• Background Materials on N.B.'s carbon pricing system

    CCNB logo HRAttention News Editors: Here is some background that may be helpful in reporting on Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle’s comments today about a carbon-pricing system for New Brunswick:
    • To date, Canadian jurisdictions that have announced or implemented a system for pricing carbon include Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and, now, New Brunswick.
    • In June 2017, New Brunswick’s Auditor General delivered a substantive review of the province’s climate change plan, including recommendations to turn policy intentions into on-the-ground work to protect homes and communities from what she called “one of the greatest challenges for communities, governments and corporations in the coming decades.” Among other things, the review called for an aggressive timeline and full details on how the government plans to execute the 118 actions laid out in its Climate Change Action Plan.
    • New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan, released in December 2016, contained all the elements for effective climate action in N.B., including commitments to Premier-led governance, target-driven policies, and sources of funding to support programs for low-income families, homeowners, and industry. It also included several measures called for by the Legislative Select Committee on Climate Change, including legislating carbon pollution reduction targets and energy-efficiency improvement targets, and phasing out coal from electricity production and phasing in more renewable energy like solar, wind, biomass and hydro.
    • One month after the climate change plan was released, New Brunswickers experienced a sobering example of climate change impacts at home with the January 2017 ice storm that led to two people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning and nearly 300,000 homes and businesses left without power, some for up to 13 days. NB Power estimates the damages to its infrastructure at $30-million, making it the most expensive restoration in the utility's history.
    • New Brunswickers are keenly aware that climate change is already happening in their communities in the forms of more extreme ice storms, hurricanes and flooding events. The Ice Storm Review 2017, released in August 2017, provided a snapshot of climate change-related extreme weather events in New Brunswick, including but not limited to:
      • Hurricane Arthur in July 2014, which brought torrential rains and 100-km/hour winds that caused road closures and washouts and significant infrastructure damages across the province. The total damages were estimated at $12.5 million.
      • A Nor-easter in December 2014 which impacted 56 roads with flooding or washouts across several regions, with impacts primarily concentrated in the Moncton region. Damages totalled $10.3 million.
      • Extreme flooding and storm surges in December 2010 which resulted in $13.8 million in damages from flooding in Charlotte and York Counties, and $3 million in damages associated with storm surges affecting the east and northeast coasts of the province.

    Jon MacNeill
    Communications DirectorConservation Council of New Brunswick/
    Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick
    458-8747 | 238-3539
  • Climate Change Education Materials - Book a PD Session for Your Teachers

    Free Videos and Lesson Plans About Climate Change in Atlantic Canada!

    (For use in middle and high school classrooms in New Brunswick.)

    Students learn about climate change from experts and locals with decades of first-hand experience (such as beekeepers, farmers, snowplow drivers, fishers, gardeners, and First Nations elders). 

    View the classroom materials here: http://www.fundy-biosphere.ca/en/projects-and-initiatives/education.html

    Schools can request a free presentation and training session for their teachers by Fundy Biosphere staff on how to use the education materials in their classrooms.

    Contact Megan de Graaf by email at info@fundy-biosphere.ca.

    Book your training session before March 31st 2016!

  • “Courts ‘Recognizing the Obvious on Climate”

    “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.

  • Call for Nominations: Atlantic Canada Chapter Executive Committee

    CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

    Join the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation - Atlantic Canada Chapter (SCCF-ACC)

    We are gathering people interested in serving on the Executive Committee of the Chapter (Executive Committee, Ex Com for short). These are the people who will lead our chapter and make decisions on everything from what campaigns we take on in our region to building capacity by growing our member and supporter base to where to hold our annual meeting. We need your help in finding the right people to lead our chapter.

    The Atlantic Canada Chapter has members in all four Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), the territories of Innus (Montagnais), Nunatsiavut, NunatuKavut, Wabanaki (Dawnland Confederacy), and Wolastokuk (Maliseet).

    Its activities include nature immersion and forest school programming (Wild Child), wildlife protection and collision prevention (Watch for Wildlife), stopping offshore oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and protecting marine life, reducing the impacts of mines and quarries on the environment and communities, and engaging in energy policy and solutions with the aim of addressing climate change.

    All members are invited to make a nomination of any member (including yourself) to be a candidate for positions on the Executive Committee of the SCCF-ACC. Nominations will be used by the nominations committee to put together a slate of candidates for this year.

    The term of office for these positions will be two years, and is limited to three consecutive two-year terms (i.e. 6 years). On a practical level, being an Ex Com member means taking part in at least 10 meetings per year. These are usually about once per month (most by conference call) to organize and run the activities of the SCC-ACC, including the Annual General Gathering.

    This may also involve taking on a position as an officer (Treasurer, Secretary) and/or chair of a committee, and there will be continuous opportunity to be active in various campaigns and projects.

    As described in our bylaws and Chapter Policy, the Executive Committee comprises the volunteer leadership of its Chapter, and acts as the decision-making body for the Chapters, and in accordance with overall policies of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and cooperation with its Board of Directors and National Staff.

    Specifically, as outlined on our bylaws, the Ex Com is responsible for:

    a) compliance with the by-laws and policies of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation;

    b) engaging in any such activities within the territorial area which further the interests or objects of the Corporation, including the operation conservation or environmental programs, and media outreach;

    c) developing a budget and raising funds for its own operations, as needed, and contributing to annual fundraising efforts; and

    d) coordinating its activities through Staff, members and volunteers.

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 is the deadline for receipt of names for candidates to be considered by the Nominations Committee.

    Please send nominations to atlanticcanadachapter@sierraclub.ca or call Tony Reddin, co-chair of the Atlantic Ex Comm at 1-902-675-4093.
  • Citizen-Sourced Climate Change Data - The Whitney Journals

    .
  • Climate emergency: health and cost

    Climate emergency: health and cost 

    Sam Arnold

    Climate change is now widely recognized as a planetary emergency that is having both health impacts and economic costs caused by extreme weather events.

    These events, linked to global warming, now include prolonged droughts, increased forest fires, massive rainfalls, floods, polar ice melting, sea level rise, and severe storms around the world. This is an emergency that if not checked, is on track to severely impact human health and economic life. The effects of this emergency are already being felt in New Brunswick.

    Climatologists and the vast majority of unbiased climate scientists, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have essentially proven that the mining and burning of fossil fuels has produced a sharp spike in global warming over the past 200 years. They have made it amply clear that if fossil fuel use remains at current levels, within a dozen years it will almost certainly be too late for humans to limit global warming, and the climate emergency will become uncontrollable.

    Climate change resulting from human produced global warming is by far the most serious threat facing the future of humanity with the global temperature on track to reach 4 to 5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. It is no surprise that a growing number of municipalities are declaring climate emergencies, while the World Health Organization has called the climate crisis the greatest threat to public health. 

    This situation is very hard to accept or ignore. It means that fossil fuel extraction and use must now be sharply curtailed if the human species is to have any possibility of passing a liveable environment on to the next generation and to the generations to come.

    But in the face of these warnings and this evidence of the climate emergency, leading news stories and editorials in these newspapers continue to advocate for growing the economy with oil and gas extraction and with pipelines to bring these carbon producing fuels to market. The Conservative premiers of New Brunswick and Alberta continue to talk about “responsible resource development” for bitumen oil and shale gas. 

    How can this be “responsible” when long-term damage to public health and to economic life will be the result of continuing to burn fossil fuels? Resource development that increases global warming and makes the climate emergency worse is not responsible. It is negligent. It is even negligent about the well-being of the economy. 

    It is not responsible to insist that we must burn fossil fuels in order to have a healthy economy when the climate emergency created by burning fossil fuels is increasingly damaging the economy. Even major business corporations are now recognizing the reality of this situation, including some energy companies.

    Moreover, new research from Global Energy Monitor, an organization that tracks fossil fuel development, questions the long-term viability of even the natural gas industry. It cautions that many natural gas developments could become “stranded assets”. Investment in fossil fuels, which are creating the climate emergency, will become less and less attractive. Investment in clean energy alternatives will become increasingly attractive as costs continue to decrease and benefits continue to increase.

    New Brunswick, Canada, and the entire world must now pull out all the stops to substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions while making the switch to a low carbon economy with clean, renewable energy. The comparison has often been made that we need to mobilize for this climate emergency with the same speed and determination that was mobilized for World War II. 

    Only a total team effort by all levels of government, business, industry, and every citizen in all parts of the world can we make the changes necessary to reverse the climate emergency and avert a public health and an economic disaster. 

    The future looks grim unless all government subsidies to the fossil fuel industries end and are redirected to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly advance the conversion to a clean energy economy. The sooner actions of this sort are taken, the lower will be the climate emergency costs and the better the outcome for the health of New Brunswickers and the economy of the province.

    For an eye-opening report that puts New Brunswick in the centre of this issue, see Healthy Climate, Healthy New Brunswickersby Dr. Louise Comeau and Daniel Nunes. 

    This comprehensive report summarizes existing research that explains how climate change can affect physical and mental health in New Brunswick. It includes temperature and precipitation projections for 16 NB municipalities. It reviews the health profiles of these same communities and makes recommendations for the next thirty years. This important report can be downloaded from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) website.

    Sam Arnold is a member of the Sustainable Energy Group in Carleton County.

  • Climate Makes it to the Front of the Line

    Happy day! Finally it looks like Canada and New Brunswick are taking climate change seriously. Really seriously. And they are ready to listen! Members of Parliament are holding town hall meetings to hear from their constituents about climate change. The provincial government has launched a Select Committee on Climate Change which will be hearing from expert witnesses and holding meetings around the province to hear from ordinary people. And the federal-provincial working groups have an online portal to garner opinions from one and all.

    So, what’s the hold up? Why aren’t environmentalists falling all over themselves on this? Why hasn’t someone launched a big public campaign? It’s almost like it is too big! It seems like even long-time environmental activists feel like they don’t know enough. After all, climate change is not most people’s expertise. That being said, everyone knows its potential impacts on the area that they do work on – water, forests, air, endangered species, health.

