Government not making any promises about beefed up action on climate change for New Brunswick

CBC News
April 13, 2015

Brian Kenny not making any climate change promises
Environment minister and Premier Brian Gallant attending national summit in Quebec City this week

Environment Minister Brian Kenny is not making any promises about beefed up action on climate change for New Brunswick coming out of a national summit in Quebec City this week.

Green Party Leader David Coon, who is also attending the summit of premiers and environment ministers from across the country, is hoping Premier Brian Gallant will use the event as a launching pad.

Kenny has previously said the government will do more to reduce greenhouse gases, but is keeping expectations of the summit low.

"We want to go there and observe and listen to what people have to say," he said.

"We're trying to get more information on, you know, what's the best way for us to move forward with New Brunswick. As a province we want to play an important role combating climate change. I'm looking forward to attending and learning more about some of the options that could work or could not work for New Brunswick."

Ontario and Quebec are expected to announce a cap and trade deal on carbon emissions today.

New Brunswick currently has the third highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in Canada and is set to miss its 2020 reduction commitments by a wide margin, CBC News reported last month, based on government documents obtained under the Right to Information Act.

The province has pledged to cut emissions 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, which would be 14.5 megatonnes of greenhouse gases.

But if New Brunswick carries on "business as usual," provincial greenhouse gas reductions will reverse themselves and grow to 17,789 megatonnes of greenhouses gases by 2020, 10 per cent higher than 1990 levels, according to documents.

Coon says New Brunswick needs to beef up its climate change action plan by summer.

"I see this summit as kind of the beginning of the new premier's engagement and new government's engagement in not only cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but really fundamentally looking at how to move New Brunswick away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy," he said

Coon is calling for legally enforceable caps for big emitters and a price on carbon.

The summit, hosted by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, is intended to allow the provinces and territories to share their experiences and visions about the costs and benefits of greenhouse gas reduction and the rollout of various measures to do so, and to discuss adapting to climate change.