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!
27 FEBRUARY 2017
Lessons from Canada’s Scientific Resistance
by ANDREW NIKIFORUK
Andrew Nikiforuk is a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, a book on the brute-force technology of hydraulic fracturing. It won the 2016 Science in Society Book Award from the US National Association of Science Writers.
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As the Trump administration prepares to censor inconvenient environmental science, Canada, of all places, offers some shocking illustrations of the tyrannical trend—and lessons on how to mount an effective resistance.
The issue is not the government censorship of science in general. Rather, it’s an issue of attacks on federal funding for projects that might limit harmful economic activities, such as mining and oil drilling.
Canada defined the trend well. Between 2006 and 2016, the government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff.
Harper, a right-wing figure with a penchant for authoritarian politics, also imposed draconian communication protocols on federal scientists. To the dismay of magazines such as Nature, many Canadian scientists found themselves unable to speak to the press. Soviet-like political handlers even accompanied federal scientists to international gatherings.
The closure of a remote freshwater research station proved a turning point. It galvanized one group of scientists, who then began a highly effective campaign against government attacks on environmental science.
During the battle, scientists learned how to communicate more effectively with the media and the public; how to build public support for their work; and how to overcome scientists’ fears of advocacy.
Lessons from the campaign have special relevance to US scientists now facing a new administration hostile to environmental and climate science, as well as for Canadians who now have, on paper, a more science-friendly administration—but one that has done little to reverse the damage done by its predecessor.