“A good challenge” to government: Corbett on AG climate change report

Our Executive Director, Lois Corbett, appeared in stories by several media outlets responding to the Auditor General’s report on climate change action in N.B.

Corbett was quoted in articles by The Canadian Press, the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, a pair of CBC articles (Legislate reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions in N.B., says auditor general, and Conservation Council says Kim MacPherson is right to be concerned about unlegislated targets), and spoke on Global News and CBC Radio’s Information Morning Saint John. Later in the week, Corbett echoed her comments to Global News New Brunswick (N.B. Conservation Council wants Climate Change Plan legislated sooner than later).

On the radio, she told host Steven Webb that Auditor General Kim MacPherson’s report laid down the gauntlet for the provincial government to come forward with a detailed plan on how it will achieve its carbon pollution reduction targets and green economy initiatives.

“(MacPherson) and her team presented a very good audit and asked exactly the right questions: is it going to be enough? When and how will the government  get it done? And what’s the impact of getting it done versus not getting it done?” Corbett said.

“I think that was a good challenge she laid in front of government,” Corbett said, adding MacPherson likewise pressed — but could have pressed harder — NB Power to move faster in determining its plans for the future of the coal-fired generating station in Belledune, and how to deal with climate change impacts such as power outages from extreme weather.

“My personal opinion is she was maybe a bit too gentle with the utility. When she says things like, they have no plan, it (the cost of pollution and carbon dioxide) is not part of the planning cycle yet, I’m going, ‘Really? Really, guys?’ Everyone else is considering the impact of this major pollution… so let’s get real.”

Weight in law

Corbett praised MacPherson for calling on the government to put its carbon pollution reduction targets into law, as legislators in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have done.

“When you put it into legislation … it helps take away the fuzziness of good intentions in a policy document,” Corbett said, referring to New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan. “I think the folks who pulled these policy items together are 100 per cent sincere about an intention to do this stuff, but when you put it in a piece of legislation, it becomes very serious, it becomes the law, and that’s the step we need to take here.”

Corbett was similarly quoted in articles by CBC News and the Telegraph-Journal.

“We couldn’t agree more and might go even a bit further — let’s see the legislation introduced the next time the Legislative Assembly meets, and let’s hope all parties vote for its speedy adoption,” Corbett said. “If we want to catch this boat, the time for the government and NB Power to move is now. Not in 2018. Not 10 years from now.”

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