Mayors taking part in challenge to fight climate change (09/02/26)

NB 236

Feb. 26, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Six provincial city mayors and the minister of environment will fight against climate change by participating in the Mayor's Eco-Challenge 2009 for the next three months. The announcement was made today in Fredericton by Environment Minister Roland Haché.

"I am very pleased to see these municipal leaders being responsible stewards of the environment," said Haché. "I will also be part of the challenge, and I want to challenge all New Brunswickers to get involved in the fight against climate change. As we all know, greenhouse-gas emissions are the main cause of climate change. We should all look at our daily lives to see what changes can be made to help reduce our own emissions, because a healthy environment will be an important cornerstone to achieving a self-sufficient New Brunswick by 2026."

The challenge is a partnership between the New Brunswick Lung Association (New Brunswick Climate Change Hub), the Cities of New Brunswick Association, Efficiency New Brunswick, and the Department of Environment. Its aim is to draw attention to the importance of climate change awareness, and to encourage action at the municipal level.

Haché and mayors from Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Bathurst, Campbellton and Dieppe are making a commitment to reduce their carbon footprints by adopting a number of environmentally friendly habits, including using alternative or public transportation, conserving energy, reducing waste, and setting an example for neighbours.

The challenge will begin with mayors and the minister choosing a family member, friend or colleague to participate with them. Participants will then calculate their current carbon footprint, then choose commitments out of a list of possibilities to help reduce that footprint.

Participants will track and monitor their carbon footprints through a combination of methods, including logs and database entries. The public will be able to follow the participants' progress by visiting the New Brunswick Climate Change Hub's website.

Efficiency NB President and CEO Elizabeth Weir praised the mayors for their leadership.

"I thank the mayors for their commitment, and I wish them much success in the eco-challenge," Weir said. "They are setting an excellent example for residents in their own communities and throughout the province."

Kenneth Maybee, president and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association, said that the mayors' commitments to reducing their carbon footprints sends the right message.

"We all need to do our part to help fight air pollution and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions," Maybee said. "When many individuals take actions such as switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs or not idling their vehicles, they not only help curb climate change, they also help improve air quality. This benefits all New Brunswickers, especially the one in five who already suffers from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory diseases."

Sandra Mark, executive director of the Cities of New Brunswick Association, said that she hopes this challenge will raise awareness among all New Brunswickers.

"The Cities of New Brunswick Association is very pleased to be participating in this challenge," Mark said. "We encourage members of all communities to help create a healthy New Brunswick."

The Government of New Brunswick launched the five-year New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan in June 2007. As a result, greenhouse-gas emissions will be reduced in the province by 5.5 megatonnes annually by 2012. With the addition of federal initiatives, the plan will result in a reduction of New Brunswick's greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. The achievement of these reductions will position New Brunswick to realize further reductions of 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Information on New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan 2007-12 is available online.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Vicky Deschênes, public affairs, Department of Environment, 506-453-3700; Kenneth Maybee, New Brunswick Lung Association, 506-455-8961; Tracey Somers, Efficiency NB, 506-643-2860; Sandra Marks, Cities of New Brunswick Association, 506-693-0008.