Environment / Intergovernmental Affairs

NEG/ECP conference to be green event (09/09/09)

NB 1299

Sept. 9, 2009

SAINT JOHN (CNB) - The upcoming 33rd annual conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) is going to be an environmentally green event as a result of a collaboration between the departments of Environment and Intergovernmental Affairs.

The conference, to be held Sept. 14-15 in Saint John, has the potential to be, in effect, carbon-neutral when offsets are taken into account over one year.

"With New Brunswick as the host province, making the upcoming conference in Saint John a green event has been important to our government from the outset," said Premier Shawn Graham. "We will be promoting environmentally friendly practices, and we will also be discussing environmental issues as part of the agenda."

The conference brings together the leaders from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont as well as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.

"I am pleased that the organizers are taking the environment into consideration when making arrangements for this important conference," said Environment Minister Rick Miles. "When it comes to protecting and preserving the environment, all governments must lead by example. Staff from my department and the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs have worked closely with the organizing committee to ensure that every effort is made to reduce air emissions, reduce waste and conserve resources during this event."

As host, the Province of New Brunswick will be offsetting any greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cannot be reduced immediately - making the conference, potentially, a carbon-neutral event - by providing energy-efficient light-bulbs to delegates. Efficiency NB is working with organizers to provide some of the bulbs used in the offsetting. Organizers will also promote environment-friendly behaviours by:

"This is an excellent example of a government initiative to make its operations more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable," said Miles. "The offsetting of emissions created by this conference, and the use of hybrid vehicles from our government fleet, fits well with the goals of both the New Brunswick and the NEG-ECP climate change action plans to reduce GHG emissions from public operations by 25 per cent by 2012."

With the adoption of the NEG/ECP Climate Change Action Plan in 2001, the region was the first in North America to take formal action on climate change.

The conference provides a forum for sharing ideas and building on historic ties. It has long been active on environmental issues such as climate change, mercury contamination and acid rain.

The conference addresses many topics, including the environment, economic development, tourism, energy, fisheries, trade and agriculture.

09/09/09

EDITOR'S NOTE: A backgrounder follows. MEDIA CONTACTS: Jennifer Graham, communications, Department of Environment, 457-3700; Brendan Langille, communications, Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, 506-444-4594.

Backgrounder

Offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at
the 33rd annual conferenceof New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP)

The total GHG emissions emitted by the conference will take into account the travel distances and methods of transporting delegates as well as energy used in the hotels and venues. These GHGs, which consist of emissions from electricity generation, natural gas, propane, fuel and jet fuel, will be converted for calculation purposes into the equivalent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

It is estimated that a conference of this scope will generate about 115 t (tonnes) of CO2 equivalent. This will be offset by providing two energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs to each of the 300 delegates, for a total of 600 bulbs, with which they will be able to replace conventional incandescent bulbs upon their return home. As a result of this arrangement, the GHG emissions produced by the conference have the potential to be offset within one year.

09/09/09