weather-related problems will become ever more frequent and severe (“Not... our grandparents’ weather, July 14, A2).

    In the piece, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, David Phillips, laid out in no-nonsense terms that New Brunswickers will be challenged to adapt to our increasingly confused climate.

    Warnings and good advice about adapting are a necessary discussion, but the real conversation we need to be having on climate change is about preventing the growing threats from a changed climate.

    It’s not as if there is some mysterious force wrecking the climate, with nothing we can do besides learning to live with it. Rather, it is undeniable that the climate-change culprit is our burning of fossil fuels, and the way to slow climate damage is to simply burn fewer of them.

    This elementary and obvious policy solution, however, seems impossible for some to publicly acknowledge. Perhaps, that’s because once you acknowledge a fact, then you must act on that knowledge even if it is uncomfortable.

    Mr. Phillips could have painted an even darker picture. Numerous studies show the climate is changing faster than originally thought and will result in an even hotter world. This past month’s global heat wave shattered temperature records worldwide, often by double digits. Fifty-four people died in Quebec as a result of the heat wave.

    It’s a foreshadowing that should focus our minds, much like the record-breaking floods in New Brunswick. Adaptation to such catastrophes will certainly be necessary, but there are limits to adaptation, especially if conditions continually get worse.

    How many times can you raise the height of a dike, seawall or house on stilts? For trees destroyed by tropical storms, ice storms, warmer temperatures and an ever-growing list of invasive species, it’s too late to adapt.

    And when it’s too hot to work (or even exist) outdoors, adaptation has reached its end, as it is already has in some places. The only long-term solution is to keep conditions from getting worse, and that means reducing our use of fossil fuels.

    Recently, I asked Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs how his plans to lift the moratorium on fracking and promote a shale gas industry fit into plans to combat climate change. It was actually a trick question, because there is only one answer: To slow climate change we cannot exploit any new fossil fuels, and we must leave much of what we have already discovered in the ground.

    This reality now drives global economic trends, which cast doubt on the wisdom of any new fossil fuel investments.

    New studies predict that the plunging cost of renewable energy, advances in battery storage, electric vehicles and energy-efficiency measures will reduce the demand for fossil fuels so significantly that $1 trillion dollars of fossil fuel infrastructure will become worthless by 2035.

    If governments act to reduce emissions as well, the losses grow to $4 trillion dollars and the timetable is shortened by years.

    The U.S. and Canada would be the biggest losers in this scenario because they produce the most expensive fossil fuels – fracked oil and gas, and oil sands. New Brunswick is fortunate to not have much existing unconventional fossil fuel infrastructure at risk.

    But the Atlantica Centre for Energy and Encana claim that now is the time to build a shale gas infrastructure, because current supplies from Nova Scotia will soon run out, leaving 8,600 buildings without gas.

    The obvious rebuttal to this argument is to simply buy gas from elsewhere. But an even better answer is that most gas customers can switch to cleaner sources of energy, which they will eventually have to do anyway. The government and NB Power could even assist in their transition, as part of climate, innovation and energy-efficiency programs.

    In any case, New Brunswick has 319,773 private dwellings and 30,164 businesses. Simple math shows that 8,600 gas-using buildings make up only two per cent of the total. This hardly makes a case for undertaking the huge financial, health and environmental risks of building a new shale gas industry.

    Ireland and Scotland also have fracking moratoriums. Ireland just decided to disinvest all government funds from fossil fuel projects, and Scotland is debating whether to even accept fracked gas from other countries.

    Canada, however, remains among the world’s top three contributors to climate change on a per person basis, due to the high greenhouse gas emissions of our unconventional fossil fuel industries.

    Surely, our New Brunswick moratorium makes the moral statement that “we” at least won’t make things worse for our children, the world and ourselves.

    Keeping the moratorium not only protects us from fracking’s many threats to our health and the environment. It also helps slow climate change, and keeps us from making an unnecessary and seriously self-destructive fiscal decision.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NoShaleGasNB.ca).
  • 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.”

    -30-
    Recommended Links: To arrange an interview, contact:Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, 238-3539 (m) | 458-8747 (w) | jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • Select Committee on Climate Change Report Could Set Stage for a Sustainable New Brunswick

    Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions

    October 24, 2016

    The Final Report of the Select Committee on Climate Change is a testament to the value of making our voices heard. Members of the eight-member, all-party committee (http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/select-committee-engages-all-nbers-in-growing-the-green-economy/) listened to New Brunswickers and have delivered a report that could lay the foundation for long-term sustainability and stable jobs while meeting our climate protection goals.

    The Conservation Council is calling on the Government to adopt the Committee’s recommendations and to tell New Brunswickers in its November 2 Speech from the Throne how it intends to convert the recommendations into action.

    The Select Committee’s recommendations closely align with the recommendations the Conservation Council made it in its climate action plan. Our climate action plan proposals (http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/our-programs/climate-and-energy/) included calling on Government to phase coal out of electricity production by 2030 and to move toward a zero emitting system by expanding its commitment to renewable energy.  The Select Committee calls for fossil-fuel free electricity system by 2030 and an increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 60% from 40%. We called for a carbon pricing regime where revenue would be used to finance investments in deep retrofits of buildings, including social housing, and to create incentives to transform transportation so it relies more on clean electricity. The Select Committee recommends the creation of a Climate Fund to do just that.

    With respect to governance, the Select Committee also listened, calling as the Conservation Council did, for introduction of a Climate Change Act to set in law a provincial greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.  The Committee also called on Government to strengthen building codes, planning legislation and guidelines, and procurement rules to require low-polluting choices. With respect to Government operations, the Select Committee calls on Government to establish a cabinet committee on climate change, chaired by the Premier, and to strengthen the capacity of the Climate Change Secretariat to get things done.

    We want to thank the Committee for its hard work and for so respectfully listening to New Brunswickers. Now we wait to hear whether Government respects the Committee’s work as much as the Conservation Council does.

    For more information, contact: Louise Comeau, louise.comeau@conservationcouncil.ca; 506 238 0355
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