N.B. must plan, lead on climate change future, says MLA
Select committee made 85 recommendations on climate change for province
The chair of the New Brunswick's select committee on climate change says he hopes, over time, all 85 recommendations made will be implemented to help combat climate change.
"This issue is real, it's real, everyday we see climate change, the effects of climate change and we have to plan for the future," said Carleton-Victoria MLA Andrew Harvey.
The MLA told Information Morning Fredericton the targets set for 2030 are 40 per cent below 1990 levels and will remove the equivalent of five megatonnes of carbon emissions from the system.
N.B. now produces approximately 15 megatonnes and the select committee recommends removing a total of 10 megatonnes by 2050. Harvey said this can be done through reductions in industry, electrical generation, transportation, agriculture and natural resources.
But Harvey said the province also has to adapt to climate change and find ways to deal with inland and coastal flooding and rising sea levels.
Province has to be smart
When asked how the province's carbon footprint could be reduced without having a negative impact on the economy, Harvey said the province will have to be smart about it.
"If there's going to be a price on carbon — when there is a price on carbon — and the mechanism, how that may look, cap and trade or carbon levy tax or a combination, then we have to be upfront with New Brunswickers and say listen, this money is going to a dedicated fund, transparent, reports to legislative assembly, lots of checks and balances on it and it's reinvested back into those goals to reduce our emissions and to adapt to climate change."
Harvey continued saying if the money was invested wisely it could create economic opportunities across the province.
"There's going to a challenge there with the cost of carbon obviously but it's an operating cost with a business so we have be smart in how we reinvest that money."
Consumer will pay
Harvey admitted there would be a cost at the consumer level but said it would be small if spread out across the province.
Harvey said the province has to change and there are opportunities to absorb carbon and adapt to climate change.
"There's positive and negatives, there's no doubt about that."
When it comes to forestry and the report's recommendation to invest more in mixed forests, Harvey said government will have to provide a strong leadership role on it.
"On the particular issue, they have to set the tone. The government owns half the ground in New Brunswick, the crown land and so they have to lead by example and say these are alternative methods of sustainable forestry."
Harvey said large forest companies told the select committee they are willing to adapt.
"They have to adapt because they have to have product 30 and 40 years down the road that they can harvest."
Harvey said a climate change fund would be created from a carbon pricing mechanism that will be administered by an advisory council made up of stakeholders from across the province. He described it as being a similar model to the Environmental Trust Fund but on a larger scale.
"There's lots of good ideas out there from across the province."
With files from Information Morning Fredericton