    Climate change is the backdrop issue lurking in every environmentalist’s mind. Whatever issue is your passion climate change plays a role. If you work to improve the environment by direct action such as restoring a river or protecting precious habitat, that good work could fall from the climate wrecking ball. If advocating for protecting human health from chemical exposure or changing forestry practices is your thing, climate change scenarios make the doom and gloom situations much gloomier. Plus, if you start to think about your grandchildren, it is hard to maintain any sense of optimism whatsoever.

    Right now we are all invited to raise our voices. Let’s raise them together and show that dealing with climate change is as important as it gets!

      For more information…
  • Commentary: What we don't know can hurt us

    Jim Emberger,Spokesperson
    New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

    [A slightly edited version of this appeared in “The Telegraph-Journal”and ”The Daily Gleaner” on May 17, 2019, under the the title ‘Public not well-informed on climate change’.]

    I recently met a crew from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who were installing a new structure to count salmon smolt on the Tay River. In recent years the count has been disappointingly small, so new and better information is needed.

    It’s always heartening to see dedicated people working to save our environment, but this morning I was left feeling that their task was like trying to hold back the tide.

    I had just read the United Nations report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. It concluded that human activities have pushed one million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.

    The reporting agency’s chair stated, "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide."

    Seems like the kind of consequential information everyone needs to know. But mainstream media barely covered it. Since most people still get their news from mainstream media, the citizens, politicians, pundits and publishers who will shape our future will do so in ignorance of the real world.

    We just witnessed a similar failure of the press in the debate over carbon pricing, which took place with hardly any discussion of the essential context of the climate crisis.

    Carbon pricing began simultaneously with the release of a momentous scientific report showing that Canada is warming at two or three times the rate as the rest of the world. One of the consequences is increased precipitation.

    Days later another study reported that the arctic, as we have known it, is gone. High temperatures, that crush records by double digits, have altered almost every part of the arctic ecosystem, pushing it into a new state of existence.

    This will seriously impact global weather patterns, especially in our Northern hemisphere. One researcher warned, “What happens in the arctic does not stay in the arctic.”

    Other studies note that feedback loops, like melting permafrost (twelve times faster than thought), are increasing the speed and intensity of warming, and that the latest climate models show that former ‘worst case’ scenarios may, in fact, prove to be the norm.

    These reports each contained enough important news on causes, effects, and necessary actions to provide daily news stories for weeks.

    Actual media coverage lasted one or two days for the Canadian story, while the other stories received essentially no coverage.

    These studies were all released as eastern Canada was enduring the second ‘once-in-a-generation’ flood in two years. A responsible media could have informed the public of the connection between these stories and events.

    Instead, week after week, media climate news consisted solely of variations of the PC party’s political narrative, that a modest price on carbon pollution was somehow an assault on our freedom.

    This ‘debate’, consisting almost entirely of conjecture, crowded out the factual context of the climate crisis. One would think that carbon pricing, rather than a climate crisis, was threatening our world.

    Another missing story was that new audits of the emission targets of the Paris climate treaty reaffirmed that “any production from new oil and gas fields, beyond those already in production or development,” will take us beyond safe limits.

    This means that exploiting new tarsands or shale gas will render our other climate plans meaningless.

    Perhaps, not knowing this explains how Premier Higgs, pundits, publishers, and economists can express concerns for flood victims in one breath, while in the next breath promote new fossil fuel projects whose development will help to ensure a growing supply of future flood victims.

    If they had good climate information, politicians might be aware that raising roads won’t help us, unless we do something to keep future floodwaters from rising even higher.

    The media’s failure to provide context has consequences.

    The effort necessary to slow climate change is often compared to fighting World War II. It will require universal consensus that recognizes the vastness of the problem, the substantial work required, and that some sacrifices may be needed, but also that the task is necessary, we can do it, and that any hardships are justified by guaranteeing a liveable future for ourselves and our children.

    The climate crisis is the definitive ‘we are all in this together’ issue.

    The press has made getting this necessary consensus much harder. The outrage fostered by its focus on the politics of carbon pricing, was not balanced by sober reasoning about limiting fossil fuels.

    Angry people, whipped into a divisive frenzy by a one-sided argument, are not easily drawn back together.

    In one of the least reported parts of the Appeals Court carbon pricing decision, the five justices unanimously agreed that, “climate change has emerged as a major threat, not just to Canada, but to the planet itself.”

    We all need to be privy to the same proof that convinced the Court of that conclusion. Providing it should be the daily job of the press.

    Otherwise, the press simply becomes the enabler of ignorance. And as Mother Nature keeps reminding us, “what we don’t know can hurt us.”

  • Conservation Council of New Brunswick releases policy options to spur climate change conversation

    Press Release

    A Bold, Made-in-New Brunswick Plan to Address Climate Change

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick releases policy options to spur climate change conversation

    July 13, 2016

    Fredericton, N.B. –A new report from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, released today, offers provincial politicians, environmental policy makers, and citizens a bold vision for New Brunswick. The three-part plan covers electricity, provincial investments, and government policies required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping bills low and creating jobs for New Brunswickers.

    New Brunswick’s greenhouse gas emissions mostly come from using fossil fuel energy: coal, oil and natural gas to make electricity to heat and cool our homes, and power our appliances and industry, as well as gasoline and diesel to run our vehicles and trucks to move people and goods.

    The Conservation Council’s“Climate Action Plan for NewBrunswick”proposes to reduce these emissions through investments to retrofit our buildings, starting with social and low-income housing; expanding efforts to install renewable energy like solar and wind; and accelerating installation of the Energy Internet (Smart Grid telecommunications) to manage a more distributed electricity load. These investments would help NB Power phase coal out of electricity production over the next 15 years. The Conservation Council’s plan also proposes creating incentives to help New Brunswickers buy electric and energy efficient vehicles and trucks as Ontario and Quebec have done, and modernizing industry and manufacturing to cut waste and pollution.

    Blue-Green Canada, an alliance of labour and environmental groups calculates that for every $1 million invested in the fossil fuel sector two jobs are created, while 15 jobs are created for the same amount in the clean energy sector. Using those figures, New Brunswick could create up to 7,500 jobs a year by investing its climate action dollars in clean energy and energy efficiency retrofits which, in turn, would keep energy bills low for New Brunswickers.

    QUOTES:

    “There is strong scientific consensus that the climate is becoming unbalanced mostly because of human activity (95% - 100% certainty).” – Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Policy.

    “Post-tropical storm Arthur opened New Brunswickers’ eyes to the reality of climate change. We now know and accept that climate change is a reality. The Conservation Council wants to start a serious conversation about adapting to, and mitigating, the damage to our communities as a result of a rapidly changing climate.” – Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Policy.

    “We need a comprehensive climate action plan that helps New Brunswick do its fair share so others will too. We need to work together because we can’t protect the people and communities we care about from extreme changes to the climate without partnering to drastically cut greenhouse gas pollution.” - Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Policy.

    “New Brunswick needs to implement policies and programs that are fair and cut waste by making polluters use clean energy and practice more sustainable agriculture and forestry.” – Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Policy.

    “If we act together, we can limit the risks to our health and communities from a more extreme climate.” – Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Policy.

    Key Facts:

    • New Brunswick is the second most electricity-dependent economy in Canada behind Québec. As a regional energy hub, New Brunswick is well positioned to become a clean energy leader by investing heavily in NB Power’s Smart Grid technology to give the electricity system the capacity it needs to significantly increase the supply of renewable energy, phase out coal-fired generating stations, and provide load balancing services to Nova Scotia, PEI, and New England.

    • Global investments in clean energy are increasing, spurring increased employment in the sector while the costs of clean energy have decreased significantly. Canada hasn’t kept pace, investing only $4 billion CND in 2015 while global investments in clean energy reached $325 billion USD, according to Clean Energy Canada’s Tracking the Energy Revolution 2016 report.

    • In 2015, the Atlantic Premiers and New England Governors agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 35% to 45% below 1990 levels by 2030. New Brunswick’s contribution to meeting that goal is to eliminate 6.5 million tonnes from our carbon budget. Almost 40% of those reductions can be achieved by phasing out coal to generate electricity, as Ontario has already done and Alberta will do by 2030.

    The Conservation Council of New Brunswick (conservationcouncil.ca) has been at the forefront of environmental protection in New Brunswick since 1969.We are a non-profit organization that creates awareness of environmental problems and advances practical solutions through research, education and interventions.


    Contact: Mike Girard

    Office: 506-458-8747

    E-mail: mike.girard@conservationcouncil.ca
  • Conservation Council reacts to Auditor General’s report on climate action in N.B.

    Tuesday, 20 June, 2017

    Conservation Council reacts to Auditor General’s report on climate action in N.B.

    The Auditor General of New Brunswick, Kim MacPherson, has delivered a substantive review of the province’s climate change plan and what is needed to turn policy intentions into on-the-ground work to protect homes and communities from what she says “may be one of the greatest challenges for communities, governments and corporations in the coming decades.”

    “New Brunswick’s Auditor General’s report should put wind in the sails of the government’s plans to reduce carbon pollution and make our communities healthy and strong in the face of climate change,” says Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

    “She points out, and rightly so, that while the 2016 Climate Change Action Plan lays out a series of 118 actions, we lack an aggressive time table or details on implementation.

    She recommends that the government introduce legislation to set its pollution targets into law, similar to that found in British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

    We couldn't agree more and might go even a bit further — let’s see the legislation introduced the next time the Legislative Assembly meets, and let’s hope all parties vote for its speedy adoption.

    “If we want to catch this boat, the time for the government and NB Power to move is now. Not in 2018. Not ten years from now," says Corbett.
     -30-

    The Conservation Council of New Brunswick
    Established in 1969, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick has remained the province’s leading public advocate for environmental protection. A member of the UN’s Global 500 Roll of Honour, we work to find practical solutions to help families and citizens, educators, governments and businesses protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the precious marine ecosystem and the land, including the forest, that support us.

