Just the facts: the Auditor General’s climate change recommendations

Fredericton, June 20, 2017 – New Brunswick’s Auditor General, Kim MacPherson, released the first volume her annual report this week, including a 43-page chapter on climate change action in New Brunswick.

According to the report, New Brunswick is on track to meet its 2020 target for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, but will miss its 2030 and 2050 targets unless a clear plan, funding, and timelines are put in place for the action items in the New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan.

MacPherson pointed out three main concerns in her report:

  • There is no province-wide risk assessment to evaluate all the areas the province is vulnerable to climate change.
  • NB Power has yet to set a specific greenhouse gas reduction target.
  • There is uncertainty around the future of the Belledune coal-fired plant, despite the federal government’s plan to phase-out coal-fired electricity by 2030.

Here, we bring you the 10 recommendations MacPherson included in her report, and the response from government departments (in italics).

Recommendations for government departments:

1. Greenhouse gas emission targets be legislated, as specified in its Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), similar to other
Canadian provinces such as Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

  • The province will consider the recommendation as more information on carbon pricing emerges. (ETA two years)

2. Set specific GHG emission reduction targets for NB Power.

  • The province has committed to regulating GHG emissions from electricity generation in a manner that will ensure provincial targets are achieved. (ETA 2 years)

3. Finalize a plan that describes how and when the actions identified in the Climate Change Action Plan will be taken and how the Department intends to monitor and report on the progress.

  • The Climate Change Secretariat has commenced developing an implementation plan including how and when each of the actions in the 2016 climate change action plan will be implemented. (ETA: end of 2017)

4. Develop a provincial climate change risk assessment that includes risk identification; risk analysis; risk evaluation; risk treatment and adaptation measures; and an implementation plan and monitoring.

  • The province will evaluate the need for a provincial climate change risk assessment. (ETA two years)

5. Update the Climate Change Action Plan Progress Tracking System to reflect the changes in the most current Climate Change Action Plan. (*Note: The system has not yet been updated to reflect the goals in the December 2016 CCAP.)

  • The Department is preparing to update the CCAP progress tracking system to both improve the system itself and to cover all actions in the 2016 climate change action plan. (ETA: end of 2017)

Recommendations for NB Power:

6. Conduct a corporate-level climate change vulnerability assessment.

  • NB Power is expected to conduct this vulnerability by June 30, 2018.

7. Develop an implementation plan for adapting to climate change after the completion of its vulnerability assessment.

  • The implementation plan is expected to be released by Dec. 31, 2018.

C. Recommendations for NB Power regarding Belledune Generating Station, include:

8. Perform a comprehensive analysis on the potential impact of phase-out of Belledune Generating Station.

9. Consult with the Department of Environment and Local Government on a proposed solution regarding the Belledune Generating Station.

9. Integrate the Belledune Generating Station phase-out analysis in its Integrated Resource Plan process to ensure it has the capacity to meet New Brunswick’s future electricity requirements while respecting energy efficiency and demand reduction programs.

  • NB Power is working with the Department of Environment and Local Government on various greenhouse gas scenarios and analysis related to potential reductions, including the phase-out of coal in 2030 and 2040. New Brunswick Power will plan to include greenhouse gas emission sensitivities in the next version of the Integrated Resource Plan. Once a decision is made, this information will be added in next version of the Integrated Resource Plan. (ETA end of 2017)

For more information on the Auditor General Report’s findings on climate action in New Brunswick:

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