• 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

  •  
    Our 47th Annual General Meeting is coming up Saturday, November 5! We really hope to see you there. It is a time to discuss our year, catch up with friends, and meet our dedicated staff. Please RSVP at info@conservationcouncil.ca.

    Notre 47e assemblée générale annuelle est à venir samedi, le 5 Novembre! Nous espérons vous voir. Il est un temps pour faire notre année, rattraper avec des amis et de rencontrer notre personnel dévoué. S'il vous plaît RSVP à info@conservationcouncil.ca.

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick's
    47th Annual General Meeting

    When: Saturday, November 5 at 10am to 2pm.

    Where: Moncton Press Club, 160 Assomption Blvd, Moncton

    Agenda:

    10:00 am - Annual General Meeting
    12:00 pm - Lunch

    With special guest speakers from the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance.

    All are welcome but you must be a current member to vote during the business meeting. We invite supporters, volunteers and those curious about CCNB to join us! For more information, contact or email info@conservationcouncil.ca.

    I hope to see you there!

    47e assemblée générale annuelle
    du Conseil de Conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick

    Quand : samedi le 5 novembre de 10h00 à 14h00.

    Où : Moncton Press Club, 160 Assomption Blvd, Moncton

    Agenda :
    10h00 – Assemblée générale
    12h00 – Diner

    Avec les orateurs spéciales de l'Alliance du Bassin Versant Petitcodiac.

    Tous sont les bienvenus, mais seulement les membres sont invités à voter durant l’assemblée. Nous invitons nos bénévoles, partisans et tous ceux qui veulent s’informer de CCNB à se joindre à nous. Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter 506-458-8747 ou envoyez un courriel àinfo@conservationcouncil.ca.

    J’espère vous voir là !

    Liane Thibodeau
    President / présidente
  • IMG 3499

    A leak of a highly-flammable gas at Irving Oil’s operations forced roughly 65 people from their homes in an east Saint John neighbourhood on Monday, Jan. 8.

    The CBC reported on the butane leak at Irving Oil’s Saint John East Terminal after the company announced on Twitter that it had discovered the rupture during “routine testing.”

    As of Wednesday morning, the residents from roughly 30 homes over four streets still could not return home.
  • The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is pleased to announce nominations are open for our 3rd annual Beth McLaughlin Environmental Journalism Award,  presented annually in recognition of in-depth and thoughtful coverage of environmental issues in New Brunswick.

    By recognizing the best environmental reporting, this award seeks to inspire journalists in all media and showcase reporting that best addresses important environmental issues in New Brunswick. We invite journalists from traditional news media, independents, and non-profits, citizen journalists and students to submit their finest work.

    Submission deadline: All entries must be received by July 31st, 2018. Submit entries to Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Southeast Chapter Environmental Journalism Award Committee at ccnbsoutheast@gmail.com

    Full details:  http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/en/call-for-nominations-2018-beth-mclaughlin-environmental-journalism-award/


  • PRESS RELEASE

    CCNB’s Fundy Baykeeper applauds restart of Energy East Pipeline Review and calls for a reform of the NEB before the review moves forward

    The Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Fundy Baykeeper applauds the National Energy Board’s decision on Friday to restart the Energy East review process.

    “This is an important decision, but not an unexpected one,” said Fundy Baykeeper Matt Abbott. “Given the questions of bias hanging over all decisions made by the last National Energy Board panel, the only way to move forward was to void all the past panel members’ decisions.”

    The ruling was made following  the filing of a Notice of Motion with the NEB on Jan 10 by Ecojustice lawyers representing Transition Initiative Kenora (TIK) calling for the Energy East proceedings to be declared void as a consequence of reasonable apprehension of bias.  Read the Motion here.

    The project’s 2016 hearings were suspended late last August, after complaints were filed against two NEB board members – Jacques Gauthier and Lyne Mercier– who met privately with former Quebec premier Jean Charest while he was being paid as a consultant to TransCanada Corp. The review panel recused itself shortly afterwards, prompting demands that the review process be restarted.

    All decisions made by the previous panel members are void and will be removed from the official hearing record. Those who’ve already applied to participate need not reapply, but essentially everything re-starts.

    Abbott says that this decision won’t fix the NEB process regarding Energy East. The current process was put in place by the Harper Government and has been roundly criticized by many.

