• “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.

  • Commission’s Fracking Report Shows Moratorium Remains Smartest Policy And That Time Is Right To Begin New Brunswick’s Transition to Low-Carbon Economy

    Commission’s Fracking Report Shows Moratorium Remains Smartest Policy And That Time Is Right To Begin New Brunswick’s Transition to Low-Carbon Economy

    FREDERICTON — The report released today from the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing provides more evidence that the provincial government made the smart policy decision by putting a moratorium in place and throws down the gauntlet for N.B. to start the transition to a thriving low-carbon economy.

    Consider what the Commissioners say in their report:

    • The challenge and opportunity for economic development today is in clean and low-carbon technologies as governments across the world — including New Brunswick — prepare to deal with the opportunities and challenges of climate change. The Commissioners say New Brunswick must transition away from the old-world economies of resource extraction into a new value-added and knowledge-based era driven by new forms of energy, stating: “The world is shifting towards integrated energy systems that will be supported by a variety of advanced technologies, most of which will not require fossil fuels.”

    • The environmental protection and energy regulatory system in New Brunswick is prone to conflicts of interest. The Commissioners highlight significant gaps in the current framework, such as the lack of understanding and mapping of our groundwater system, and highlight pieces that are broken entirely, such as the failure of the Water Classification regulation for protecting rivers and streams. The current approach means a government department has to have two heads, meaning ministers serve two masters — one that promotes energy projects and another that regulates them. This system leads not only to confusion, anger and distrust but also creates too many unanswered questions, especially with respect to the cumulative effects of energy projects on water, air and public health.

    • Nation-to-Nation communication with First Nation communities is sorely lacking and needs years of repair and capacity-building for all involved.

    “The Commissioners rightly point out that the world shifted with the signing of the first universal climate agreement and that the real opportunities for jobs and economic growth comes from clean energy and energy efficiency,” says Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “The economic case for renewables grows stronger every month and energy efficiency has long been recognized as a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable.”

    Corbett continued: “It’s clear from the Commissioners’ report that New Brunswick’s regulatory and oversight system is prone to conflicts of interest and is at best years away from being ready to handle shale gas. If we spend 90% of our effort and New Brunswickers’ ingenuity focused on building the clean energy transition then we’d all be much better off than continuing an endless conversation about fracking.”

    Corbett concluded: “The moratorium was the smart public policy decision in 2014 and it remains the right public policy well into the future. The Commissioners outline the crossroads our province — and the world at large — is facing, and it’s hard to imagine a future for new shale gas development in a world committed to protecting our families from climate change. Our best bet for creating jobs right now in New Brunswick is through energy efficiency and clean power technology. That’s the road we need to take, and it’s the road that doesn’t put our drinking water or communities’ health at risk.”

    The report will be available on the Commission's website.

    Read the submissions the commission received from groups and individuals here.

    Read the commissioners’ blog here.

    To arrange an interview, contact: Jon MacNeill, Communications Director. Office: 458-8747; Cell: 261-1353; Email: jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • Community Groups Respond to Government's Shale Gas Blueprint

    New Brunswick Oil and Natural Gas Blueprint

    Wishful Thinking about Our Future

    The government’s blueprint is not a plan for the future; it is the history of a past to which we cannot return. It was forged in an alternate reality created by fossil fuel companies, banks and PR firms. No outside information may pass into this reality. How else can we explain the following about the plan?


    It ignores the worldwide alarms from scientists, global financial and energy institutions, and the world’s military and intelligence establishments that climate change is the most serious threat to our existence, our financial systems, and our security. Yet, the blueprint bases our future on shale gas and tar sands, two of the worst emitters of greenhouse gases.


    It ignores the lack of public health studies about shale gas, and disregards the serious warnings raised from the studies that do exist.


    It ignores implementing many of its own Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations for baseline health studies, and relegates others to a ‘will be considered in the future’ status.


    It ignores adequately addressing some recommendations by simply claiming they are answered in the ‘Rules for Industry’. Those concerning fracking fluid disclosure, well testing and setbacks clearly are not.


    It ignores the fact that insinuating the newly created Energy Institute into matters formerly handled by health professionals will only deepen public mistrust.


    It ignores the calls from New Brunswick health professionals, including doctors, nurses and cancer and lung associations, for a moratorium until studies can be done.


    It ignores the extensive record of air and water pollution that has occurred everywhere shale has been produced, regardless of regulations, including ignoring data from industry’s own records showing a high frequency of well failures.


    It ignores the facts that alternative energies such as wind and solar are the fastest growing parts of the energy sector and are supplying increasing amounts of energy and good long-term jobs at competitive costs - everywhere else in the world but here.


    It ignores the growing number of economic studies that show that local communities do not profit from shale gas, and that most fare worse than similar non-shale communities on virtually every socio-economic measure.


    It ignores the growing number of financial and petroleum analysts who have taken the measure of shale gas through industry records and judged it to be a bubble that will soon burst. They question its longevity and its business plan.


    It ignores the growing number of countries, states, provinces, regions and municipalities (including many in New Brunswick) that have instituted bans or moratoriums on shale gas.


    And, most troubling of all, it has ignored the voices of its own citizens.


    It ignored a 2011 petition with 20,000 signatures, and a recent letter from groups representing more than 50,000 people calling for a halt to shale exploration.


    It ignores the growing number of diverse social, labor, professional, environmental, health, political and citizen groups that continue banding together to oppose shale gas.


    It ignores its treaty duty to do real consultation with First Nations, and ignores its own call for public meetings. It even ignores the well-researched public comments from the alleged ‘listening tour’ conducted by Dr. LaPierre.


    Instead it has listened to the shale industry exclusively, and kowtowed to its needs, whether by not punishing lawbreakers like Windsor Energy, or by improperly granting license renewals to SWN on the flimsiest of excuses.


    It has listened to industry trade groups like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, whose language, deceptive advertising, disinformation, and meaningless phrases like, ‘best practices,’ show up in the government’s blueprint and website.


    It has listened to Dr. LaPierre, a biologist with no demonstrated expertise on shale gas, who sits on the board of NB Power and channeled their wishes in his report. In return he was rewarded with the patronage job of chairmanship of the publicly funded Energy Institute that he, and he alone, had proposed a new government entity that will cost taxpayers a million dollars in its first year.


    It has listened to the self-interested banks via former premier Frank McKenna, who represents TD Bank – a major investor in Transcanada’s pipeline business, and a bank that makes fortunes from oil and gas mergers and acquisitions.


    It has listened to Hawk Communications, a public relations firm it hired with at least $200,000 of taxpayer money, not to improve communications, but to help sell the LaPierre report.


    In short, to govern in New Brunswick is to live in a self-contained universe with no links to the outside world. Only in such a place could the government’s blueprint be deemed a serious approach to the issues facing both New Brunswick and the earth.


    Therefore, we call again for a halt to any exploration and production of shale oil or gas, until such a time that the citizens have had a chance to examine in depth all the factors surrounding it. Only then can they explicitly reject it, or proceed with it after understanding all of its implications.

  • Déclaration de l’AAGSNB concernant le discours du Trône de M. Higgs

    Pour diffusion immédiate
    Le 21 novembre 2018

    FREDERICTON — Après avoir pris connaissance du discours du Trône du premier ministre Blaine Higgs, M. Jim Emberger, porte-parole de l’Alliance anti-gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick (AAGSNB), a déclaré que son organisation fait preuve d’un « optimisme prudent concernant la volonté et la capacité du gouvernement minoritaire d’agir judicieusement dans son approche vis-à-vis de nos mandats d’empêcher la production de pétrole et de gaz non classiques dans notre province et de ralentir le changement climatique par l’instauration d’une économie verte.»

    Dans son discours, M. Higgs s’est fortement prononcé en défaveur d’un « vol intergénérationnel », qui reviendrait à voler l’avenir de nos enfants. M. Emberger relève, cependant, que « l’exemple le plus flagrant de cet enjeu n’est pas le lègue d’un fardeau fiscal, mais le laisser-aller face au changement climatique, l’utilisation de ressources non renouvelables et d’autres problèmes liés à la dégradation de l’environnement qui priveraient nos enfants et nos petits-enfants de la moindre chance de bénéficier d’une vie de qualité ». À cet égard, il a cité de nombreuses poursuites judiciaires intentées dans le monde entier concernant le changement climatique par, et pour, des enfants en vue de défendre le droit des prochaines générations de jouir d’une vie décente.

    Dans son discours, M. Higgs reconnaît que le changement climatique est un problème causé par les humains, et que nous devons travailler à y remédier, notamment en passant à une économie « verte » viable et susceptible de créer des emplois; des positions que l’AAGSNB soutient depuis longtemps.

    Il réclame, en outre, la désignation d’« un fonctionnaire de l’Assemblée législative responsable de la science et du changement climatique, qui serait également chargé de rétablir l’indépendance du système de santé public récemment démantelé ». M. Emberger, qui partage ces positions, a déclaré que « l’examen des données scientifiques et des connaissances sur la santé public liées au climat et au gaz de schiste va pleinement dans le sens de nos positions concernant ces enjeux ».

    Finalement, M. Emberger a affirmé que les membres de son organisation étaient heureux de constater l’attention accordée à notre relation avec les peuples autochtones, ainsi que la mise en place de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation, mais a toutefois relevé que « comme toujours, il est difficile de savoir dans quelle mesure le gouvernement est sérieux, ou jusqu’où il est prêt à aller ».  