    Recommended links

    To arrange an interview, contact:
    Jon MacNeill, Communications Director | 458-8747 | jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • Ditching fossil fuels is like a ‘monkey trap’

    Ditching fossil fuels is like a ‘monkey trap’

    The Daily Gleaner, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    A recent Brunswick News Commentary wondered how bad must things get before the concept of ‘climate emergency’ gets traction.

    One depressing answer may be found in the title of a widely circulated NYTimes editorial: “Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide.”

    The continuing unimaginable conflagration of Australian bushfires has already burned an area much larger than New Brunswick, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed over a billion animals.

    Decades will pass before knowing how many human lives will be lost or shortened by exposure to the world’s worst air pollution. An air quality index (AQI) above 200 is defined as hazardous. The AQI in Canberra has hit 4,650.

    Climate scientists have long predicted such events, as the conditions that created them are well-studied climate topics.

    While droughts and heat waves are normal, climate warming increases the odds of their occurrence, their duration, and their intensity. A continually warming Australia experienced its hottest and driest year in 2019. Average temperatures in the 40’s have baked the entire continent for weeks. Altered weather patterns push normal rains out to the ocean.

    Yet, despite scientists’ warnings, years of increasingly destructive weather, and the current catastrophe, Australia plans to expand its world-leading exports of coal and liquid natural gas (LNG).

    Perhaps, the country does have a psychotic death wish. Maybe it’s contagious.

    In the USA, 100, 500 and 1000-year floods are meaningless, as they occur regularly. While the southwest faces water shortages, the central breadbasket remained flooded for months. California’s fire season is now year-round. Coasts are threatened by tropical depressions that turn into monster hurricanes within a day.

    America’s response? Promote coal and frack as much gas and oil as possible.

    Canada watches record fires burn BC, Ft. McMurray, and boreal forests. Extreme temperatures and precipitation and record flooding are the norm. Canada is warming at twice the global rate, and three times as fast in our north, where melting ice and permafrost lead to abandoned settlements and climate refugees.

    Yet, several provinces stake their futures on huge new tarsands and LNG projects. The federal government, while shouting climate emergency warnings, inexplicably abets these expansions.

    Maybe a mass psychosis has seized these countries. But, perhaps, there is a better explanation - the classic ’monkey trap’.

    A monkey trap is an immovable trap, with a hole just large enough for a monkey's open hand. It is baited with a banana. A monkey grabs the banana, but the hole is not large enough to allow the monkey to withdraw its clenched fist (now clutching a banana).

    Because the monkey can’t conceive of letting the banana go, it remains trapped, awaiting its fate.

    It is the perfect analogy for humanity’s current situation. We cannot escape our trap (climate emergency), because we can’t conceive of giving up the banana (fossil fuels), even though doing so is our only means of escape.

    There is absolutely no doubt about the climate trap. All the recent climate disasters resulted from less than 1.5-degrees warming - considered the ‘safe’ limit.

    Our current fossil fuel usage puts us on track for 3 to 5 degree warming. At 3 degrees, Australian-like catastrophes become normal.

    2019 ended the hottest decade on both land and in the ocean. No one born after 1985 has experienced a month cooler than the 20th century average.

    Coal, and the energy intensive processes of fracking, LNG and tarsands produce more greenhouse gases than conventional oil and gas, and make the USA, Australia and Canada the word’s largest per capita contributors to climate change.

    Despite knowing this, they still can’t conceive of letting them go.

    Supposedly, a monkey isn’t intelligent enough to understand how its trap works. Is it conceivable that we, likewise, lack the intellect or imagination to envision a life without fossil fuels?

    Or is it something more distinctly human? Are we so tied to greed, convenient habits, or misbegotten ideology that we cannot act to save ourselves?

    We have a simple choice. Let go of the banana, or remain trapped. Nothing else will save us.

    New Brunswick’s record floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, ice storms, and windstorms are becoming the norm. Each costs millions and affects our health, lives and livelihoods.

    Our government has finally begun taking small steps to address the climate crisis. Hydro-electricity from Quebec to replace coal-fired Belledune is a good idea, as is regional cooperation. The Ministers of Environment and Energy tout their climate awareness in plans to use carbon-pricing revenue for climate action programs.

    Yet, immediately upon hearing that a complicated investment deal might restart a local shale gas industry - an industry that supercharges climate warming - the Minister of Energy boasted how his Department had made it possible.

    Congratulations! Have a banana! They’re irresistible.

    The fossil fuels we have all profited from now threaten our existence. If you believe that we can gradually let them go, because we are superior to monkeys, let your leaders know. Act for our children instead of quietly awaiting fate.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

  • Édition spéciale du NB Naturalist disponible!

    Édition spéciale du NB Naturalist bientôt disponible!


    Nous sommes heureux de vous informer que nous publions un numéro spécial de notre magazine, le NB Naturalist, sur la Nature, la Biodiversité et les Changements Climatiques. Le magazine est gratuit et prêt à être envoyé par la poste d'ici la fin du mois de novembre.  Nous aimerions le rendre disponible dans toute la province, veuillez nous faire savoir si vous êtes intéressés à contribuer à la distribution dans votre région. L'édition est entièrement traduite. Veuillez remplir le formulaire ici : https://goo.gl/forms/IdGVeuUJQOwBqj8o2.Si vous avez des questions, n'hésitez pas à nous contacter: 506-459-4209

     

     

     

    Vol 44 No 3 Nov 2017 P1 3

     

  • Federal-provincial climate change audit

    While the first ministers may take some time to agree on a national climate plan, there is some federal-provincial collaboration already in the works. Canada's federal and provincial auditors general are joining forces to come up with the first comprehensive national audit of climate change actions. Julie Gelfand, federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, is heading up this national initiative that will be completed in 2017.  

    Ms. Gelfand was appointed as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in March 2014. She previously served as President of Nature Canada, and has worked in the mining sector.  

    Read more here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-provincial-auditors-combine-forces-1.3453346

  • Great Meeting with NBEN Member Groups & Minister Kenny!

    The NBEN organized a meeting yesterday with 15 environmental groups and the Minister of Environment and Local Government and his senior staff. It was a great meeting during which we explored ways to work more closely together on water, climate change, regional planning, and other issues. Thank you to everyone who attended!

    mtg Minister Kenny 2016 Mar 2
    Photo: Ann Pohl
  • Hayes Farm - Community Led; Community Supported!

    46460859 1614913335482280 8173504986865467392 n

    OUR 2019 CROWDFUND CAMPAIGN IS NOW LIVE!

    As we get ready for our 2nd season on the farm and the new-and-improved Regenerative Farming Certificate program, we need YOUR help to continue doing this work.

    We need your help to create a new generation of community-led farms, one person at a time. Help us train people to feed their communities as part of a new food and climate paradigm.

    As a community-based farm, we are changing our focus from maximizing profit to maximizing production for greater community impact. With reduced revenue and public funding in 2019, we are asking for the crowd’s continued help in funding our current shortfall, so that this next cohort of farm learners (15 participants for the 2019 season!!) can get a meaningful education in feeding our (their) communities without taking on an undue burden.

    Please give generously, or share the campaign widely, whatever gift you may be able to offer. No donation is too small and every effort is deeply appreciated.

    We are here for community, and we need you to be here for us!

    Hayes Farm - A project of NB Community Harvest Gardens Inc.

  • Here’s what you need to know about the carbon tax in N.B.

    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.

    CarbonTaxFactSheet1.1

    CarbonTaxFactSheet1.2

    CarbonTaxFactSheet2.1CarbonTacFactSheet2.2

    CarbonTaxFactSheet3.1

    CarbonTaxFactSheet3.2
  • How to build an economy for the 99%

    Check out our new blog from CECNB

    We are not going back to the broken economic model we had. We will not stand by helplessly as our small businesses struggle to stay alive. We have the solutions, we know they work, and they won't cost us one more cent than we spend right now..
  • Intervener NBASGA comments on Supreme Court Carbon Pricing Case

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NBASGA Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Carbon Pricing, with Conditions

    Fredericton, (March 25, 2021) – Today the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of the federal government to employ a carbon pricing mechanism across the entire nation. The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) intervened on the side of the federal government, and we applaud this 6 to 3 decision, which allows Canada to address the global climate emergency in a uniform manner.

    The court reaffirmed for good that “Global climate change is real, and it is clear that human activities are the primary cause.” NBASGA Spokesperson, Jim Emberger, said that, “while noting that all levels of government have parts to play in solving a global climate crisis, the court recognized that many necessary actions can only be achieved through national and international actions.”

    “We are disappointed that the court decided the case without addressing our argument that the government’s carbon pricing program was justified by its responsibility to guarantee life, liberty and the security of the person under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, we are gratified that they point out that Canada’s North and Indigenous people endure inordinate climate change suffering.”

    Emberger added, ”This is a powerful tool, which we hope governments employ wisely. Yet, it is only one tool. If governments use other financial tools to subsidize and increase the supply of fossil fuels, it will negate the reductions in demand that it achieves through carbon pricing.”

    The federal government used taxpayer money to buy the Transmountain Pipeline, increasing the expansion of the tarsands. It is now considering the financing of the Goldboro, Nova Scotia LNG export project with up to a billion dollars. This will build a network of hundreds of new gas wells, fracking, pipelines and an LNG export plant, and stretch from Alberta through Quebec to Atlantic Canada.

    The increased methane and CO2 emissions resulting from these projects alone will prevent provinces and the nation from hitting their already inadequate greenhouse gas emission targets, directly offsetting decreased emissions from carbon pricing.

    The contradictions between our economic policies and scientific fact are painfully obvious. Do governments really grasp the meaning of ‘existential threat,’ as the courts describe the climate crisis, and do governments recognize the scientific fact that producing any additional fossil fuels will undo any other climate progress?

    Emberger said, “We hope that they do. It would be disappointing to celebrate with the government on this historic climate victory, only to have to oppose them in other courtrooms. Holding up one’s hand and swearing to take serious climate action, while crossing one’s fingers and funnelling money to fossil fuel interests behind one’s back, will bring us to ruin. The laws of physics don’t care about such political games and strategies. Like the Supreme Court, they don’t vote, but they do have the final say.”

  • Keep fracking ban to slow climate change

    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).
  • L’Alliance anti-gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick (AAGNB) intervient devant la Cour d’appel de la Saskatchewan dans le renvoi sur la tarification du carbone

    Pour diffusion immédiate : le 6 février 2019

    FREDERICTON — L’Alliance anti-gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick (AAGSNB) a annoncé aujourd’hui qu’elle avait obtenu le statut d’intervenant devant la Cour d’appel de la Saskatchewan dans le renvoi portant sur la contestation de la tarification du carbone imposée par le gouvernement fédéral. L’Alliance appuiera le gouvernement fédéral et s’opposera à la position du gouvernement du N.-B.

    « Les changements climatiques sont d’ores et déjà manifestes et la risposte doit être immédiate, juste et efficace » déclare le représentant de l’Alliance, Jim Emberger. Les inondations en hiver et en été, les vagues de tempête causées par la montée du niveau de la mer et les tempêtes intenses, les sécheresses, les vagues de chaleur et autres changements climatiques perturbent déjà la vie, les moyens de subsistance et le bien-être des Néo-Brunswickois et ils vont s’aggraver.

    Ces phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes mettent les populations à risque et font des changements climatiques une question de santé publique. C’est pourquoi en 2018 les médecins canadiens qui participaient à l’évaluation Lancet sur les changements climatiques et la santé ont incité les gouvernements à «utiliser les outils de tarification du carbone le plus rapidement et le plus largement possible, en augmentant progressivement les cibles de façon prévisible.» (1)

    « Aucun gouvernement ne peut se soustraire à sa responsabilité de diminuer la pollution par le carbone et de protéger sa population contre les effets dévastateurs des changements climatiques » affirme Jim Emberger. L’intention du gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick de ressusciter l’exploitation du gaz de schiste et de soutenir la construction d’oléoducs démontre bien qu’il ne comprend pas l’urgence et les menaces majeures que les changements climatiques font peser sur nos communautés. Qui plus est, il n’a pas élaboré son propre programme de tarification du carbone afin de se conformer aux normes minimales canadiennes.

    Le gouvernement fédéral possède le pouvoir constitutionnel de mettre en œuvre les ententes internationales et d’imposer aux provinces les normes minimales nécessaires au respect de ces ententes. De plus, l’article 7 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés garantit le « droit à la vie, à la liberté et à la sécurité de la personne ». Par conséquent, l’Alliance anti-gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick maintient que le gouvernement fédéral a le pouvoir, le devoir et l’obligation d’imposer de telles normes minimales.

    Sans égard à l’endroit où elle est faite, la combustion du pétrole, du charbon et du gaz a des effets nocifs sur notre santé et elle déstabilise le climat. Les émissions polluantes ne respectent pas les frontières politiques dressées sur une carte. Toutes les provinces doivent appliquer le principe du pollueur-payeur également. C’est l’approche la plus juste.

    Le renvoi de la Saskatchewan sera entendu par la Cour d’appel de la Saskatchewan les 13 et 14 février 2019.

    - 30 –

    Voir le résumé des arguments présentés dans le mémoire de l’AAGSNB (Francais) :http://www.noshalegasnb.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Carbon-pricing-summary-FR.pdf

    Pour plus amples renseignements ou pour organiser une entrevue :
    Jim Emberger (English) 367-2658, 440-4255 (cell), shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com
    Denise Melanson (Francais) 523-9467, 858-0321 (cell), inrexton2013@yahoo.ca

    (1) https://www.newswire.ca/fr/news-releases/selon-le--compte-a-rebours--du-lancet-il-est-temps-de-reduire-davantage-les-emissions-sinon-des-vies-humaines-et-la-survie-des-systemes-de-sante-seront-menacees-701488542.html
  • Leading environmental organizations release Canada-wide report on climate progress in advance of environment ministers meeting

    ccnb-logo-hr
    September 29, 2016

    PRESS RELEASE

    Fredericton, N.B. – A national assessment by the Pembina Institute of provincial progress on climate action commitments finds New Brunswick at the back of the pack on climate action.The Race to the Front: Tracking Pan-Canadian Climate Progress and Where We Go from Here report, released in collaboration with the Conservation Council, sets the context for an all-important meeting of Environment Ministers Monday, October 3 in Montreal.

    The meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) is expected to approve options developed by four federal-provincial working groups to meet commitments made in Paris at the United Nations Climate Conference in December 2015. CCME recommendations will go to Premiers and the Prime Minister to support final negotiations leading to a meeting of First Ministers (FMM) in November. The FMM is expected to finalize a framework where each province would be required to meet certain basic climate action requirements such as putting in place carbon pricing regime meeting similar price and coverage benchmarks across Canada. Provinces failing to do so by a certain date would have a carbon charge imposed by the federal government (the backstop). The federal Government is also expected to accelerate regulations to phase coal out of electricity production. The Pembina Institute report assesses where provinces currently are with respect to climate action and highlights additional actions required by provinces and the federal Government.

    The Conservation Council has published a provincial climate action plan detailing recommendations for doing our fair share to cut carbon pollution. Proposed actions could improve energy efficiency and increase the supply of renewable energy in buildings, industry and transportation, and create jobs at home.

    “New Brunswick shows weak progress on climate action, but we believe the province can make a positive contribution to Canada’s pollution reduction goals. To reduce emissions in the near term, New Brunswick must implement an economy-wide carbon price with funds raised invested in greenhouse gas reductions, and it needs to agree to phase coal out of electricity production no later than 2030,” says Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions.

    The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is committed to doing its part to help New Brunswick move to a 100% renewable energy future by creating awareness and advancing practical solutions through research, education and policy development.As a local environmental organization, CCNB supports the transition to clean energy in New Brunswick and what’s being done to reach renewable goals.

    For more information, contact: Dr. Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions, CCNB, Tel. (506)238-0355

    Download the Pembina Report here:

  • Legislation misses mark on protecting families and communities from worst of climate change impacts in N.B.

    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
  • LNG export terminal would carry great risks

    LNG export terminal would carry great risks | TJ.news

    Jim Emberger|Commentary  August 13,2022

    Editor's Note: As part of our In-Depth series, we invited a proponent and an opponent of the LNG export terminal in Saint John to make their case. Below is Jim Emberger's argument against the project.

    The economic and climate costs of developing an LNG export facility in Saint John are real and significant. Benefits, if any, will come at great risk.

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently stated, “Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”

    He was summing up the warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency, and climate scientists everywhere. Developing new fossil fuel projects will hinder any chance of meeting the climate targets necessary to save the world from dire consequences.

    Observing the current record-setting heat waves, droughts, floods and forest fires afflicting every corner of the planet gives proof to these warnings. Unfortunately, the warnings underestimated how quickly climate effects would arrive, and how severe they would be.

    The costs of climate disasters go beyond the billions in property destruction and loss of lives. Climate-influenced crop failures across the globe have threatened multitudes with starvation, created millions of food refugees, and increased food prices for us all. 

    Climate disasters in Europe have also shut down nuclear power plants and rendered the Rhine River too shallow to support its normal huge load of shipping. So why would Germany look to increase the production of the very fossil fuels responsible for climate change?

    In fact, they are not. Germany is well into a transition to a clean economy, with a large and growing renewable energy sector. In response to their current gas shortage, they plan to double down on renewables, and exit from natural gas as soon as possible. 

    Germany needs LNG only for short-range relief. Yet, it will likely take five years to even begin sending LNG from a new Atlantic terminal – probably longer in light of necessary Impact Assessments and probable legal challenges. 

    Atlantic LNG cannot be a real solution to Germany’s immediate needs.

    This timing mismatch also highlights the extreme risk associated with any potential benefit for New Brunswick. Converting the Repsol facility to exports will require between $2 billion and $4 billion (according to a 2014 Natural Resources briefing note), plus considerably more for pipeline additions, and may require billions more for expensive carbon capture technology that either doesn’t exist or works poorly (and undoubtedly requiring taxpayer subsidies).

    Add many more billions if the intent is to later convert the facility to handle hydrogen, another expensive, high-risk conversion for which there is little actual experience. Hydrogen itself currently has only a few technically and economically proven uses.

    To recoup such vast investment, these projects require guaranteed purchases by LNG buyers for at least 20 years, as made clear by Repsol’s CEO. It is doubtful that a Germany looking to rapidly leave gas behind will make that commitment.

    If by some miracle commitments are made, then the climate costs to Canada, New Brunswick and the earth increase, as fossil fuels are locked in for another generation. 

    Canada is the only advanced nation that has never met a single emissions target, and New Brunswick is a leading per capita producer of greenhouse gases (GHGs). LNG export terminals produce great amounts of GHGs. Adding a terminal here will ensure that neither Canada nor New Brunswick meet our climate targets.

    Simultaneously, we will risk having a multi-billion dollar white elephant in Saint John, as we gamble in the incredibly volatile gas market.

    For the last decade, shale gas created gas prices so low that investors lost billions. Only in the current crisis has the price risen to profit-making levels. It’s now so high that it is causing financial crises and providing more incentive to abandon gas.

    Shall we bet that the current scene will last the next 30 years? Repsol is stuck with the unused LNG import terminal that it now has, because it made a wrong bet on where gas was heading 20 years ago.

    What makes climate and economic sense for New Brunswick is to invest in and promote the cheapest electricity in the history of the world – solar and wind, whose fuel costs will never go up – accompanied by affordable energy storage, conservation and retrofits of infrastructure.

    This move to electrification of our society is inevitable, as the world is starting to seriously react to a fast-changing climate. We can, and should, be a leader in that move.

    The cost/benefit comparisons are no-brainers. Any temporary jobs created during construction of an LNG terminal could easily be surpassed in a transition to a renewable/electrified economy.