    “The Energy East review should be delayed until a modernized review process is in place. Given the problems with NEB that the Energy East review has brought into focus, it is clear that we cannot have confidence in the NEB as it is currently constituted,” said Abbott.

    “In uncertain, stressful times, it is good to know that a massive, dangerous, project like Energy East does not loom as close as it appeared to a few short months ago.”

    According the NEB media release issued this morning, previous decisions that have been voided include:

    • Determination that the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications are complete;
    • Decision to review the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications via a single hearing;
    • List of Participants and any subsequent individual rulings on participation;
    • Lists of Issues and factors to be included in the environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and Hearing Order.
    -30-

    To arrange an interview contact: Matt Abbott at 506-321-0429

    The Fundy Baykeeper works for the Conservation Council to defend the public’s right to a healthy Bay of Fundy. Matt uses a  well-marked boat to patrol the Fundy coastline from Alma to St. Stephen. The Fundy Baykeeper is also part of the international Waterkeeper Alliance.

    For more information on how the proposed Energy East pipeline would affect the Bay of Fundy, read the National Resource Defense Council’s report on tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy: Sensitive Marine Ecosystems Threatened by Energy East’s ‘Aquatic Pipeline.’

    For a full list of New Brunswick waterways at risk from Energy East, check out our interactive map.

    For more information on the risks of Energy East to the communities of the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine, read the Conservation Council’s report: Tanker Traffic and Tar Balls: What TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Means for the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine.

    For more on the Energy East pipeline, check out:

  • Holiday greetings!

    The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is excited announce that our upcoming holiday edition of Eco-Alert – our seasonal informative magazine enjoyed by over 10,000 English and French readers throughout the province – will be celebrating the many local NB producers that make buying local worth every penny!

    Considering this, we are offering special holiday discounted pricing for advertisements in this issue and we would love to help spread the word about your organization this holiday.

    Eco-Alert is a bilingual publication and reaches a wide demographic in New Brunswick and we think Eco-Alert would be a great fit for your business. Help us make buying local to be the new gift of choice this holiday!

    You can view our rates here. We even have rates as low as $75 for special, smaller business card-sized ads!

    Check out an online version of our latest issue of Eco-Alert here.

    If you are interested in purchasing ad space, would like to receive a copy of our magazine, have any questions, or, better yet – have a story you want to share - please don't hesitate to give us a call at 458-8747.

    We look forward to hearing from you,

     The Conservation Council of New Brunswick
  • Attention News Editors: Lois Corbett, Executive Director, released the following statement with respect to today’s announcement about a provincial water strategy:

    “The provincial water strategy released today includes short-term and long-term actions that demonstrate what can happen when citizens and groups like the Conservation Council speak up for clean water.

    Introducing a new water protection act over the next two years — legislation that will both make watershed protection action plans mandatory and legally enforceable and set science-based water quality standards — is a big move, and a smart one.

    The commitment to develop a coastal protection regulation over the next few months that would protect wetlands, estuaries and important coastal habitat like eelgrass stands out for me, and it is an important step to protect towns and villages all along the Northumberland Strait.

    Adding a recreational water monitoring program for all provincial parks — slated to be ready for summer 2018 — will protect young and old swimmers who cool off in our favourite places like Parlee Beach and the Mactaquac headpond.

    With this strategy, New Brunswick is one step closer to having the modern protections we need to ensure the health of our communities and waters, including our beloved beaches, rivers, lakes, streams, bays, wetlands and drinking water supplies.”

    The development of the provincial water strategy was informed by recommendations from the Technical Working Group on Watershed Management. Lois Corbett participated in the working group since its formation in 2017.Recommended links:
  • Logo_glow.pngConservation Council.jpg
    For Immediate Release - Sept. 26, 2017

    Environment and Climate Change Canada Reluctant to Enforce Regulations against Aquaculture Operators

    K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX - A retired Environment Canada employee and conservation and environmental law groups are calling for action from the federal government after Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) confirmed certain aquaculture activities result in a disposal at sea, likely violating the federal Disposal at Sea Regulations. Despite this confirmation the activities appear to be continuing without any enforcement action by ECCC.

    Aquaculture companies use a variety of drugs, disinfectants and pesticides in response to sea lice and disease on salmon, issues that come along with farming fish in the open ocean. Chemical residues and pesticides are released into the ocean after use despite limitations under the Disposal at Sea Regulations and the serious risk of harm these chemicals pose to the marine environment and wildlife.

