Attention News Editors: Here is some background that may be helpful in reporting on Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle’s comments today about a carbon-pricing system for New Brunswick:
To date, Canadian jurisdictions that have announced or implemented a system for pricing carbon include Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and, now, New Brunswick.
In June 2017, New Brunswick’s Auditor General delivered a substantive review of the province’s climate change plan, including recommendations to turn policy intentions into on-the-ground work to protect homes and communities from what she called “one of the greatest challenges for communities, governments and corporations in the coming decades.” Among other things, the review called for an aggressive timeline and full details on how the government plans to execute the 118 actions laid out in its Climate Change Action Plan.
New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan, released in December 2016, contained all the elements for effective climate action in N.B., including commitments to Premier-led governance, target-driven policies, and sources of funding to support programs for low-income families, homeowners, and industry. It also included several measures called for by the Legislative Select Committee on Climate Change, including legislating carbon pollution reduction targets and energy-efficiency improvement targets, and phasing out coal from electricity production and phasing in more renewable energy like solar, wind, biomass and hydro.
One month after the climate change plan was released, New Brunswickers experienced a sobering example of climate change impacts at home with the January 2017 ice storm that led to two people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning and nearly 300,000 homes and businesses left without power, some for up to 13 days. NB Power estimates the damages to its infrastructure at $30-million, making it the most expensive restoration in the utility’s history.
New Brunswickers are keenly aware that climate change is already happening in their communities in the forms of more extreme ice storms, hurricanes and flooding events. The Ice Storm Review 2017, released in August 2017, provided a snapshot of climate change-related extreme weather events in New Brunswick, including but not limited to:
- Hurricane Arthur in July 2014, which brought torrential rains and 100-km/hour winds that caused road closures and washouts and significant infrastructure damages across the province. The total damages were estimated at $12.5 million.
- A Nor-easter in December 2014 which impacted 56 roads with flooding or washouts across several regions, with impacts primarily concentrated in the Moncton region. Damages totalled $10.3 million.
- Extreme flooding and storm surges in December 2010 which resulted in $13.8 million in damages from flooding in Charlotte and York Counties, and $3 million in damages associated with storm surges affecting the east and northeast coasts of the province.
To arrange an interview, contact:
Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, 238-3539 (m) | 458-8747 (w) | email@example.com