    LNG tax and royalty money for government coffers only lasts while markets are good, whereas cheap electricity rates for citizens will continue with renewable energy, and residents of Saint John will not have to cope with the huge dose of air pollution that LNG exports will also bring.

    A clean economy in New Brunswick benefits Germany, the world, and us by reducing GHG emissions, which our Supreme Court acknowledges cause the same global harm, regardless of where they are created. Let’s not add to the harm.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson forthe New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.

  • Make your Earth Day count a little more this year. Speak out for climate action in New Brunswick!

    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

  • Media Advisory: Leading Canadian environmental organizations to outline expectations for Friday’s first ministers meeting on clean growth and climate change

    CCNB

    Media Advisory

    Leading Canadian environmental organizations to outline expectations for Friday’s first ministers meeting on clean growth and climate change

    December 7, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) — Erin Flanagan (Pembina Institute), Steven Guilbeault (Équiterre), Catherine Abreu (CAN-Rac), Dale Marshall (Environmental Defence) and Dr. Louise Comeau (CCNB) will host an online media briefing to outline expectations for Friday’s first ministers' meeting on climate change and will respond to questions.

    Event: Media briefing and Q&A
    Date: Wednesday, December 7th 2016
    Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EST)
    Location: via GoToMeeting webinar
    RSVP at: Media Briefing Q&A registration

    Context: For the first time ever, Canadian political leaders are negotiating a pan-Canadian climate plan to meet or exceed the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target. This webinar will outline trends in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in light of recent announcements and will discuss the extent to which governments have made policy commitments commensurate with reducing national emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

    -30-
    Media inquiries:

    Erin Flanagan (English / français)
    Program Director, Federal Policy, Pembina Institute
    587-581-1701

    Kelly O’Connor
    Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
    416-220-8804

    Louise Comeau
    Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions, CCNB
    506-238-0355
  • NB shale gas commission report underscores need for moratorium, says Council of Canadians

    KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The Council of Canadians and its four New Brunswick chapters are calling on the Gallant government to recognize it has no choice but to extend the fracking moratorium, after the report it commissioned demonstrated that its five conditions for lifting the moratorium have not been met.

    “Based on the Commission’s report, the government of New Brunswick must commit to a legislated moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the province. All five conditions, including social licence, have not been met and will require a lot of work,” says Denise Melanson, Council of Canadians’ Kent County chapter media spokesperson. “To give the people of this province some peace of mind and some security, the government should close the book on this industry.”

    “We stand with our Indigenous allies including Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council. This report clearly recognizes the constitutional duty to consult Indigenous peoples, highlighting a critical reason a legislated moratorium is needed,” says Maggie Connell, co-chair of the Council of Canadians’ Fredericton chapter.

    Angela Giles, the Council’s Atlantic Regional Organizer based in Halifax, added “The Commission report highlights the need for a transition to clean energy for New Brunswick’s future energy mix. Given the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, shale gas cannot be part of the future. We need to focus on real solutions to the climate crisis in New Brunswick and beyond.”

    Representatives from the Council of Canadians’ Fredericton and Kent County chapters attended the private briefing as well as the public release of the Commission’s report this morning in Fredericton.

    -30-

    The report is available on the NB Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing website.
  • NBASGA Climate Action Submission to Committee

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) has sent its comments on climate policy to the legislative committee working on the climate plan. They are available on our website to read or to download (12 pages of text, 4 of references).
    https://www.noshalegasnb.ca/nbasga-comments-to-new-brunswick-climate-change-committee/

    We remind everyone that the deadline for submission to the committee is midnight on Feb 24th. 
    You may write your own comments, and email them to: climatechangeNBchangementsclimatiques@gnb.ca

    You may also register comments by answering climate survey questions from the Committee. To do so, go to:
    https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/elg/environment/content/climate_change/content/action-plan-renewal.html

    At the bottom of the page click on the 'Share Your Thoughts' button to get the survey, and when you complete the survey, just click Submit.

    Please feel free to use any ideas or references from NBASGA's comments.

    Jim Emberger, Spokesperson

  • New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance Given Intervener Status in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals Carbon Pricing Reference Case

    For immediate release: February 6, 2019

    FREDERICTON — Today, the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASG) announced it has been accepted as an intervener in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals reference case against the federal carbon tax. NBASGA will intervene in support of the federal government and against New Brunswick.

    “Climate change is happening here and now, and it needs a fair, effective and immediate response,” says NBASGA’s Jim Emberger. Winter and summer flooding, storm surges from intense storms and sea level-rise, droughts, heat waves and other climate change effects are already disrupting the lives, livelihoods, and well being of New Brunswickers, and are predicted to get worse.

    These extreme events put people in harm’s way, making climate change a public health issue. Thus,Canadian physicians participating in the 2018 Lancet assessment of climate changes and health have called for governments to “apply carbon pricing instruments as soon and as broadly as possible, enhancing ambition gradually in a predictable manner.” (1)

    “No jurisdiction can be allowed to shirk its responsibility to cut carbon pollution and to keep its citizens safe from climate change’s devastating impacts,” says Emberger. The New Brunswick government’s plans to resurrect shale gas development and to pursue development of oil pipelines are evidence that it does not grasp the urgency and seriousness of the threats posed to our communities by climate change. It has also failed to develop its own carbon-pricing program to meet national minimum standards.

    The federal government has the jurisdiction to implement international agreements and to set minimum standards on provinces to implement those agreements. Also, Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms “guarantees the life, liberty and security of the person.” NBASGA, therefore, contends that the federal government has the jurisdiction, duty and obligation to set such minimum standards.

    Burning oil, coal and gas is harmful to our health and destabilizes the climate, regardless of where they are burned. Harmful emissions do not respect political borders drawn on a map. All provinces need to make polluters pay equally. That is the fairest approach.

    Saskatchewan’s reference case will be heard by the province’s Court of Appeals on February 13th and 14th, 2019.

    - 30 -

    For a summary of NBASGA’s affidavit arguments: http://www.noshalegasnb.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Carbon-pricing-summary-EN.pdf

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Jim Emberger (English) 367-2658, 440-4255 (cell), shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com
    Denise Melanson (Français) 523-9467, 858-0321 (cell), inrexton2013@yahoo.ca

    (1) https://cape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-Lancet-Countdown-Policy-Brief-Canada.pdf

  • New Classroom Resource Makes Local Knowledge on Climate Change Accessible for Students

    MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is celebrating National Science and Technology Week (October 16-25,  2015) with a new classroom resource that will facilitate climate change education and foster environmental awareness and scientific literacy among students.

    “Students in New Brunswick classrooms tend to learn about complex or major scientific events in the context of the United States or in the tropical rainforests of Brazil,” says FBR Executive Director, Megan de Graaf. “The Fundy Biosphere Reserve wants to change that. And one of the most pressing issues right in our own backyard is climate change.”

    Climate Change in Atlantic Canada is an impressive multimedia project showcasing thought-provoking interviews with experts and locals who have decades of first-hand experience with the local climate, such as beekeepers, farmers, snowplow drivers, fishers, gardeners, and First Nations elders.

    In 2011, with funding from the NB Environmental Trust Fund, FBR Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips began to interview local climate knowledge-holders. The project also included some climate data analysis to explain local trends in our weather, such as temperature highs and lows, snow fall and melt dates, number of drought days, and rain event amounts and duration. The project rapidly evolved into an exciting collaboration between the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Dr. Ian Mauro (previously the Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mount Allison University, now Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg). Working with Mauro’s team, a year’s worth of video footage was carefully assembled into short documentary films, which aim to increase awareness about the real world experiences of Atlantic Canadian coastal communities, and how they are on the front lines of climate change and responding to it.

    The Fundy Biosphere Reserve then researched and developed lesson plans to go along with each video in the series, so that the videos could be used as a teaching tool in middle and high school classrooms.

    De Graaf explains: “We worked with specialists in pedagogy to see where within the New Brunswick curricula our materials were best suited and how we could effectively deliver them. The result has been engaging lesson plans and materials for teachers to use with very little preparation needed. We’re now ready to disseminate the materials as widely as possible throughout schools in New Brunswick - as well as throughout the Atlantic provinces.”

    Teachers can access the Climate Change in Atlantic Canada videos and classroom lesson plans - at no cost - by visiting www.climatechangeatlantic.com. The materials are available under the "Education" tab (password: climateeducation). Schools can also request a free presentation and training session for their teachers by Fundy Biosphere staff on how to use the education materials in their classrooms by contacting FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf atinfo@fundy-biosphere.ca. More information on the project is also available on the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s website at fundy-biosphere.ca/en/projects-and-initiatives/education.html.the most pressing issues right in our own backyard is climate change.”

    Climate Change in Atlantic Canada is an impressive multimedia project showcasing thought-provoking interviews with experts and locals who have decades of first-hand experience with the local climate, such as beekeepers, farmers, snowplow drivers, fishers, gardeners, and First Nations elders.


  • New Conservation Council report: climate change, floods, ice storms affect our health

    The forecast is dire — but the solutions we need to slow climate change will make us happier and healthier

    Flood 2019

    The sky is clear and the sun is punishing.

    A thick layer of ozone ripples above the pavement. No matter how much water you drink, you know you’re losing more through your pores whether you’re moving or not.

    And for a lot of New Brunswickers, a province with more folks over 65 years of age than any other province, activity is out of the question.

    It’s the fourth 30+ degree day in a row. You’re restless. Exhausted, despite having been shuttered inside, blinds drawn, melting in your chair, since the heat wave hit.

    You’ve weathered these days before, over the years. But never in such succession. Never so persistent.

    You feel depressed as you realize that there are fewer and fewer of those beautiful, tepid, liberating New Brunswick summer days, and it’s not going to get any better. 

    This is just life now.

    An (un)real scenario 

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. The scenario described above is a science-based snapshot of where life is headed in New Brunswick if governments, businesses and industries don’t take serious action to limit carbon pollution causing the climate crisis we’re already experiencing.

    How bad will it get? What will it mean for everyday life in New Brunswick? Who will suffer the most? Can we do anything about it?