    In February 2016, retired Environment Canada employee Bill Ernst launched a formal complaint about the practice to ECCC. In his complaint, Ernst identified specific companies but noted that an industry-wide investigation was needed.

    After more than a year of reviewing the complaint and undertaking investigations of activities taking place in New Brunswick, officials from ECCC confirmed to Mr. Ernst on April 25, 2017 that they had a reasonable belief that the companies he identified were violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and that the department would take ‘appropriate’ enforcement action.

    Yet, despite repeated requests from Ernst on how ECCC will enforce the Disposal at Sea Regulations, no clear enforcement action has happened. The aquaculture industry’s widespread practice of discharging chemicals into the marine environment continues.

    Ernst, East Coast Environmental Law, West Coast Environmental Law Association, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society, and Friends of the Earth Canada are calling for an industry-wide investigation into the chemical dumping practice.

    “I continue to be concerned that by the Government’s inaction. Minister McKenna is abdicating her responsibility to protect the marine environment and, in doing so, is giving the impression that the Government of Canada is willing to promote the aquaculture industry at the expense of other industries and environmental sustainability,” says Ernst.

    Adds Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director with East Coast Environmental Law: “Aquaculture may be a valuable economic driver in the Atlantic Canadian economy, as are many other coastal industries, but to ensure these industries remain viable, the laws that protect the environment upon which they depend must be applied fairly and effectively. Private citizens should not bear the burden of enforcing those laws.”

    “We commend Mr. Ernst for his efforts to ensure that the laws to protect our environment and coastal fisheries are being enforced,” says Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “It is disappointing that ECCC has not taken the opportunity provided by Mr. Ernst’s complaint to comprehensively investigate pesticide and other chemical use on aquaculture sites in Canadian waters. An industry-wide investigation is needed.”

    The ECCC report regarding Mr. Ernst’s complaint can be viewed here.
    --30--

    For more information contact:

    Bill Ernst

    Environment Canada retiree

    Wrernst1@gmail.com, 902-865-5771


    Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick

    matt.abbott@conservationcouncil.ca 506-458-8747


    Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director

    East Coast Environmental Law Association

    lisa@ecelaw.ca 902-670-1113

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Paddle for Facebook 2.0

    The Conservation Council’s Fundy Baykeeper invites you to participate in a 10-km canoe or kayak paddle down the beautiful Musquash Estuary on Saturday, July 13th.

    This fun event allows you to meander down the river and see the vast salt marshes, wildlife and historic shipwrecks in this treasured coastal area.

    In 2006, the Musquash Estuary was designated a Marine Protected Area, the first in New Brunswick under the Canada Oceans Act. It was an accomplishment nearly a decade in the making for the Conservation Council and our many partners.

    Our Musquash Paddle started as an event to bring paddlers to this gem as part of our campaign for protection. We now paddle the Musquash every year to enjoy it and to celebrate its protection.

    Paddle for Facebook 2.0

    Event details

    • Registration is $25 for individuals and $35 for families. Register below, call 506-529-8838 or email Matt Abbott at matt.abbott@conservationcouncil.ca. You can pay online or on site with cash or cheque (made payable to Conservation Council of New Brunswick) the day of the paddle.
    • Boat rentals can be obtained through Osprey Adventures.
    • The paddle starts just above the Highway #1 Bridge crossing at Musquash and goes to Black Beach. A map indicating the launch site can be found here, or on //www.google.ca/maps/@45.1784395,-66.2980495,13.75z/data=!4m2!6m1!1s1L52Quibdx6UOONYpKFZqhdIGIWg">this Google Map.
    • Our goal is to be on the water paddling at 9:30 a.m. rain or shine!
    • For those who may not wish to complete the full paddle, there will be a stop-off at Five Fathom Hole Wharf approximately 6 km along the route. We will continue through Musquash Harbour to Black Beach weather permitting.
    • There will be shuttles from both Five Fathom Hole and Black Beach to take people back to their cars.
    • All paddlers must wear life jackets. Please bring your own.
    • No motorized boats allowed.
    • Dress for changing weather and bring sunscreen, a hat, water and an en-route snack.
    • We will be holding a BBQ and celebration reception at Black Beach after the paddle.
    Buy a ticket button
  • 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:

  • 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
  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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. 

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    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. 

