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N.B. Conservation Council wants Climate Change Plan legislated sooner than later

Conservation Council wants Climate Change Plan legislated sooner rather than later
The Auditor General’s Report indicating New Brunswick isn’t on track to meet its 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets calls for the province to legislate renewable energy initiatives, something the government isn’t prepared to do just yet. Jeremy Keefe has the story.

On the heels of New Brunswick Auditor General Kim MacPherson recommending the provincial government’s climate change strategy be legislated, environmental groups are calling for the law to be enacted immediately, something the province isn’t ready to commit to just yet.

Last December, Brian Gallant announced the province’s Climate Change Plan with an expected phase out date of 2030 for coal-fired energy.

While MacPherson said the province is headed toward hitting its targets in the short term, it lacks specific details and commitments that make goals for 2030 and 2050 achievable.

READ MORE: New Brunswick to phase out coal, put price on carbon in new climate plan

“Unless you have a road map, unless you have a schedule, unless you have a work plan,” said Lois Corbett, executive director of the New Brunswick Conservation Council. “It’s just pretty words.”

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Corbett applauds the Auditor General for the recommendation to enact legislation that would make the Climate Change Plan and its initiatives a legal matter and believes doing so would make the reaching the targets more realistic.

“When you put it in law it becomes part of our democracy and our working government and it’s harder to overturn,” Corbett explained. “Modern day targets need to be enshrined, backstopped in legislation.”

New Brunswick’s Green Party Leader was thrilled when Gallant and his caucus committed to reduction strategies several months ago, but wants to see those promises followed through.

“We really need it now,” David Coon said

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READ MORE: N.B. climate change committee recommends open, transparent carbon tax fund

“I’d like to see the implementation plan released before the end of the month and announcements about financial incentives, loan programs and so on to help us save energy and switch to renewables this year.”

Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle indicated the recommendations made by MacPherson will be adopted, but tabling legislation on meeting long-range targets isn’t something they plan to do in the immediate future.

“Right now we’re working on doing the carbon pricing and things like that and in the next two years we are seriously considering that.”

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