    Healthy Climate Healthy New Brunswickers 1 1These questions are tackled in the Conservation Council’s new report from Dr. Louise Comeau,
    Healthy Climate, Healthy New Brunswickers: A proposal for New Brunswick that cuts pollution and protects health, released today (June 25).

    A spoiler for you: there is hope. There are concrete actions we can take to change the stark forecast described above and in the report. 

    But first, a look at what scientific research and health data in New Brunswick predicts about life in the picture province between 2021-2050.

    The bad news

    You may not think climate change is a public health issue. With the overwhelming focus on environmental degradation, species loss, and damage to public and private infrastructure, you could be forgiven. But when we combine existing research from sources such as the Canada Climate Atlas and New Brunswick Health Council’s community health profiles, among others, we get a sobering story indeed.

    This is what Dr. Comeau does in our report, the first comprehensive look at how climate change will affect the physical and mental health of all New Brunswickers, but particularly the very young, seniors, the isolated, and those living on low incomes.

    In the report, Dr, Comeau combines climate projections and existing community health profiles for 16 New Brunswick communities, including the Edmundston, Campbellton, Dalhousie, Bathurst, Caraquet, Miramichi, Moncton, Sackville, Sussex, Oromocto, Fredericton, Minto, Woodstock, Grand Falls, St. Stephen, and Saint John areas. 

    CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NB FREDERICTON FLOODING 19 of 34 720x480
    How’s the weather out there?

    New Brunswickers aren’t used to hot, 30+ degree days, let alone long stretches of them. But that’s what the data says is coming in the immediate- to medium-term.

    Comeau’s analysis shows that each of the communities listed above will experience between 122 to 300 per cent more 30+ degree days in the summer over the next 30 years if we don’t come together to eliminate the heat-trapping pollution causing global heating.

    Fredericton, for example, can expect at least 20 of these scorching days a summer, compared to the 1976-2005 average of eight — up 150 per cent. 

    Bathurst could experience at least 14 hot days by 2021 to 2050, up from an average of six. The Miramichi and Minto regions will have 20 scorchers, Oromocto will have 21 (up from 9), Woodstock will have 15 (up from six), St. Stephen will have 11 (up from 4) and the Sussex area will have 12 (up from 4), to name a few.

    This is a big departure from what is normal. Temperature influences natural cycles, our lifestyles and our physical and mental health. 

    We know heat waves, for example, can cause death in the elderly or sick as seen in recent years inEurope, theUnited States andQuébec. And then there’s the reality of hotter conditions exacerbating existing health conditions, or helping to cause them.

    Health researchers from around the world find that climatic changes affect and contribute to cardiovascular disease and respiratory conditions (more air pollution, greater frequency of and more extreme forest fires, droughts and dust storms), allergic reactions (especially ragweed), cancer, traumatic injuries, vector-borne illnesses (from disease-carrying insects; think black-legged ticks), food and water-borne illnesses (contaminated water, prime conditions for bacterial growth), malnutrition, and mental health (being displaced from your home, grief from losing cherished possessions and property, and extreme weather-induced stress, anxiety and depression). 

    More frost-free days — but don’t get excited yet

    Comeau’s analysis shows higher average temperatures, especially in spring and winter, increase the number of frost-free days per year. In New Brunswick, that means between 19-22 more frost-free days a year between 2021-2050, compared to the 1976-2005 average.

    But don’t get excited yet.

    Ice storm report shareable 2 1 718x480

    Warmer temperatures increase the risk of exposure to ticks carrying Lyme disease and pave the road for the expansion and establishment of othertick species and diseases. We’re seeing this already, especially in southern New Brunswick.  In 2017, there were 29 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the province, up from eight cases reported the year before. 

    More intense rainfall events, more extreme floods

    Increases in temperature means more precipitation is forecast for New Brunswick in the coming decades. That’s because warmer air holds more moisture. Scientists calculate that for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, the atmosphere can hold seven per cent more water. 

    What does this mean? Comeau’s analysis shows we are likely to experience less frequent but much more intense precipitation events, increasing the annual total volume of precipitation across the entire province.

    This will mean more intense rainfall, more snow, and increases tosnow depth — adding to spring freshet worries and flood risk.  It also means more freezing rain causing winter flooding and ice jams, and ice-on-snow cover making walking dangerous, especially for seniors.

    ArmyFlood4 737x480

    New Brunswick experienced record-breaking floods along the Wolastoq (St. John) River in 2018 and 2019, partly caused by above average snowpack and rain (at least partly due to our changing climate). There are, of course, other factors, such as land-and-forest use, and poor development planning in flood plains that, combined with natural variability and super-charging by climate change, increases the probability of extreme events, including flooding.

    Projections show we’re likely to see the amount of rain falling in spring increase seven to nine per cent in the immediate to medium-term, with the amount of snow, rain and freezing rain in winter increasing eight to 11 per cent (with the higher amounts in northern communities).

    Recently, University of Moncton hydrologistNassir El-Jabi told CBC he estimates frequent but minor floods could see water levels increase 30 to 55 per cent by 2100 in New Brunswick, and extreme floods like those in 2018 and 2019 could be 21 per cent bigger by 2100. 

    As Comeau writes in our report, “It is getting hotter, wetter, extreme, and less safe because greenhouse gas levels are not where they need to be and we are not changing the way we do things.”

    Feeling down and out

    We know young children and adults are increasingly anxious about climate change, as demonstrated by the global School Strike for Climate movement started by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden. This winter and spring students in Fredericton, Moncton, Campbellton, Edmundston, Saint John and Sackvillejoined the movement, walking out of school to protest government and industry inaction on climate change.

    Mental health professionals are increasingly worried about the psychological effects of climate change. Research shows climate change effects such as flooding and extended power outages can undermine well-being and cause ecoanxiety, a “chronic fear of environmental doom.” 

    Beyond the immediate stress and anxiety of disasters fueled by climate change, the chronic mental health affects these events bring about is even more frightening.

    According to the American Psychology Association, these effects include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide, substance misuse, strained social relationships, aggression, violence, and feelings of helplessness, fear and fatalism — just to name a few.

    CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NB FREDERICTON FLOODING 1 of 34 720x480

    What’s this all mean?

    If you are a senior or single parent living on low income, in an under-insulated home with no air conditioning, you are more at risk from extreme heat and extreme weather events. You might not have a vehicle to leave home, or you may have fewer social contacts to reach out to if the power goes out.  

    A senior woman living alone on a low income, with one or more chronic health issues, and who has few social contacts is especially vulnerable to the mental and physical health effects of extreme events made worse by climate change. 

    A person with asthma is more at risk from hotter days and more smog (heart and lung-damaging ground-level ozone).

    New Brunswick generally has low levels of smog-related pollution. Communities like Saint John, Belledune and Edmundston, however, that house industrial operations (pulp and paper, coal-fired power, lead smelting, and oil refining), experience close to maximum levels for fine particulate matter and higher levels of smog.

    Katie Hayes, a leading researcher focused on the mental health effects of climate change, points out in herrecent paper that the mental health effects of climate change are accelerating, “resulting in a number of direct, indirect and overarching effects that disproportionately affect those who are most marginalized.”

    The good news — a better scenario 

    The sky is clear and the sun is punishing.

    The mercury has breached 30 degrees, and you remember, 20-odd years ago, reading about the dire forecast that these days would become more and more the norm. You’re grateful that action, from communities to the highest levels of government and industry, didn’t let things get that bad.

    All the same, on this day, you’re choosing to stay inside. You just can’t handle the heat like you could in your younger years.

    But it’s beautiful. Specialized doors and windows, combined with a super-insulated attic, basement and walls, means you are comfortable no matter how hot or cold it gets outside.

    You catch the glint of sunshine from the windshield of your electric car parked in the driveway. It’s charging from your rooftop solar panels and sleek battery bank on the wall, hidden by a painting from your favourite local artist.

    EcoTour2019 solar farm 2 Liane 768x409
    Even if you need more power than your panels and bank provide, you rest easy knowing it’s coming from a public utility powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

    The coal-and-gas-fired power plants of yesteryear have long been shuttered, their workers enjoying a new gig in booming cleaner energy and technology sectors.

    You hardly even think about air quality, not like you used to, then living next to Canada’s largest oil refinery in Saint John. 

    Cancer rates are down across the board, including places like the Port City, Edmundston and Belledune, once dogged by heavy, polluting industries.

    You get up, head to the kitchen, and make a sandwich for lunch from vegetables grown just one block away, at one of several community gardens dotting the landscape.

    You smile. This is just life now.

    A new way on

    There is no way around it — our lives depend on energy and always will. But we can control whether this energy comes from sources that pollute our climate and negatively affect our health, like coal, oil and gas, or sources that offer a much better balance with what our planet can sustain. This is a choice we can make. 

    Today, it’s a choice we must demand.

    IMG 20190315 133914 768x576
    The Conservation Council’s climate change and health report, along with our climate action plan released in 2016, provide a blueprint for achieving the healthier, happier scenario described in the section above. 

    Slowing climate change will in turn fix so many social, environmental, health and labour problems that we can’t just look at it as a crisis — but as a tremendous opportunity to get things right. 

    Yes, the science-based projections are dire. 

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we’ve got about 10 years to get serious about solving the problems of climate change. And, even then, we’ll still be dealing with some of the effects.

    But we can get it right, we can limit the suffering. We must not despair, and we must not be discouraged. 

    So what can you do right now?

    Talk about climate change. Read the recommendations in Dr. Comeau’s report and share them with everyone you know. 

    IMG 9078 600x800

    By all means, do what you can in your home, life and workspace to limit the carbon pollution you add to the atmosphere. But the changes we have to make are bigger than better insulation and energy efficient appliances. 

    Dr. Comeau’s report encourages everyone interested in protecting public health from the immediate and looming effects of climate change to speak out and demand action from politicians, businesses, and industry. 

    There is a better way forward. It’s going to be hard work, but together, we can get there. 