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    Click here to send your #climateaction letter

    Recommended links:

  • April 5, 2017

    FREDERICTON – The Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Executive Director, Lois Corbett, made the following comments in response to the provincial government’s announcement today about new rules and procedures for reporting water quality at Parlee Beach:

    “It’s a smart protocol, one that will increase health protection. Deciding to use Health Canada’s technical and science-based guidelines for beach water safety is the right decision.”

    “Testing the health of the water every day, seven days a week, when the beach is open, will provide our citizens, our local businesses, and our visitors with clear information — Minister Rousselle gave us exactly what we needed. ”

    “And now that the testing, reporting and public communications issues have been resolved, we can next move more quickly to stop the pollution that contaminates the water.”

    “That step is very important and will require both stopping harmful practices like filling in wetlands and salt marshes, and reducing human and animal waste — the main source of the health threats to swimmers. We need to attack all sources — whether it is business or farm runoff, the local sewage system, or private septic tanks and recreational boaters.”

    “Reducing the sources of water pollution is something we all care about but, as individuals, and we sometimes feel we have little to contribute. Well, not this time. It’s all hands on deck to fix the problem and continue to make this beach, and others, a destination of choice.”

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    • You can read the government announcement here.
    • You can learn more about the new rules here.
    • You can read more about Parlee Beach here.
  • Frack Letter BY
    We need to speak up for the health and safety of New Brunswickers.

    Premier Blaine Higgs says his minority Progressive Conservative government will end the province-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and allow the controversial and risky process in the Sussex region. And Premier Higgs wants to do it fast — before the New Year.

    Use your voice to let the Premier know this is bad public policy. The Conservation Council has launched an easy-to-use letter-writing tool so you can have your say on fracking to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly, Premier Higgs, and all political party leaders.

    Click here to send our pre-written letter (which you can edit freely) today.

    Why should I send my #noshalegas letter?

    New Brunswickers know that climate change is here, now, and already impacting our communities. It is time to diversify our energy toward the huge potential of renewable sources and turn the page on the fossil fuels causing climate change and impacting our health.

    Fracking is not worth the risks it poses to our drinking water, our environment, or our health and safety.

    There are now more than 1,300 scientific studies, journalistic investigations and government regulatory reports on every aspect of shale gas extraction. The overwhelming majority of them substantiate the threats that the industry poses towards public health, water and the environment, and climate change.

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    *Picture: Families, farmers, and New Brunswickers of all walks of life rally to protect their health and water from the threat of shale gas development.

    Climate change

    Burning oil, coal and gas is not good for our health. These energy sources pollute the air we breathe, contaminate the water we drink, and unbalance the climate we depend on. Renewable energy using solar, wind, hydro or other technologies is a clean way to deliver the power we need. Renewing our energy system lowers air pollution, protects water, and helps slow climate change.  The good news is that we have what it takes to renew our energy system.

    This is where the good jobs are headed. Canadians know energy, and we have the can-do attitude and skills needed to build the renewable energy system almost all Canadians want. The most competitive economies are heavily investing in their clean energy sectors. Shifting to more energy-efficient and clean forms of renewable energy to power our economy is the surest way to maintain Canadian jobs and create new economic opportunities for New Brunswickers. Our province can accelerate the renewal of its energy system by developing its abundant renewable energy sources. And, in doing so, we join the growing group of forward-thinking jurisdictions creating opportunities for workers, businesses and communities.

    Water and air pollution

    Methane, fracking fluids and other drilling chemicals have been proven to enter waterways via leaking wells, spills, pipeline breaks, well blowouts, truck accidents and floods.  In addition to making water wells undrinkable and causing illnesses, contaminated waters have killed farm animals, wildlife, fish, vegetation and have left farmlands unusable. Many studies have linked airborne illnesses to density and nearness of gas wells, some documenting problems up to 4km from wells.  Because airborne pollution can be inhaled, swallowed, and also reach the skin, it has emerged as one of the primary public health concerns.  Other shale gas chemicals have created ground-level ozone over 300 km from the source, aggravating asthma, respiratory diseases and causing irreparable lung damage. These are just a few of the risks fracking poses to New Brunswickers. To learn more, check out these helpful resources:

    Recommended resources:

  • Select Committee on Climate Change Report Could Set Stage for a Sustainable New Brunswick

    Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions

    October 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

    For more information, contact: Louise Comeau, louise.comeau@conservationcouncil.ca; 506 238 0355
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB