climate change

Tories are incoherent on ‘regional social license’

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 13 Sept 2018

The freshly released Progressive Conservatives platform contains only a single sentence on shale gas, and leaves “regional social license” – mooted by leader Blaine Higgs in April – entirely unexplained.

Even without adequate detail in the platform, the very concept is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

The shale gas moratorium’s first condition sensibly dictates that, before social license can be granted, citizens must receive “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water.”

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Keep fracking ban to slow climate change

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 24 July 2018

It was gratifying to see a recent article acknowledging that climate change has already changed our weather, and that weather-related problems will become ever more frequent and severe (“Not .. our grandparents’ weather, July 14, A2).

In the piece, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, David Phillips, laid out in no-nonsense terms that New Brunswickers will be challenged to adapt to our increasingly confused climate.

Warnings and good advice about adapting are a necessary discussion, but the real conversation we need to be having on climate change is about ‘preventing’ the growing threats from a changed climate.

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PC’s need clear energy and climate policy

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, June 14, 2018

Last winter the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance asked the provincial party leaders for their views on energy, climate change, and the fracking moratorium. Everyone but the Progressive Conservatives responded. Additional requests to PC Leader Higgs for evidence to justify his plans to lift the moratorium, and to explain the process for lifting it, went unanswered.

Fortunately, Mr. Higgs was the first speaker in the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s series featuring party leaders, so last week I went there seeking answers.

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PM must stop push on Trans Mountain

Commentary by JIM EMBERGER – Telegraph Journal April 26, 2018

Protestor at Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally, Vancouver, BC Sept 2017

In Canada, there is consensus that climate change is a threat, and certainly many of us have experienced its first effects – bizarre weather, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, droughts and displacement in the case of the Inuit. The World Health Organization tells us that climate change is the greatest threat to public health in this century.

Our federal government tells us we must severely limit the rise in the earth’s temperature. The Trudeau government even persuaded the international climate gathering in Paris that its proposed warming limit of 2°C was too risky. Canada asked to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Image: William Chen/Wikimedia Commons

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Respond to climate change, while we can

Commentary by Jim Emberger
Telegraph Journal January 12, 2018
(en français, Huffington Post, January 21, 2018)

During the recent frigid weather in North America, the University of Maine Climate Change Institute wrote that the average temperature for the entire earth was 0.5°C warmer than normal. The Arctic was 3.4ºC warmer.

Likewise sobering is that the first assessments of 2017 show it to be the second-hottest year on record (after 2016), and the hottest year that wasn’t enhanced by an El Niño event. Reports of disastrous floods, droughts, heat waves, melting polar ice, wildfires and high temperatures that reach the limits of human tolerance became commonplace.

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Risks of reorganizing Public Health

by JIM EMBERGER COMMENTARY  (Telegraph Journal/Miramichi Leadre, 29 Sept 2017)

On Aug. 31, the New Brunswick Minister of Health announced the transfer of many of the public health functions of the Office of Chief Medical Officer of Health to other government departments.

The government’s stated reasons are to streamline operations, increase efficiency, save taxpayer money and increase uniformity with other Atlantic provinces. This issue is now back in the news with a national group of doctors, affiliated with the Canadian Journal of Public Health, opposing this reorganization plan for New Brunswick.

However, then-minister Victor Boudreau did not furnish examples or explanations as to how these goals would be accomplished. The new minister, Benoît Bourque, must do so, because common sense and experience suggest that this move will have exactly the opposite effects.

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Latest News & Studies on Fracking

Fracking and Water Contamination

Many of you may remember Dr. John Cherry, the internationally recognized expert on groundwater contamination, whom NBASGA brought to New Brunswick to testify at the Commission on Hydrofracturing. His testimony was very influential, as he pointed out that no place in the world was actually monitoring what happened to methane (and other substances) that leaked from shale gas wells. Thus, regulations were meaningless, as no one knew where methane was going or what effects it was causing.

Now, Dr. Cherry and colleagues have released the first study to track methane’s voyage through an aquifer, and they conclude that:

“methane gas leaking from energy industry wells can travel great distances in groundwater and pose safety risks, contaminate water and contribute to climate change.”

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Recent news on fracking

In encouraging local news, The Environmental Advisory Committee, established by the Provincial Government of PEI to create a new Water Act, has recommended banning fracking in PEI.  This conforms to the trend of the last few years, as the case against shale gas and fracking grows with each new study, regardless of topic – water contamination, public health, earthquakes, climate change, etc.

Recently, news on fracking has taken a decided about-face from the many stories previously singing its praises. The truth is beginning to emerge.

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Creating a regenerative economy in N.B.

Commentary by Keith ‍Helmuth, Woodstock Sustainable Energy Group
Telegraph Journal, 18 March 2016

What kind of economy will New Brunswick have in the new energy future? A renewable energy platform is clearly coming and new energy platforms create new economies. The extraction and refining of hydrocarbons launched a new energy platform, which has created the modern economy and its many benefits. However, the growth of the hydrocarbon economy has now developed to such a scale that it has burst through the safe operating limits of earth’s geochemical and ecological boundaries, with increasingly negative effects. This is an unwelcome thought. We used to think that hydrocarbon energy paved the road to a better life. Up to a point, this idea made sense, but a threshold of reversal has been crossed.

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NBASGA Statement on the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Report

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance provides the following statement about the report issued last Friday by the New Brunswick Commission on Hydrofracturing.

The Commissioners recognized that the discussion about shale gas had to be looked at in the contexts of the immediate need to combat climate change, the lack of a coherent and forward-looking energy policy for the province, and the inadequacy of current institutions and procedures in New Brunswick to deal with either shale gas or with the new realities of a low-carbon world.

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