    ClimateLetterWideBanner.sml 768x402
    Click here to send your #climateaction letter

    Recommended links:

  • Online Petition: Give Energy East a People's Intervention

    ‪Online Petition: Give Energy East a People's Intervention‬ - Follow the link and share it widely
    http://act.350.org/letter/energy_east/

    Stephen Harper and Big Oil have gutted Canada’s environmental review process -- cutting people's voices and climate change out of the National Energy Board review of the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed.

    Harper and Big Oil know they can only build this pipeline if they ignore the facts and ignore the people. It's time for a People's Intervention... Read more
  • Passport to a Low Carbon Future EcoHomes Tour

    Ecotour 2 1

    Have you wondered what you can do to lessen your home’s carbon footprint? Would you like to learn more about the options available to you and the practical steps you can take to make a real difference? Here is your chance to see what homeowners in your community are doing to live sustainably.

    Get inspired and find out what innovative homeowners are doing in your neighborhood by signing up to participate in our Passport to a Low Carbon Future EcoHome Tour scheduled for June 9 in southwestern New Brunswick. 

    Organized by dedicated volunteers from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Saint John chapter of the Council of Canadians, the tour will shine a spotlight on low-carbon homes and public buildings in Bocabec, Letete, Saint John, Quispamsis and the Kingston Peninsula.  Click here to register.


    TIME & LOCATION : ST. ANDREWS : 9:00 AM– 1:00 PM / SAINT JOHN : 12:00 PM– 5:00 PM



    Visit an off-grid artist’s cabin in the woods; a home with rammed earth construction, solar and wind power, green roof, and a permaculture garden; a timber frame, passive solar, straw wall, earth berm home with sod roof; a LEED Gold Certified building, an innovative recreational complex, an 18 room inn using solar energy for hot water heating, the First Certified CHBA Net Zero Home in New Brunswick; an off-grid hobby farm; an off-grid boatbuilding workshop and more.

    The home owners and business people on the tour will be there to answer your questions about how they went about reducing their carbon footprint and the challenges they encountered along the way.

    UPDATE: We will be sending out an e-brochure with descriptions and directions to the EcoHomes to everyone who has registered sometime in the third week of May.

    After the tour, we invite you to join us for a chance to meet and greet and share information and light refreshments starting at 5 p.m. at the fabulous Elmhurst Outdoors at 65 Ganong Road on the Kingston Peninsula.
  • PCs need clear energy and climate policy

    JIM EMBERGER   COMMENTARY
    Telegraph Journal  June 14, 2018

    Last winter the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance asked the provincial party leaders for their views on energy, climate change and the fracking moratorium. Each party, except the Progressive Conservatives, responded.

    Additional requests to PC leader Blaine Higgs for evidence to justify his plans to lift the moratorium, and to explain the process for lifting it, have gone unanswered.

    Fortunately, Mr. Higgs was the first speaker in the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s series featuring party leaders last week, so I went there seeking some answers.

    I began my question by noting that all of the other Maritime provinces, states like New York, and many European nations had passed moratoriums after conducting in-depth expert examinations.

    Additionally, over a thousand scientific studies and investigations have now validated fracking’s threats of water contamination, air pollution, earthquakes and especially threats to public health, including serious harm to infants and children.

    I asked if he had evidence to contradict these scientific studies, and by what process would he publicly explain why we should lift our moratorium and accept serious risks?

    Echoing stale talking points from eight years ago, he first responded by saying that for every study saying fracking is bad, there is another study that says the opposite.

    This is simply, and provably, false.

    Ask yourself, if there were a thousand studies saying fracking posed no threat to public health, the environment or clean water, wouldn’t we have heard about them by now, with heavy promotion from the gas industry?

    Mr. Higgs then predictably moved to the classic misleading statement that there are many places that have been fracking“safely and responsibly”for 50 years.

    Anyone familiar with this topic knows that what we now call fracking is only roughly 15 years old. In the last few years, there has been a drastic increase in the amounts of water, sand, toxic chemicals and wastewater it involves.

    As for fracking“safely and responsibly,” what do those words mean when applied to those jurisdictions that unquestioningly welcomed fracking?

    The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission identified significant methane leaks from hundreds of gas wells, but withheld that information from politicians and citizens for four years.

    The B.C. government didn’t tell the public that frackers had built 92 illegal and uninspected dams to sequester water, threatening people living downstream and local ecosystems.

    So many sizeable earthquakes have been caused by fracking in B.C. that fracking can’t be done within five km of critical infrastructure.

    For 12 years, Pennsylvania regulatory officials hid 9,442 Citizen-Reported Fracking Complaints, 44 per cent of which concerned water contamination.

    Canada’s tens of thousands of abandoned gas and oil wells will eventually reach hundreds of thousands. Natural Resources Canada describes methane leakage from abandoned wells as risking “irreversible contamination of freshwater aquifers, accumulation of explosive gases within and around residences... and contribution to greenhouse gases.” 

    The former chief environmental scientist with the Alberta energy regulator stated, “The expertise to assess the health risk of abandoned wells really doesn’t exist in-house.”

    A life-threatening gas, hydrogen sulphide (H2S), often accompanies shale gas. A Saskatchewan investigation into incidents involving releases of H2S found “repeated and continuing serious infractions, a string of failed safety audits, and H2S readings that exceeded air quality standards on a daily basis.”

    These few examples illustrate that neither the government nor the industry has operated in a safe or responsible manner, even in these “best regulated”jurisdictions.

    As to the process for lifting the moratorium, Mr. Higgs offered to“talk”to municipalities that want shale gas.

    His earlier, opening remarks reflected his concern that the recent flood damage was becoming the “new normal.”

    Using this reference to climate change, we noted that New Brunswick and the world have experienced increasing numbers of very costly natural disasters, for which climate change is at least partially responsible.

    Natural gas, once considered a way to transition from other fossil fuels, is now known as one of the largest and fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases, due to methane leaking from gas infrastructure. Some analyses consider it worse than coal.

    “How then,” we asked, “does opening a new shale gas industry fit into plans to fight climate change?”

    After spending a great deal of time discussing the unrelated issue of carbon taxes, Mr. Higgs said there is a risk in everything, and that we have to strike a balance.

    Like editorial writers who worry about climate change damage, but then call for fossil-fuel projects, Mr. Higgs must believe we can bargain with the laws of physics to allow us to burn more fossil fuels, yet somehow not contribute to climate change.

    Alas, we still don’t know whether the PC’s actually have any cogent energy or climate policies, or even good reasons for lifting the fracking moratorium. They seem unaware of scientific risk analyses.

    That’s a problem for a party running on a platform of “responsible leadership.” Responsible leaders should not be so out of touch with the great issues of our time.

    Jim Emberger
    is a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
  • Planting Guide for a Climate Change Resilient Forest

    The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) has released the long awaited results of research into climate change-resilient tree species in southern New Brunswick.

    The FBR recently completed an analysis of which native tree species has the most chance to prosper under changing climatic conditions over the next 100 years, as well as those that will most probably merely persevere, and which could even decline. Northern trees species like spruces, fir, birches, and poplars will likely face more insects, disease, extreme weather, and competition, which would lead to slower growth and higher mortality. By contrast, southern species such as maples, oak, pines, beech, hemlock, and cherry should have a longer growing season and thus, faster growth. 

    The FBR has created a pamphlet that describes the eight ‘winners’ for the changing climate.  It describes the trees and their preferred growing conditions, so that woodlot owners, foresters, municipalities, and the general public are armed with the right information about what to plant and where

    As the climate changes and less-resilient species begin to decline and disappear, the Acadian Forest composition in southern New Brunswick (as well as throughout the Maritimes) will also change. This means that the forest as we know it today will later contain fewer of those northern species, and probably more of these “winners”. But the forest will need help from residents of the region, notably in planting these resilient species.

    By planning ahead for climate change and planting tree species that have a better chance to thrive, we can help ensure that there will be healthy and beautiful trees in our neighborhoods and parks as well as in the forest, to be enjoyed by generations to come. An informative brochure has thus been developed to help 

    The other component of this research is related to forest corridors. As climate change and deforestation affect the forest, wildlife can become cut-off.  The FBR is working with other organizations to try and establish forest corridors based on areas with climate change resilient trees, helping plants and animals move freely around the FBR or to and from Nova Scotia.

    More information on this project, including a detailed research report and maps showing current and projected forest composition within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, is available at http://www.fundy-biosphere.ca/en/home/forests-of-the-future.html.
     
     
  • Reliance on fossil fuels is dangerously short-sighted

    Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, Dec. 16, 2020

    “Distant hypothetical targets are being set, and big speeches are being given. Yet, when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial.”

    These are the recent words of young climate activist, Greta Thunberg, concerning progress toward dealing with the climate emergency. Unfortunately, she could be talking about NB Power’s recent release of its 25-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). While claiming to pay attention to the climate crisis, the utility’s plans belie those claims.

    First, NB Power plans to extend the life of the coal burning Belledune electricity generator, one of the province’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, to 2041: more than 10 years past its federally mandated closure.

    To put this plan in context, progress reports submitted in preparation for next year’s climate summit show the gap between our actual greenhouse gas emissions and our stated targets continues to grow.

    Simultaneously, a number of new climate models show that we potentially could pass the 1.5 C “minimally safe” increase in global temperature later this decade, and pass the more dangerous 2 C increase in the early 2030s. This prediction is bolstered by the announcement that, according to NASA, last month was the hottest November on record. What’s more, 2020 is likely to be the hottest year on record, a fitting conclusion to what will likely also be the hottest decade.

    This should lead us to conclude that our future climate efforts must be even more rigorous. As the United Nations notes, the “world’s wealthy will need to reduce their carbon footprints,” which “will require swift and substantial lifestyle changes.”

    By extending the Belledune plant, we will continue to pump large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere well after we’ve passed the likely point of no return on climate chaos. NB Power alleges that it can cut emissions elsewhere, but its claims are based on questionable assumptions, and it is hard to imagine where it can cut at the scale necessary.

