New Brunswick’s fossil fuel plants responsible for provincial increase in planet-warming emissions

Traditional territory of the Wabanaki Peoples/Fredericton — New Brunswick’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 500,000 tonnes from 2021 to 2022 due to higher emissions from fossil-fuel-powered electricity generation.

The latest numbers from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s 2024 National Inventory Report show that New Brunswick’s planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions hit 12.5 million tonnes in 2022 — the latest year for which data is available — up from 12 million in 2021.

The detailed breakdown of emissions across all provincial economic sectors shows that the increase is entirely from New Brunswick’s electricity sector. A 600,000-tonne surge in emissions from electricity generation saw the sector emit 3.4 million tonnes in 2022, up from 2.8 million in 2021 — a 21 per cent increase.

Instead of decreasing coal use at a time when it is expected to phase out by 2030, New Brunswick has instead increased coal burning at the Belledune Generating Station by 33 per cent since 2021 and has also seen a 45 per cent increase in the combustion of refined petroleum products. However, a 36 per cent reduction was noted in natural gas combustion.

“Continuing to burn fossil fuels for electricity generation is not sustainable,” said Dr. Moe Qureshi, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s director of climate research and policy. “It’s time to transition away from fossil-fuel powered generating plants towards renewable energy, storage solutions and efficiency measures.”

Meanwhile, Canada as a whole hit its lowest greenhouse gas emission levels in 25 years, excluding pandemic years. This was primarily driven by significant reductions in the electricity sector following the coal phase-out. However, despite these reductions, Canada is still too reliant on fossil fuels, as oil and gas contributed almost one-third of the nation’s total emissions in 2022 — the most of any sector.

To keep up with the rest of the country, New Brunswick needs to embrace a reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity system with a substantial share of renewable energy sources. Prices for wind and solar generation are currently more economical than fossil fuels, and they continue to decrease each year. This transition will not only mitigate the environmental impact but also lead to job creation, an economic boost, and a more secure power grid, inspiring a brighter future for our province.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Corey Robichaud, Director of Communications, Conservation Council of New Brunswick | | 506.458.8747

Moe Qureshi, Director of Climate Research and Policy, Conservation Council of New Brunswick | | 506.458.8747

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