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VIEW: ‘New Brunswick could have its own sustainable green economy’, say Harden-Donahue and Michaud

Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy campaigner with the Council of Canadians, and Julie Michaud, climate action coordinator with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, have an opinion piece in today’s Telegraph-Journal.

They write that, “World leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark this December to negotiate the next phase of a global climate agreement. This must be a strong, equitable agreement based on recent science which indicates that deep emission reductions are needed.”

“According to Environment Canada, 80 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions are predominantly associated with the production or consumption of fossil fuels for energy. In New Brunswick, the production of electricity and refining of petroleum accounts for just over half of all greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The conventional approach to job creation favours the development of polluting and export-oriented energy megaprojects, but these have significant environmental and social impacts. …In contrast, the creation of an energy system based on local renewable resources offers a wealth of job creation possibilities without adding to the atmosphere’s carbon burden.”

“When it comes to green energy, so far, all major wind energy developments in the province have been by large foreign multinationals. These public-private partnerships carry with them all the usual risks of other P3s: over the lifespan of the project, they cost taxpayers many times more than would publicly owned projects, and they keep essential pieces of infrastructure out of public control.”

“At the recent Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, the premiers reiterated their desire to export green energy into the U.S. market. …Already, New Brunswick sends around $500 million out of the province for purchases of imported fuels each year. In return for this, it gets high levels of greenhouse gases, air pollution, radioactive wastes and an increasing dependence on imported energy. Consider also that NAFTA’s proportional sharing rules oblige Canada to continue exporting energy to the U.S. in the same proportion of total supply sold over the three previous years.”

“An energy system based on local renewable resources has enormous potential to ignite local economies. Public and community ownership of green energy production provides the means to prioritize local green job creation and provincial energy needs.”

“For these reasons, New Brunswick should establish a new renewable energy public utility or create a renewable energy arm of NB Power. The utility could provide logistical support and funding to renewable energy projects, making direct investments in publicly owned wind, solar, biomass, and tidal developments.”

To read their full op-ed, please go to http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/830852.