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‘If not now, when?’: N.B. capital city declares climate emergency

The City of Fredericton has declared a climate emergency.

It was approved at Monday’s regular meeting of the council after a small group submitted a petition signed by 500 people and 12 civil society, businesses and religious groups.

Fredericton is the fourth and last capital city on Atlantic Canada to adopt the declaration.

“This is something we need to change to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and basically be better stewards for our communities,” said Kevin Dollar, chairman of the Environment Committee. It’s just a way for the community to recognize that they’re in tune with it.” Councilor of the 7th Ward.

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According to the wording, the declaration “has significant implications, recognizing the severity and urgency of the climate crisis and urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions by empowering residents and city officials to dramatically reduce their emissions.” It signals to the public a deep commitment to elimination: reducing our carbon footprint by increasing funding and mobilizing resources to address the crisis.”

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It was supported by the presentation “If not now, when?”

Dollar agreed, saying that more needs to be done to reduce the risks facing communities in Atlantic Canada, especially regarding climate change.

The federal government made a similar declaration in 2019, but there were no declarations from state governments as it aims to renew its commitment to investing in shale gas extraction and small modular reactor research. .

“There are things the state has to do to benefit and help the state’s interests,” Dollar said of whether the state will replicate the city’s efforts.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he understands the climate is changing, but expressed concern over the state’s reliance on external energy sources, instead of looking at energy supply solutions. have questioned what it would mean to declare a climate emergency.

“But what does that mean? Does that mean every consumer in the state will have to pay more for energy,” he said.

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick Greens Call on State to Declare Climate Emergency'

New Brunswick Greens urge state to declare climate emergency

Higgs referred to an incident in which Hydro-Québec cut power to the provinces due to a cold spell that affected both provinces in February.

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“We had to shut down a lot of the windmills because the wind was so strong,” he said.

The New Brunswick Conservation Council was pleased with the proclamation, but said the state would do well to learn from its capital’s governance.

Moe Qureshi, CCNB’s Manager of Climate Solutions, was on hand when the motion was approved.

“The message from scientists around the world is immediate action. We need to take steps towards solutions, and solutions mean cleaner strategies,” he said. “We can’t go back to those days. When we think about this climate emergency, we need to stop burning things. There’s no reason to keep burning oil and shale.”

Qureshi said relying on creating SMRs that take up to 10 years to build will only set us back.

“I think New Brunswick as a whole needs to invest in a clean strategy,” he said.

Green MLA’s Megan Mitton has submitted a motion to declare a state climate emergency. This will be discussed next week.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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