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

    CCNB logo HR
    FREDERICTON —
     Lois Corbett, Executive Director, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement about climate change legislation. She is available for comment.

    “I’m pleased the province has followed the Conservation Council’s advice, and that of the Auditor General, by enshrining climate change targets in law. It is not clear, however, that climate fund the bill sets up will go far enough to protect the health and safety of New Brunswick families and communities already suffering from extreme ice storms, hurricanes and flooding caused by climate change.

    There are no new incentives, financial or otherwise, to innovate, reduce pollution or change behaviours. By toeing the status quo, the government has missed its goal of helping N.B. transition to a low-carbon economy and create jobs.

    It is an uninspiring follow-up to last December’s climate change action plan, which was a smart road map for climate action and job creation that was among the best in the country. And I sorely doubt it will meet the bar set by the federal government.

    Instead, we have legislation that largely maintains the status quo and sets us on a race to the bottom when it comes to protecting the health and safety of New Brunswickers and taking advantage of the economic opportunities that come with ambitious climate action.

    There are some good things in the bill: it requires the Minister to report on how the money in the Climate Change Fund is spent every year; it requires the government to report annually on the progress of its Climate Change Action Plan; and it enshrines in law the government’s carbon pollution reduction targets.”

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    Recommended Links: To arrange an interview, contact:Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, 238-3539 (m) | 458-8747 (w) | jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • Make your Earth Day count a little more this year. Speak out for climate action in New Brunswick!

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    From intense rain, wind and ice storms bringing flooding and power outages, to hotter days and seasons bringing dry summers and ticks, a lot of us are feeling anxious and on edge about climate change in New Brunswick.

    We need strong leadership from our provincial government to do everything it can to protect our families’ health and communities’ safety from the effects of climate change and extreme weather we’re already seeing today.

    This year, make your Earth Day count a little extra by writing Premier Blaine Higgs about your concerns and your call for serious action on climate change.

    We’ve made it easy for you to speak out. Use our letter-writing tool below to let the Premier know where you stand and what you want.Our pre-written letter includes recommendations for smart climate solutions. We strongly encourage you to add to this letter with your own personal story of how climate change makes you feel and how it has affected you and your family.

    Letter button

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

    CCNB

    Media Advisory

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

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

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

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

    -30-
    Media inquiries:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    The report is available on the NB Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing website.
  • 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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Flood 2019

    The sky is clear and the sun is punishing.

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

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

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

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

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

    This is just life now.

    An (un)real scenario 

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

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

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

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

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

    The bad news

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

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

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

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    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.

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    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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

    JIM EMBERGER   COMMENTARY
    Telegraph Journal  June 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    This is simply, and provably, false.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More information on this project, including a detailed research report and maps showing current and projected forest composition within the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, is available at http://www.fundy-biosphere.ca/en/home/forests-of-the-future.html.
     
     
  • Rio+20: the Road to Sustainability

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

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

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

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

     

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

  • Scott Vaughan

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

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

  • Special edition of the NB Naturalist available!

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

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

     

    Vol 44 No 3 Nov 2017 P1 3

     

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

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

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

    There's a great new internet resource that anyone working on climate change issues will find handy.  This look at the global world gives a good idea of exactly what is going on. The intro video is one and a half minutes long and fascinating to watch. 

    Check it out by clicking here!

     

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

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

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

    International Climate/Environmental quarreling:

    Durban – another international meltdown!

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

    Ongoing Updates from Durban

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

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

  • Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Jim Emberger,Commentary, Telegraph Journal   September 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Leaking methane gas damages the climate for everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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