Article by John Chilibeck
Photo by John Chilibeck/Legislature Bureau
“Putting a price on pollution is not in itself going to have a significant impact on pollution in the short term,”-David Coon
FREDERICTON • With a new carbon tax likely to be in place by next year, the leader of New Brunswick’s Green party says the provincial government hasn’t done enough to assure people that the revenues will be reinvested in helping them save energy.
The Liberal government released a climate change strategy last December that outlined a blueprint for combating global warming, but few details have been released on how a carbon tax will work.
“Putting a price on pollution is not in itself going to have a significant impact on pollution in the short term,” David Coon said in an interview. “What will have significant impact is using the revenue to help people reduce their energy costs in their homes, in businesses and industries and in regards to transportation. So that needs to be laid out for people so everyone knows where we’re going and why we’re doing it.”
Coon said as energy costs go down, and the carbon footprint shrinks, people can save money and the planet at the same time.
On Wednesday, the Green MLA for Fredericton South issued a news release with five proposals to help New Brunswick reach its climate change targets. The province has already committed to cut carbon pollution by four million tonnes in the next 12 years. That’s the equivalent of the yearly energy use of more than 300,000 typical Canadian homes.
His ideas include providing zero interest loans to help people retrofit homes and businesses, and upgrade to heat pump, biofuel, and solar heating systems, and lending provincial support to municipal and regional transit systems, among other measures.
Last week, Premier Brian Gallant told the Telegraph-Journal there would economic and job opportunities for places like New Brunswick that pursue a greener economy.
“Nothing’s been decided, but any carbon pricing mechanism that is put in New Brunswick is going to be one that respects our reality and challenges and economic opportunities,” he said in the interview. “It’s a very complex subject, as you can imagine, so we are going to make sure we are going to do our due diligence and that we get a pricing mechanism that lets us transition to a low-carbon economy.”
He said there was no hard timeline for New Brunswick putting in a carbon tax, other than the warning from Ottawa that if provinces don’t start the process of introducing some kind of carbon pricing mechanism by 2018, it will impose one.