Three Different Views on Climate Change

article by John Chillibeck
originally printed in the Telegraph Journal, 7 December 2015
Brian Keirstead says the main reason he’s in Paris at climate change talks is to listen, even if many of the views expressed clash with his own.

The Tory opposition critic from New Brunswick is against the province imposing carbon taxes to save the planet,in direct contrast to Liberal Premier Brian Gallant and Green party leader David Coon, who are also on the trip.

“Balance is good, and sometimes you can make a more informed decision on your own stand if you listen carefully to the arguments of others,” he said shortly after arriving Sunday with Coon on a direct flight from Toronto. They planned on meeting with the premier later in the evening in the French capital ahead of three days of international meetings to discuss New Brunswick’s approach.

“We all come from different directions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If we get out of the conference what I’m hoping we will, we may find a path that works for New Brunswick.”

The MLA from Albert said New Brunswick had to address rising global temperatures differently than a province like Ontario or British Columbia, which are far more urban and have different industries.

“We can’t have a cookie-cutter approach to fighting climate change.”

Coon was hoping the premier would lean on his expertise as an environmentalist, having spent 25 years working on climate policy and attended the climate change conference in Montreal in 2005.

“In New Brunswick, we need to begin overhauling our existing climate action plan to begin a transition to a carbon-free economy,”he said Friday before the trip. “Specifically one of the trickiest things is to figure out how to get emissions down from transportation. It’s a tough one, emissions from trucks, planes and cars. I want to know how other jurisdictions have achieved a drop in these kind of emissions.”

Coon said he also wanted to see a legally binding target negotiated in the global treaty that’s meant to get greenhouse gas emissions under control.

Previous efforts at past conferences have largely failed to rein in emissions and halt global warming. It’s unlikely Gallant will side with Coon on most of his climate change views – while he supports a carbon tax, he’s a big booster of the Energy East pipeline project that would send crude oil in millions of barrels a year to Saint John. Coon is dead-set against Energy East.

Gallant wasn’t available for an interview Sunday,but his office issued a press release. On Monday morning, the provincial government is paying to host a breakfast at the France-Canada Chamber of Commerce, which is based in Paris.

Gallant will deliver a speech to the audience and take questions on the opportunities that exist for New Brunswick and the European Union regarding trade and economic growth.

“Promoting trade and commercial opportunities for New Brunswick businesses is a key element to create more jobs in our province and grow the economy,”Gallant said in the prepared statement .“With the new Canada-European Trade Agreement, our province and France have a unique opportunity to collaborate on increasing trade among our two jurisdictions.”

Founded in 1956, the Chamber of Commerce France-Canada’s mission is to foster commercial and industrial exchanges between the two countries.

The New Brunswick delegation is scheduled to meet afterwards, followed by seminars and presentations most of the day.

On Tuesday, they will attend a focus on “cities and subnationals,” meant for regional or provincial governments.The speakers will include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

After more high-level meetings and presentations, the delegation will travel back to New Brunswick Wednesday evening.

Keirstead and Coon both said they wanted to attend one of the memorial sites for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people before they fly back home.