Comeau: carbon pricing just one tool in NB’s climate change toolkit

Louise Comeau, the former Director of Climate and Energy Solutions at the Conservation Council and current director of the University of New Brunswick’s Environment and Sustainability Development Research Centre, told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal in an Aug. 1 article that New Brunswick won’t hit its climate change goals without putting a price on carbon.

Comeau took issue with an analysis released earlier this summer by the National Energy Board which claimed New Brunswick has already met its target for carbon pollution reductions. The NEB report led to stories arguing the province didn’t need to introduce measures such as carbon pricing.

Echoing comments the Conservation Council’s Lois Corbett made in an earlier letter to the editor, Comeau told the Telegraph-Journal that while the province has met the federal government’s pollution reduction goal, it has not yet met its own goal — laid out in the province’s new climate action plan released December 2016 — of reducing carbon pollution by 35 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“Where we are today says nothing about where we are going if we take no further action,” Comeau said. “It is not the case that the government is going to apply a carbon price for a target it has already met.”

With the rise of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, flooding, forest fires an ice storms, Comeau said that putting a price on carbon is just one of many tools the province must use to mitigate the impacts of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.

“You should think of carbon pricing as part of the mix, it’s not the only instrument,” she said.

Comeau added that the province has to be transparent to the penny about where the money generated from a carbon price will be spent to reduce the impacts of climate change on communities and help grow a diversified, low-carbon economy in the province.

Comeau said a successful climate action plan will require a variety of measures, as laid out in the Conservation Council’s Climate Action Plan which she helped develop, including:

  • the phase-out of coal-fired energy,
  • programs to safeguard low income earners and seniors from rising costs,
  • incentives to encourage the public to retrofit their homes with energy,
  • incentives to encourage businesses to invest in cleaner technology,
  • incentives to purchase energy efficient vehicles and keep operating costs low,
  • lifecycle assessments of all infrastructure projects,
  • adding carbon requirements to all government projects,
  • the acceleration and implementation of New Brunswick’s upcoming Smart-Grid Network,
  • the implementation of a carbon tax and transparency on how revenue generated a carbon tax to help build public confidence around climate mitigation efforts.

Read the the complete story here.

Recommended links: