We are all living in a climate emergency. The purpose of the carbon tax is to immediately reduce emissions and fund clean energy projects. The way the New Brunswick government is spending carbon tax revenue is absurd! And these are the facts.
The recent $5 million disbursed to nuclear developers, ARC, to subsidize the potential development of a nuclear reactor (SMR) highlights obvious program deficiencies. Not only is the technology expensive, but there is no guarantee that it can even be developed, and if it can, the timelines to develop SMRs don’t match-up with the immediate need to reduce emissions. Not to mention, it infringes on Indigenous rights (see Wolastoq Grand Council Resolution on Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste on Traditional Wolastoq Territory).
In addition to spending money poorly, New Brunswick left more than a quarter of the revenue ($10 million) unspent. Seems a bit fishy when there are literally tens of thousands of people in the province living in energy poverty (making trade-offs between heating their homes and putting food on the table). Investing in energy efficiency retrofits for these folks would not only reduce emissions and improve quality of life but also be a significant saving for the healthcare system by improving the mental and physical health of those living in energy poverty. And if not energy efficiency, why not spend the money on utility solar PV, wind, and storage solutions, or rebates on electric vehicles?
There’s no excuse. Carbon tax money is needed and needs to be better managed. An independent social and environmental body should oversee disbursements and/or the feds should better enforce provincial spending. It would also make sense to re-examine carbon allowances and prices. Big polluters need to pony up significantly more money per tonne to adequately curb emissions. Hey NB government, this is getting ridiculous!
Greg Goubko has co-developed capitalization strategies for community-benefitting projects since 2014. They currently work at Sierra Club Canada Foundation as the Clean Energy Campaigner for Atlantic Canada, and is collaborating with diverse groups of people to co-produce and co-execute a just and inclusive energy transition. Greg also participates as a core representative of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB).