The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes the release of the updated Forest Strategy from the New Brunswick Department of Energy and Resource Development. While there are still gaps in this plan, we are looking forward to concrete action on protected areas. CPAWS NB is encouraged that the strategy will re-instate conservation policies (over five years) for some old forests and wildlife habitats that lost those protections in 2014. The strategy recognizes the importance of the long-term conservation of biodiversity, and the need to involve and respect the knowledge and rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of CPAWS’s New Brunswick Chapter, says, “This Forest Strategy is a positive indicator of movement in the right direction for conservation. We are pleased that government has listened to those ecologists, wildlife groups, Indigenous Peoples and environmental organizations who made the case for increased conservation. We are cautiously optimistic that this shows stronger intention for habitat conservation, and protecting water quality and the forests’ role in flood prevention. However, we should note that it slowly returns habitat conservation to 2012 levels and is not an advance in on-the-ground conservation by itself. CPAWS encourages the government to go even further with their plans regarding climate change and forests, making sure that the resilience of the forests is paramount in all forest management decisions.”

Governments have been eroding protection of forest habitats. In 2012, the provincial government reduced the level of conservation forest from 31% of Crown forests to 28%. In 2014, against the advice of wildlife ecologists, that number was reduced even further to 23%. As a result, many of the provinces old growth forests have been lost to five years of forest cutting and road-building. Wildlife that need old forests, such as flying squirrels, American marten and pileated woodpeckers, have been put at risk.“

To protect the nature in our forests, more of the so-called “conservation forest” needs to be in protected areas. This Forest Strategy does not tell us what level of protection the habitats will be given. A modern Forest Strategy needs to have a serious insurance policy of significant areas where nature is permanently protected from industrial development,” says Roberta Clowater. “This would also help New Brunswick address the commitment Canada has made to protect 17% of its landscape by 2020.”

To date New Brunswick has protected only 4.6% of the province and needs to add more.

The Forest Strategy includes plans to increase transparency about the state of New Brunswick’s forests. While this is a positive move, it means the public will find out after the fact about the impacts of forest harvesting on habitats, water or other values. CPAWS New Brunswick believes the Strategy needs to actively promote cooperation among governments, Indigenous Peoples, industry, NGOs, researchers and the tourism sector. Together, with public input, we can develop forest management plans that manage risks, protect a wide range of forest values, and have consistent ways for the public to be involved.
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For interviews, contact: Roberta Clowater, rclowater@cpaws.org ; phone: 506-452-9902

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JIM EMBERGER COMMENTARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NoShaleGasNB.ca).
July 17, 2018, Fredericton – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released its annual Parks Report today, What’s Next: Parks and Protected Areas to 2020 and Beyond. The report recommends how governments in Canada – federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous – can work together to almost double our current protected areas to achieve our international commitment to protect at least 17% of our landscape by 2020, and to plan for the longer-term work needed to reverse the catastrophic and ongoing decline in nature. Canada has the biggest opportunity in a generation to protect nature – and this report provides a roadmap for action.

All jurisdictions in Canada have committed to work together to achieve the 2020 protected area target. Added to the $1.3 billion investment in conservation in the 2018 federal budget, we have an unprecedented opportunity for Canada to safeguard nature in the spirit of reconciliation between Indigenous governments and Crown governments, and between all peoples in Canada and nature.“In New Brunswick, our government does not have a target or action plan to add new protected areas, and our province is noticeably behind compared to all other parts of the country,” says Roberta Clowater, CPAWS New Brunswick Executive Director.

“With political will and a bold action plan, New Brunswick can step up and help Canada reach our goals. Immediate opportunities are to establish the Restigouche Wilderness Waterway, and protect our remaining old forest habitat, provincially significant wetlands, coastal mudflats, and natural areas in our drinking water watersheds.”

Diverse voices across the country are now calling for action on protected areas, and momentum is growing. With 2020 right around the corner, people are asking, “can Canada do this?” “Can our country almost double the protection of our lands and freshwaters in 2 years?” The answer is YES. In the report, CPAWS identifies places in each jurisdiction where a considerable amount of collaborative work has already been done on proposed protected areas.  With the 2020 target fast approaching, CPAWS makes the following recommendations -- that federal, provincial, and territorial governments:
  1. Demonstrate their commitment to almost double Canada’s protected areas by publicly announcing the areas they intend to protect by 2020 to contribute to meeting the target;
  2. Develop a western science and Indigenous knowledge-based plan by 2020 for completing an effective network of interconnected protected areas that will act as a foundation for conserving nature in the face of climate change;
  3. Make a clear commitment to adhere to recognized standards for the protection of nature, including those developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas;
  4. Ensure conservation funding from federal Budget 2018 is allocated primarily to support the creation of new protected areas by federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments and other partners; and
  5. Support Indigenous governments’ work to create Indigenous protected areas.
The report includes recommendations for specific actions in New Brunswick, including developing relationships and partnering with indigenous communities for the Restigouche Wilderness Waterway, and engaging with local communities to support protection in Restigouche and in ecologically important forests, beaches and rivers on Crown land.CPAWS is ready to work with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments on protecting our most iconic landscapes, the wildlife that call them home, and the habitat that supports us all.

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Read the full Report; read the Executive Summary
For interviews, contact: Roberta Clowater, rclowater@cpaws.org ; phone: 506-452-9902
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NBASGA now has its own Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NoShaleGasNB/.  We’ll be using it several times a week to share reputable information/news/research/videos on the oil and gas industry (particularly in Canada) and its impact on communities and climate change.

Here’s what you can do:
  1. ‘Like’ the page and ‘Follow’ to ensure you receive the latest posts  (buttons are under the banner)
  2. Invite your friends to join it (there’s a ‘Community Box’ for this in the sidebar)
  3. Share our address with your email lists and let your own groups know about it. Ask them to do the same as what we’re asking you to do.  We need to do more than preach to our choir, so please share beyond just our normal friends and allies.
  4. Engage with and share the posts on your own Facebook page, and on other pages on which you may participate (if they’re relevant – such as politician pages).
  5. If you’re a Twitter user, tweet about the posts.
  6. Share any links that you come across to Canadian research or news items on fracking or climate change.
  7. Comment-Comment-Comment! Comments show community involvement. In particular, comment strategically as a means to deliver additional information so we can raise the discussion level with added value (we want it to deliver more than just expressed opinions or complaints, etc.)  Consider how you might hold a conversation with another group member in the comments section that organically delivers as much or more information than the actual post/news link and drives the post to the top of newsfeeds.
We have limited time/resources to make an impact before the election and your participation is imperative.   This is our best chance of spreading the word. Your efforts to make this successful will be much appreciated.
Le RENB est très excité de partager ce que nous espérons accomplir cette année ! Voici un bref aperçu de notre plan pour appuyer des groupes environnementaux au cour de l’année à venir. Jetez-y un coup d'oeil !

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