    Le ton conciliant du discours ainsi que la volonté affirmée de travailler avec les législateurs de tous les partis politiques pourraient constituer un bon moyen de gouverner, mais seulement si l’on permet la liberté des votes.

    En conclusion, M. Emberger a estimé que le ton du discours et les valeurs présentées étaient positifs, mais que les mesures qui en découleraient devaient être à la hauteur des balises établies; à cet égard, il a rappelé que « nous avons poursuivi en justice le gouvernement Alward sortant pour n’avoir pas tenu compte des données scientifiques, ni de la santé et de l’avenir de nos enfants, et que nous pouvons également poursuivre un autre gouvernement, y compris celui de M. Higgs. Nous espérons sincèrement que ce ne sera nécessaire ».

    Jim Emberger, porte-parole : cellulaire : 506 440-4255; courriel :shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com
    Denise Melanson, porte-parole (francophone) : cellulaire : 506-523-9467 ; courriel : inrexton2013@yahoo.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

  • 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
  • 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.

  • NBASGA Statement on Higgs’ Throne Speech

    21 November 2018

    FREDERICTON — After reviewing Premier Higgs’ throne speech, Jim Emberger, Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), stated that the organization is “cautiously optimistic about the willingness and ability of the minority government to act sensibly in its approach to our mandates of preventing unconventional oil and gas in the province and slowing climate change by developing a green economy.”

    The speech made a strong statement against ‘inter-generational theft’, or stealing the future from our children. Emberger noted that, “The most extreme example of this, however, is not an inherited tax burden. It is allowing climate change, the use of non-renewable resources, and other problems of environmental degradation to remove any possibility of a good life from the future of our children and grandchildren.” He cited the many lawsuits on climate change filed worldwide by, and for, children and their right to a decent life.

    Climate change was recognized in the speech as a problem that people cause, and that we must deal with, including by transitioning to a ‘green’ economy that will provide jobs and be sustainable, positions long maintained by NBASGA.

    The speech called for a “legislative officer responsible for science and climate change, and to restore the independence of the recently dismantled public health system”. Endorsing these positions Emberger stated, “We maintain that the examination of the science and public health knowledge concerning climate and shale gas firmly support our position on those issues.”

    Emberger said they were happy to see attention given to the relationship with our indigenous population, and implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but noted, “As always, it is hard to know how serious the government is or how far it’s prepared to go.”

    The speech’s conciliatory tone, and stated willingness to work with the legislators from all political parties, could provide a way to govern, but only if free votes are allowed.

    Emberger concluded that the tone and values expressed were positive, but that ensuing actions must live up to those markers, noting, “We sued the out-going Alward government over ignoring science, health and the future of our children, and we can sue an incoming Higgs government as well. We sincerely hope that won’t be necessary.”

    Jim Emberger, Spokesperson: cellphone: 506 440-4255
  • 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

  • Premier’s pursuit of shale gas is perverse [commentary]

    NB Media Co-op  February 2, 2024
    Jim Emberger, Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

    Premier Blaine Higgs’ continuing desire to exploit shale gas and LNG can only be described as “perverse,” which the dictionary defines as “showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences.”

    Higgs referenced LNG development during his State of the Province address on Jan. 25.

    “We have so many advantages with our direct access to the U.S. and international markets along with our rich natural resources including wind, minerals, water, forestry, and natural gas,” he said.

    “That’s where I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to punch above our weight and really impact global emissions.”

    His obstinate, decade-long pursuit of shale gas, can reasonably be called obsessive. It begins with his continuing promotion of gas even after citizens voted out the Alward government, which ran on the issue.

    As premier, Higgs has repeatedly attempted to revive shale gas by partially lifting the moratorium and by backing an LNG plant in Saint John, but these and other efforts never attracted investors. His campaign for gas continued even during the years when shale drillers were losing billions of dollars and going bankrupt.

    An award-winning public health report by then-Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Cleary, and evidence presented to the Commission on Hydrofracturing, and contained in a lawsuit against the government, catalogued the serious health dangers of fracking. Neither these nor a myriad of other serious negative consequences from fracking caused Higgs to reconsider his crusade for gas.

    But his current push for gas is particularly perverse, as it comes at a time when we must address the glaringly obvious matter of the climate crisis.

    We just experienced the warmest year and decade in 125,000 years, accompanied by record-breaking heat waves, droughts, floods, storms, melting poles and glaciers, and forest fires in every part of the world, totalling a record number of climate-related disasters that each exceeded a billion dollars-plus in damages. Climate tipping points may have been passed or are rapidly approaching.

    This was eye-opening enough that the nations of the world finally, and unanimously, agreed at the COP28 meeting to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems” and “reduce both consumption and production of fossil fuels in a just, orderly and equitable manner.”

