Halifax’s environmental community has its eyes firmly on Copenhagen, where 15,000 representatives from 192 countries have gathered to negotiate the world’s response to climate change. Those who stayed home are finding other ways to make their voices heard, in a two-week series of protests, vigils, and workshops.
The Ecology Action Centre and Sierra Club teamed up to get things rolling on Monday, with a five-metre high oil barrel, which they brought to MP Peter Mackay’s office. “Peter is not representing Nova Scotia on this,” says Mark Butler, EAC’s policy director. Instead, he says, the federal government is worried about protecting the oil industry, especially the Alberta tar sands project.
Gretchen Fitzgerald, director of Sierra Club Atlantic, says that Haligonians are with the environmentalists and want better representation on climate change. “It was amazing to see how many people on the street nodded their heads when we said oil is what’s driving the agenda in Copenhagen.”
Environmental groups’ vitriol isn’t for all politicians. The EAC plans to give Nova Scotia Premiere Darrell Dexter an award for his absolute emissions cap on the electricity sector. “I would encourage Stephen Harper to take advice from the Premiers that will be in Copenhagen,” says Cheryl Ratchford, EAC’s energy coordinator.
In February, Environment Minister David Morse announced proposed regulations requiring Nova Scotia Power to cap greenhouse gas and other air pollutants at 9.7 million tonnes by next year, 8.8 million tonnes by 2015, and 7.5 million tonnes by 2020, a reduction of 2.5 million tonnes from 2007 levels.