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The Policy Studies Centre at the University of New Brunswick released a report along with 10 key recommendations that emerged from the Symposium on Carbon Pricing in New Brunswick held in January, which was organized through the Policy Studies Centre at the University of New Brunswick in partnership with the New Brunswick Business Council.

The forum brought together a diverse group of 60 stakeholders from around the province including government, entrepreneurs, industry, seniors, environmental and social NGOs as well as academia.

The transition to a lower carbon emission New Brunswick through carbon pricing will require profound changes in the economy. The report highlights the complexity of putting a price on carbon in practice as it creates socio-economic risks if poorly executed and economic opportunities if “done right.”

“The Government of New Brunswick and our symposium participants agree on the long-term economic opportunities from taking action on climate change and the role of carbon pricing in providing incentives to change. Where our symposium participants expressed concerns about carbon pricing for the province, it is that the investment opportunities and revenues from carbon pricing for long-term economic and environmental benefits come at a cost to businesses, households and the provincial economy today,” said Herb Emery, the Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics at the University of New Brunswick.

Care must be taken by the Government in developing carbon pricing to ensure that the realization of future opportunities is achieved at minimum socio-economic costs today with a fair and reasonable distribution of those costs across New Brunswick businesses and households. The report identifies the concern of symposium participants that New Brunswick citizens require a higher level of carbon literacy to understand the implications for themselves and the economy.

Adrienne O’Pray, President & CEO of the NB Business Council, stated that ensuring that New Brunswick remains a competitive place to live and do business is a key consideration in the final policy decision.

“Aligning our design for carbon pricing with those jurisdictions with which New Brunswick does business is critical to remaining competitive. Some alternatives can actually grow wealth in the province which many symposium participants saw as real growth opportunity for the province.”

Ongoing and meaningful engagement with stakeholders about the design, investment in modelling of policy alternatives and demonstrating a willingness to learn the lessons from jurisdictions further down the path of carbon pricing is critical for developing a policy by 2018 that will be seen as the best option for New Brunswick.

The full report is available for download at the UNB Policy Studies Centre website.