• “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.

  • What an exciting two weeks! Two lawsuits been filed in New Brunswick courts against shale gas development, one by the New Brunswick Anti-shale Gas Alliance and a second one by eighteen New Brunswickers, but the Supreme Court has handed down a decision on a land claim by the Tsilhqot'in First Nation in BC that could have wide-ranging implications for New Brunswick, where territory was never ceded to the Crown by aboriginal peoples. Could this mean more cautious, transparent, accountable development of our natural resources on Crown land (forests, shale gas, oil pipelines) that would have to include aboriginal peoples in NB fully?
  • 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
  • The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance is proud to support the lawsuit filed by Elsipogtog First Nation, on behalf of the Mi’kmaq Nation, to claim Aboriginal title to the Mi’kma’ki district of Sikniktuk in New Brunswick.

    Our support is grounded in many things. In recent history we have been allies against a common enemy that threatened all of us with the contamination of our water, air and land. Many of our members, both Anglophone and Francophone from around the province, stood with the people of Elsipogtog as they peacefully defended their land. Some were arrested alongside them and still others sent money and supplies to support the cause.

    We have also stood shoulder to shoulder with our other indigenous allies, the Wolastoqewiyik, in the peaceful defense of mother earth, understanding that such actions are often necessary to protect that which sustains life when it is threatened.

    We also support this suit because we are joined with First Nations by history, including the mutual signing of treaties in centuries past. While we cannot undo the hardships that befell First Nations in the years since those treaties were signed, we can say—along with the Supreme Court of Canada—that the passage of time does not diminish the rule of law.  Treaties signed remain treaties to be respected and enforced.

    Canada’s governments and citizens alike are thus obligated both legally and morally to acknowledge the terms of those treaties which, beyond dispute, entitle the First Nations the right to protect the water, air and land necessary to support their way of life.

    By doing so we also acknowledge that we are helping New Brunswick, and the world, rediscover the values that are necessary for our continued existence.

    Jim Emberger, Spokesperson
    New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance


    Kenneth Francis accepting solidarity statement on Aboriginal Title Claim from Jim Emberger, NBASGA @ NBEN Annual Meeting (photo Mark D’Arcy)
  • 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.

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    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

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