New Brunswick

On climate change, voters choosing between feasibility and ambition, panel says

A recent Facebook survey asked New Brunswickers to identify their top issue in the Oct, 21 federal election, and climate change was the most popular answer. On Tuesday, our experts dissected the party platforms.

Panel fields readers questions on pressing election issue

A CBC New Brunswick panel fielded election questions on climate change Tuesday. From left, moderator Jacques Poitras, environment expert Louise Comeau and CBC News senior writer Aaron Wherry. (Angela Bosse/CBC)

Ambition or feasibility, which do you prefer?

That's the question voters are facing when assessing the federal political parties' plans to address climate change, according to a CBC New Brunswick panel on the hotly debated election issue.

A recent Facebook survey asked New Brunswickers to identify their top issue, and climate change was the most popular answer. On Tuesday, Louise Comeau, director of the Environment and Sustainable Development Research Centre at the University of New Brunswick, and Aaron Wherry, senior writer in the CBC News parliamentary bureau, fielded your questions on the matter.

The topics varied from transit to aid for retrofitting, forestry to youth activism, and you can watch the panel in full below.

Many of you said the environment was your main concern. Send us your questions about what the political parties are promising to do about it. 48:12

But the broad question of who has the best plan continued to surface.

Wherry said that with no clear, unified model that projects the effectiveness and cost of each party plan, many voters are left to lean on experts they trust and prioritize what's the best approach to climate change.

"You're in this, I think, odd point as a voter where you have to parse ambition and feasibility," he said.

Comeau said the Greens have the most aggressive plan, which would double the Paris agreement's 2030 target and hit net-zero emissions by 2050, while the NDP would be next with a pledge to also surpass the 2030 emissions reduction target. 

The Liberals committed to reaching the 2030 Paris target, which aims to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels, and then hitting net-zero emissions by 2050.

Louise Comeau is the director of the Environment and Sustainable Development Research Centre at the University of New Brunswick. (Angela Bosse/CBC)

The Conservative plan also promises to reach the Paris target, but, as Wherry noted, analysts are questioning whether emissions would drop at all under that party's plan.

"The Liberals are trying to carve out a middle path where they say, 'Yes, we're maybe not promising as much as the Greens and the NDP, but we think we can hit our target," Wherry said.

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