August 31, 2015 5:09 pm
Updated: August 31, 2015 5:53 pm

Greenhouse gas emissions fall 26% in Atlantic Canada, reflection of slow economy: report

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WATCH ABOVE: A report is outlining how the slumping Maritime economy is actually improving the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. Global’s Laura Brown reports.

FREDERICTON – Greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 26 per cent throughout Atlantic Canada since 2004, compared to a four per cent decline nationally, according to a new report.

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The report by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) found that while it’s good news for the environment, it’s also a reflection of the region’s slow economic growth.

“There could be upwards of a one quarter reduction of GHG emissions as a result of some of the pulp and paper mill closures in New Brunswick, also closures in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Nova Scotia,” said senior policy analyst Fred Bergman.

APEC released the numbers Monday, studying the impact between 2004 and 2013, during which time Canada’s GDP grew by 18 per cent, but only 10 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, electricity production accounts for the majority of our GHG emissions.

The report also found that between 2004 and 2013, emissions from electricity fell by 54 per cent in N.B. and 34 per cent in N.S.

Green MLA David Coon said it’s because of the price of oil.

“When the price shot up, we stopped using oil for generating electricity, which eliminated 2.5-3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Wind farm in Nova Scotia. File/Global News

File/Global News

READ MORE: Reality check: Have greenhouse gas emissions decreased as the economy grows?

NB Power has lowered their dependence on oil from 35 per cent in 2001 to one per cent today.

Thanks to that change, NB Power has dropped their carbon dioxide emissions by 70 per cent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 96 per cent.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have committed to reducing GHG emissions by 10 per cent below 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Coon calls this goal “inadequate,” despite the fact he’s not even sure we can meet the goal unless New Brunswick has a better strategy.

“We need to tackle it. We need to do it now. There needs to be a particular focus now on transportation emissions,” he said.

As of 2015, 28 per cent of N.B. and 25 per cent of N.S. electricity is supplied by renewable sources, like wind.

READ MORE: Canada sets new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions

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