As reported by Tim Bousquet in the Halifax Examiner…
“Yesterday, the Dalhousie Board of Governors agreed to bring in a “external financial consultant” to see if the university’s investment funds can be divested of fossil fuel-intensive industries.
This is a partial reversal of an 2014 vote by the governors against divestment.
The student group Divest Dal is taking credit, as well they should. It’s a big day for student activism.
After yesterday’s vote, Divest Dal sent out a statement:
The student-led campaign Divest Dal has been calling on the university to divest its endowment fund from the top 200 fossil fuel companies since 2013. The Dalhousie BoG voted against divestment in 2014, but since then Divest Dal has worked with the Dalhousie Senate and an ad hoc Senate committee on divestment to move forward on divestment. Following a nine-day campout on the Dalhousie quad in November 2017 in protest of Dalhousie’s investments in fossil fuel companies, Divest Dal was able to address the BoG at the November 29th, 2017 meeting. At the same meeting, student Board representatives put forward a motion proposing the third-party fund search be voted on at the following meeting.
Alex Ayton, the Divest Dal member who addressed the BoG in November and student representative on the Senate ad hoc committee on divestment states: “This fund search is the crucial first step towards changing our investment strategy and aligning it with our institutional values. We know divestment is possible and we hope conducting this fund search will make it clear to the Board that divestment is possible at Dalhousie, too. Students have worked hard on this motion and we’re glad it was passed. We’ll continue to hold the Board accountable and continue to advocate for a commitment on divestment.”
Another Divest Dal member, Laura Cutmore, explains why the timing of this vote is important: “This is an exciting moment for the Canadian divestment movement. The first two Canadian universities committed to full fossil fuel divestment last year and today’s decision is an important step forward towards divestment at Dalhousie. At the recent Dal 200 launch, President Florizone mentioned that Dalhousie was modeled after the University of Edinburgh – a university that committed to full fossil fuel divestment just last week. On the 200th anniversary of the founding of our university, we have the opportunity to make history and show true leadership on the most important issue of our generation.””
K’JIPUKTUK [HALIFAX] – The provincial government’s proposed carbon pricing system may actually allow the province’s emissions to increase, and won’t support the province’s most vulnerable.
That’s what was heard during the Capping Carbon | Trading Talk panel series, hosted by the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and its partners. Six public events were held throughout Nova Scotia between March 9 and June 29, 2017.
The series has been the only public engagement on carbon pricing in Nova Scotia since the design of the system was proposed. To date, the Nova Scotia Government has not conducted public consultations or information sessions, although a small group of industry, academic and NGO stakeholders have been consulted.
Nearly eight months after the Nova Scotia Government announced that they would implement a cap-and-trade system by 2018, many key details have still not been released, and stakeholders are expressing concerns about the proposed carbon pricing system.
“For us, the main goals for a carbon pricing system are to reduce emissions and stimulate innovation while supporting the most vulnerable in this province. Unfortunately, we think this proposed system will do none of that,” said Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
The series heard from panelists across various sectors – including transportation, built environment, agriculture, forestry, and energy. The majority of speakers indicated that the cap-and-trade system, as proposed, is not likely to encourage innovation or meaningfully reduce emissions. The politically motivated tendency to set emission reduction goals too low was also a central point raised by many participants.
“For us, the main goals for a carbon pricing system are to reduce emissions and stimulate innovation while supporting the most vulnerable in this province. Unfortunately, we’re concerned the proposed system will do none of that,” said Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
Dr. Kate Ervine was a panelist on two of the panels in the series. “Rather than learning the lessons offered by the mistakes of cap-and-trade schemes around the world, the government of Nova Scotia seems to be borrowing from their worst features. This will leave us with a plan that simply can’t deliver in a world that grows hotter by the year,” said Ervine, and Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University whose research focuses on cap-and-trade systems.
A summary and discussion of the findings from the Capping Carbon | Trading Talk panel series is available here.
“This program will likely be in place for decades to come, and it’s important that we don’t create an ineffective, harmful system simply to meet minimum federal requirements,” said Thomas. “We need to get this right, and believe in ourselves and make decisions that benefit Nova Scotia in the long term.”
In November 2016, Nova Scotia announced that they would implement a cap-and-trade system in 2018 to comply with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. In March 2017, Nova Scotia Environment released the Nova Scotia Cap and Trade Program Design Options discussion paper; EAC responded with an official position statement detailing concerns.
For further information, please contact:
Energy Campaign Coordinator
The province of Nova Scotia announced the development of the QEII Community Outpatient Centre. The Bayer’s Lake location is meant to be more convenient for citizens, compared to its downtown location, but many dispute this. Long-time ESS TA Jeff Blair created maps showing the troubling commute times to the new site in Bayer’s Lake. Read the full story here.
On Friday, March 24th, Halifax Water released its request for proposals for tenders (RFP) for Phase 1 of the Sullivan’s Pond Storm Sewer Renewal. This RFP contains information about the design for this project, including where daylighting of the Sawmill River will occur and the expected timeline for this work to take place.
It is exciting to see how the upper part of this project will look and, in the months ahead, the Ecology Action Centre will continue to work on ensuring that the area around the soon to be daylit sections have elements that increase the biodiversity of the area and offer an interesting place to visit. Due to the sustained support for daylighting the Sawmill River from people throughout HRM, there are some very positive elements to this project. There is also much to be done for the lower half of the river. As discussions on how to redesign the intersection of Portland Street and Alderney Drive continue, there may still be additional opportunities for daylighting more of Sawmill River.
For more information and what this area should look like in the summer of 2018, please read more!