Hedderson: Time for climate change talk is over

Jamie Bennett
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Tom Hedderson, the provincial government’s Environment and Conservation minister, is seen during his address on climate change Wednesday as part of ACAP Humber Arm’s Coastal Matters series at Grenfell Campus.

CORNER BROOK  As a veteran politician, Tom Hedderson may know a thing or two about rhetoric and spin.

But when it comes to climate change, the provincial government’s minister of Environment and Conservation is convinced the time for talk is over.

Recently appointed minister responsible for the Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading, Hedderson delivered an address as part of ACAP Humber Arm’s Coastal Matters series Wednesday at Grenfell Campus Memorial University.

His remarks focused on a new government initiative called Turn Back the Tide. The campaign is designed to give citizens and businesses the necessary information to help make a greener province by helping reduce carbon footprints and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The centrepiece of the campaign, according to Hedderson, is a website which gives tips to make communities and households greener, as well as such tools as a carbon calculator and interactive house which shows ways to make various parts of one’s home more energy efficient.

“Climate change is happening and it requires a serious, sustained global response,” Hedderson said. “All must do their part, especially here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have to be open to partnerships to make sure we are woking together the best we can.”

Hedderson’s sister lives with her family on Staten Island, N.Y., a site ravaged by sea surges in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

He said while the devastation may seem distant, hurricane Igor — which caused $186 million in damages and left 22 communities in a state of emergency in 2010 — proved similar things can now happen in this province as well.

A coastal area in which 90 per cent of citizens live near the sea, our communities are open to storm surges and erosion as sea levels continue to rise. Hedderson presented statistics which showed after just six severe storm or hurricanes per decade from 1900-1986, there were 11.5 per decade from 1990-2009 and a startling three have already occurred since 2010, suggesting the trend will only get worse unless drastic measures are taken.

“We’ve lost a few roads because, especially during the winter with no ice, the ocean surges are really taking a toll on our coastal areas,” he said, pointing to destruction witnessed in Daniel’s Harbour as coastal homes slid towards the sea. “It’s real, it’s happening and we must do something about it.”

Projects such as Muskrat Falls, Hedderson said, will help meet the increasing demand for green energy in the coming years.

He anticipates the government will continue to focus on renewable resources in the future, with an emphasis on innovation in order to encourage more energy efficiency.

“A key thing we can do as a government is raise awareness,” he said.

“It’s about caring for our province for future generations and also, about the real benefits that can be brought about today. Taking action to be more energy efficient can save homeowners and businesses money, as well as tackle climate change.”

For more information, visit www.turnbackthetide.ca.

Organizations: Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Staten Island

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Recent comments

  • M.Leblanc.
    November 09, 2012 - 08:46

    I have no idea what the message is of the any of the above comments. Rent yourselves an Al Gore movie! But anyway, good on ya Tom Hedderson. It's about time that Newfoundland, Canada, North Amercia, the WORLD, takes a serious look at global warming, rising seas and their temps, and green clean renewable resources. It's only been DECADES in the making you guys no big deal ... better late then never to actually BELIEVE statistics and do something!

  • David
    November 08, 2012 - 13:10

    You gotta hand it to politicians...they sure can identify an bogus pseudo cause-du-jour that they don't have to accept any accountability for results on! I'm hoping someone will soon take up the cause of (my alleged) decreasing orbital spin of the Earth.....waht could be more important than that? It could mean dozens of fewer nights per year fro everyone! And you can die if you don't get enough sleep! Forget fixing health care...this is serious!

  • max
    November 08, 2012 - 11:50

    Lies ,damn lies and then there's statistics. Lest anyone thinks otherwise, I am a supporter of this present govt; what I am trying to figure out is when did King Cnut arrive in St.Johns.

  • Keith
    November 08, 2012 - 09:05

    I guess this is a part of the spin doctoring we will start to hear, as we have to justify Muskrat. It seems that the people in government are saying to hell with their constituants, we know best and Muskrat will go ahead without our input. Ms. Dunderdale and your band of misfits, you have a four year mandate and to go beyond taht you have to have permission from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. After all I think we still live in a democracy the last time I checked.

  • meemine
    November 08, 2012 - 06:58

    This news editor is complicit in spreading the needless CO2 panic: *In all of the debates Obama hadn’t planned to mention climate change once. *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses. *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations. *Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier. *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    • Yodel
      November 09, 2012 - 08:41

      "needless CO2 panic" ? It's science. You know, e=mc2 and whatnot? Anyone who isn't worried about the state of the enviroment is uneducated, ignorant, and just plain ol' delusional. Science people!!