    For instance, emphasis is put on maintaining or increasing natural gas usage as a low carbon emission alternative, ignoring the now-accepted science that leaking methane emissions along the entire gas supply chain makes gas no better for the climate than coal.

    The IRP also mentions that another low-carbon plan is to develop small modular nuclear reactors, a technology that currently exists only on paper. It faces hurdles of technology, safety, cost and procuring investment. But the salient point is that it will not likely be available until 2030, and later before it can be widely dispersed.

    To sum up, as we face an already serious climate crisis that is due to significantly worsen in the next decade, NB Power’s plans are to continue to use a high-polluting, out-of-date technology for 20 years, and invest in a new technology that won’t become useful until after much climate damage has already occurred.

    The IRP notes that proven, cheaper alternatives exist: namely renewable energy from sun and wind. Why aren’t they being pursued as the main pillars of our energy future?

    The excuse that they are too intermittent becomes less viable with every passing day, as advances in energy storage are being made at a dizzying pace.

    What’s more, our province has a unique opportunity to take part in the “Atlantic Loop,” a project that would bring stable and low or even no-carbon energy from hydro dams in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. In concert with renewables, our energy supply could be ample, stable and potentially exportable to New England.

    Though questionable, NB Power’s plans are not as off-base as the advice offered in a recent op-ed (“Oil and gas are a missed opportunity for Atlantic Canada,” Dec. 7) penned by researchers with the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation which was created to promote the interests and reputation of the provincial oil and gas sector.

    Its authors claim that now is the time for New Brunswick to start a natural gas and oil industry. This is strange advice coming from Alberta, a province where the oil and gas industry has plummeted – even before the pandemic – with huge losses of investment, industry bankruptcies, decimated tax and royalty payments, the loss of many thousands of jobs and a multi-billion dollar tab for oil and gas industry cleanup.

    They assume that we will continue to use fossil fuels, despite the climate crisis. Therefore, they argue, it makes more economic sense to produce our own rather than buy from elsewhere. This argument that we ought to knowingly contribute to the looming climate crisis is bizarre, particularly given that so many scientists argue that any new fossil fuel project is an act of economic and environmental self-harm.

    As people finally pay attention to scientists about COVID-19, one can only hope that this enlightened attitude will spill over to the much larger, and more dangerous, climate crisis.

    The time for rhetoric about long-range goals and inadequate plans to achieve them is long past. As Greta Thunberg’s clear-headed logic indicates, we need reality-based action, and we need it now.

    –Jim Emberger is the Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.

  • Rio+20: the Road to Sustainability

    It has already been 20 years since the United Nation Conference on Environment and Development of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, The Earth Summit. During the Earth Summit, many principles had been adopted

    As the tradition wants it, it’s now time to reopen the discussions between industrialized and developing countries, so together, they can look forward for the next 20 years to safeguard the Earth and the human race. The theme for 2012 is sustainable development

    Secretary-general of the United Nations Ban ki-Moon thinks it is crucial that the different countries’ leaders agree on a plan for the future. He knows Rio+20 won’t solve all the problems, but he thinks that if we "do not take firm actions, we may be heading towards the end – the end of our future". The United Nations up a list of seven critical issues that will be discussed in the Conference: jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters.

    Meanwhile, the Canadian government is trying to prevent the other conference members from agreeing to end fossil fuel subsidies, even though it could save the country millions of dollars. 

     

    Here is a very interesting video by theUnited Nations Development Program for the Rio+20 sustainable developments.  

  • Scott Vaughan

    I just have to say it Scott Vaughan is one cool Environment Comissioner! Check out his frank 2012 report on how Canada’s faltering on our climate change commitments and the at times overlooked impacts of contaminated sites. Click here to access the whole report online.

    I also included one of his videos here but, click here, if you want to watch some more of his videos – they make his job seem accessible.

  • Special edition of the NB Naturalist available!

    We are thrilled to let you know that we are publishing a special edition of our magazine, the NB Naturalist, on Nature, Biodiversity and Climate Change.The magazine is free, and is ready for mailing by the end of November. We would like to make it available across the province, please let us know if you are interested in helping with the distribution in your region. The edition is fully translated. Please fill in the form here: https://goo.gl/forms/IdGVeuUJQOwBqj8o2.

    If you have any questions, please contact us: 506-459-4209

     

    Vol 44 No 3 Nov 2017 P1 3

     

  • Teachers! Access Free Videos and Lesson Plans About Climate Change in Atlantic Canada.

    Students in New Brunswick classrooms tend to learn about complex or major scientific events in the context of the United States or in the tropical rainforests of Brazil. The Fundy Biosphere Reserve wants to change that.

    We’re pleased to present Climate Change in Atlantic Canada.
  • The Carbon Map

    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!

     

  • The federal government – a home grown environmental bully on the international stage!

    Maybe the environmental movement should re-consider wearing green this year and take its cue from Pink Shirt Day - an action with the motto that “we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere.” Currently though we are tolerating the Harper Government acting just like a bully – defined as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”

    The proof you ask! Well here are some links to stories of the Harper Government’s national and international bullying efforts!

    International Climate/Environmental quarreling:

    Durban – another international meltdown!

    Ok - 2011 experienced a major nuclear meltdown but the world is about to see another international mess –governments/politicians talking climate. The two just do not mesh because national governments, such as Canada, are looking to protect the national gross domestic product index and multinational investors. To add to it, very little press is passing the depth of this story along. Luckily, we do have some fresh eyes and voices in Durban with worthwhile stories to share.

    Ongoing Updates from Durban

    Canadian Youth Climate Coalition youth delegates have amazing daily updates, podcasts, videos, etc…probably the best coverage out there click here to explore their site.

    Click here to link to Climate Action Network – ongoing Durban news updates.

  • Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Jim Emberger,Commentary, Telegraph Journal   September 13, 2018

    The freshly released Progressive Conservatives platform contains only a single sentence on shale gas, and leaves "regional social license" – mooted by leader Blaine Higgs in April – entirely unexplained.

    Even without adequate detail in the platform, the very concept is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

    The shale gas moratorium’s first condition sensibly dictates that, before social license can be granted, citizens must receive “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water.”

    As I have documented in previous articles, the “clear and credible evidence” from science and public health studies, court cases, journalistic investigations and government regulatory actions reveal shale gas impacts including:
    • A host of serious diseases affecting those living near gas wells, and especially the unborn. 
    • Water contamination from every aspect of industry activity.
    • Leaking methane from gas infrastructure, making it a leading contributor to climate change.
    • Toxic wastewater created by fracking, with no safe way of disposal.
    • Universally inadequate regulations and oversight, plus the precarious financial state of the industry, means that these threats continue unabated.
    As the Progressive Conservatives haven’t provided the public with any credible evidence that these risks have been addressed, how can they ask anyone for social license?

    Meanwhile, extensive government reviews of shale gas elsewhere have almost unanimously led to bans or moratoriums. These include Quebec, Canada’s Maritime Provinces, 19 of the 25 countries of the European Union, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and several U.S. and Australian states. Mexico, a major fossil fuel producer, is banning fracking.

    In many U.S. states that launched the shale industry before conducting public reviews, hundreds of cities and counties have passed resolutions restricting fracking.

    Before New Brunswick's last election, over 70 municipalities and dozens of medical, public health, religious, community, environmental and indigenous groups called for a moratorium – including Mr. Higgs’ community of Quispamsis.

    The PCs apparently are aware of this widespread public opposition, and attempt to sidestep it by claiming that fracking will be limited to Sussex and Albert County, because those localities want it.

    Yet the municipality of Sussex Corner supported the moratorium, as did citizen groups in the nearby agricultural area of Cornhill, and in Penobsquis, where existing gas wells are located.

    In Albert County, the municipalities of Hillsborough and Alma supported the moratorium, as did the neighboring city of Moncton. Citizen groups – e.g. the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County, and the Chepoudy Communities Revitalization Committee – have reaffirmed their support for the moratorium.

    So who will grant "social license," and how is "regional" defined? The PC platform contains nary a clue.

    Do businessmen reaping financial benefits, but living away from the wells, get the same vote as pregnant mothers living next to gas wells, who – willingly or not – will assume greater health risks?

    Airborne chemical pollution affects those with asthma and respiratory problems up to hundreds of kilometres away. Likewise, waterborne contaminants can travel the length of whatever waterways they enter. How far downstream and downwind is the regional line drawn for health and environmental risks? 

    Increased health care and road repair costs have been documented everywhere a shale gas industry exists, as have the costs of dealing with abandoned wells. These financial risks and costs will be borne by all the taxpayers of New Brunswick.

    Leaking methane gas damages the climate for everyone.

    These widespread risks to health and environment from fracking have been proven. Living on one side of some arbitrary regional line doesn’t grant the right to accept those risks for everyone.

    The ethics of medical research require that every individual give their informed consent to be a ‘guinea pig’ before being exposed to toxic, carcinogenic or untested chemicals. Fracking, which uses hundreds of such chemicals, is a massive uncontrolled experiment and should require no less a standard.

    And yet, the PCs are running with the slogan that they will restore trust. 

    Mr. Higgs recently wrote a commentary in this newspaper on his plans to fight climate change ("A carbon plan, not a carbon tax," Aug. 18, A11). It did not once mention his policy on shale gas. Does he know the gas industry is a major contributor to climate change?

    Also unaddressed is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The rapid depletion of shale gas wells means the industry must continually drill new wells. Thus, a "regional" industry won’t stay regional for long. 

    The PCs have not discussed these concerns, or any of the risks catalogued above. Their platform does not even contain the words "shale," "fracking," or "moratorium." Doesn’t the path to trust demand a demonstration that one understands and can discuss the concerns now, before the election?

    If facts don’t support a policy, the policy must change. Not discussing the facts won’t build trust.

    Canada’s Dr. John Cherry, one of the world’s foremost experts on groundwater contamination, testified before our Commission on Hydrofracturing, noting, “It is hard to make the case for social license if you have no scientific proof of safety.” These are words the PCs, and indeed all New Brunswickers, need to heed.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB