Fredericton (Dec. 16, 2019) — Over the next three days the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) will be acting as an intervener in the Alberta Court of Appeals reference case on carbon pricing (under the umbrella name of Climate Justice). It will be supporting the position that the federal government has the right to address climate change by setting national minimum standards, including a price on carbon.

NBASGA will be sitting in opposition to the government of New Brunswick, which is intervening on the side of Alberta. The government has already been on the losing side of appeals court decisions on this issue, in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Despite this, NBASGA spokesperson, Jim Emberger, said, “Alberta (and New Brunswick) continues to argue that an existential threat to the planet is not a basis for making a permanent interpretation of constitutional order. It is an astonishing claim to make against the backdrop of the COP25 conference in Madrid, and study after study showing that the effects of the climate crisis are much worse, and approaching much faster, than we thought.”

Climate Justice’s submission to the court notes that the, “reality is that nothing is permanent if governments do not act meaningfully in addressing an existential threat.”

The federal government is also obliged to act under the ‘Precautionary Principle’ in environmental law. It states, “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

Therefore, by necessity, the federal government must have the tools, including carbon pricing, which is widely acknowledged as being effective, to address an existential threat.

This issue is also framed as justified by Section 7 of the Charter of Rights, wherein the government guarantees the rights of life, liberty and security of the person.

Emberger noted that, “Without the right to a climactic system capable of sustaining life, our other rights, privileges, and powers are of little use or consequence. These arguments we use are increasingly acknowledged internationally in courts and in international agreements to which Canada belongs.”

Regardless of the outcome of this case, NBASGA will also be an intervener at the Supreme Court in March for its decision on this issue.

Read more: New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance backs federal carbon pricing at Alberta’s top court.