    In real numbers, for gas, that means that by 2030 we must reduce usage by 42 per cent — minimum and that no new fossil fuel projects should be started. Canada signed a separate pledge to reduce the amount of methane (natural gas) emissions, as methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 in trapping heat, which can make it as bad as burning coal.

    The science journal Nature,summed up COP28 this way: “Phasing out fossil fuels is not negotiable. World leaders will fail their people and the planet unless they accept this reality. In the end, the climate doesn’t care who emits greenhouse gases…. This year’s climate extremes have made it all too clear that there is no truly safe level of warming, and every fraction of a degree matters.”

    In response, U.S. President Joe Biden just paused the approval of all new LNG export projects (Higgs’ biggest fantasy) in the States, until their true effect on climate change can be ascertained.

    The health effects of LNG’s large volumes of pollution on surrounding communities will also be investigated.

    Shale gas production itself has also been shown to severely stress public health systems, especially hospitals, in many ways. Studies have associated fracking with a long list of diseases, such as birth defects, leukaemia, asthma, and heart disease, among others.

    Fracking is a dangerous industry with lots of accidents, and the thousands of truck trips the industry requires are associated with increased traffic accidents. The heavy trucks also destroy roads and bridges, which cost millions to repair, while also hampering emergency vehicles. In a province with a struggling health care system and deteriorating infrastructure, shale gas is unacceptable.

    The gas industry requires experienced workers, many of whom will come from other provinces. Studies of communities that host shale gas development show the industry brings with it higher rents and a spike in evictions.

    New Brunswick is not unique: the financialization of real estate, a lack of government investment in public housing, and an over-reliance on market forces by policymakers has created a housing crisis. The gas workers could displace local residents, and they, like other immigrants to the province, would be blamed for a crisis they did not create.

    In a province trying to preserve its forests, fracking will segment forests with networks of roads, well pads, compressors, pipelines, and parking areas.

    And it must be noted that there is still no safe way to dispose of toxic fracking wastewater, nor has Higgs established any meaningful degree of social license in either settler or Indigenous communities.

    Can such devastating climate, health, social and economic consequences be ignored, as long as the province can collect some royalties?

    This is perverse and unacceptable, and Higgs’ business case is also unreasonable, as it is outdated and untrue.

    After a period of adjustment, caused by the war in Ukraine, the European gas market is now well-supplied. Europe uses only a small portion of its coal to generate electricity, and has long-standing plans to retire its coal plants. There is little evidence to show that they will require more gas from Canada to do so, as Higgs asserts. Also, as the research mentioned previously indicates, replacing coal with LNG brings no climate benefits.

    European gas demands have decreased and are predicted to continue decreasing. Some analysts predict a glut of gas in Europe, as it continues a huge buildout of renewable energy and heat pumps, making gas investments very risky.

    Premier Higgs would do well to follow the European model of renewables, heat pumps, and conservation into the future, rather than perversely clinging to an unhealthy and destructive fossil fuel past that must end.

    Years ago the International Energy Agency coined the phrase “the Golden Age of Gas.” It now states that the Golden Age “is over.”

  • Say no to shale gas in N.B. — send your letter today!

    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.

    report6 e1369185759795
    *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:

  • Support Indigenous Rights and Oppose Fracking

    Solidarity Statement Calling for New Brunswick Government to Respect the Right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent for Fracking in NB

    You may have heard that Premier Higgs is pressuring Wolastoqey and Mi'kmaw leaders in NB to allow fracking by threatening to withhold funding, and promising future, speculative funding derived from fracking in the province. Please see the reporting on these links.

    Higgs is tying new gas supply to pipelines, gas power plants, and as possible gas supply for an LNG project in the region, the Goldboro LNG project in Nova Scotia. All of these plans are without merit.

    NBASGA is part of the Stop Atlantic Gas Alliance, a coalition fighting LNG and fracked gas infrastructure in Atlantic Canada, and as always, we are standing in solidarity with indigenous communities who have long opposed fracking in NB, and against this violation of the principle of free, prior, informed consent, and against any moves to open up fracking in NB.

    If your organization agrees with those views, please read our short Statement, here:

    and sign your group's support on the Google form by clicking on Please Click Here to Add the Name of Your Group at the bottom of the page. (You may have to click again when the URL link appears).

    This sign-on is intended for groups, but is not limited to just environmental or climate groups.  Any organization - community, religious, medical/health, union, farming, forestry, political, etc. - large or small - that has an interest in climate change, public health, alternative energy, indigenous rights, or anything affected in any way by fracking, is urged to sign. If you are not empowered to do so, please bring this to your group's attention so they may sign. 

    It is important to show that fracking is not just an indigenous issue, and that there is no social license for fracking in New Brunswick. 

    Thanks for acting promptly by signing, and please pass this along to your email contacts, and via Facebook and Twitter posts.  If you have any problems with the sign-on process, please email Jim Emberger at shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB