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Letters to the editor, March 15, 2018

These are the letters and comments from the print edition.


Sustainable centre

The article you posted outlining Nova Scotia's signing of the Nova Centre's lease is very quantitive ("Province finally signs lease for new convention centre," Reality Bites story by Jacob Boon, posted at March 5). Although the financing behind the building itself is an important topic that deserves public attention, I believe that the public also needs to be informed more on the qualitative aspects of the building. As an environmental science and sustainability student at Acadia University, I believe that environmental education is an important aspect of our society.

Your story says Nova Scotia and HRM are required to pay $10.76 million annually, over the next 25 years at a 4.25 percent interest rate. However, it's not mentioned that with these payments, government investment in sustainable building is occurring. The convention centre itself is over 12,000 square feet of space that is LEED certified. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design regulations certify this building as a gold standard. Not only is the city of Halifax implementing urban design, it's also financing sustainability. This will impact future generations and help to innovate new development within the city.

I have had the opportunity to tour the new building and saw natural lighting implemented through the majority of the facility. This is influential as it not only looks pretty but decreases the need for artificial lighting. This will have a large impact on the energy costs for the building. This may have cost the government more money initially but the payback that the community will see on energy revenue in comparison to the old convention centre is guaranteed to be substantial. Money we save on energy use within the building due to implementing LEED standards will eventually pay off the building itself.

Educating the general public on the qualitative features of the new convention centre gives environmental awareness, showing that the public that the city of Halifax is looking out for future generations by implementing sustainability, and providing a logical response to financial complaints. There is no doubt that the building itself is a large investment. However, if the general public understands more about the qualitative aspects of the governments' investments in the building, then they will be more likely to support financing these types of projects. —Jennifer Sexton, Bedford

C0² conundrum

David Suzuki is mistaken to say that my position that "CO2 is harmless plant food," is "anti-climate-science." It is, in fact, solid science.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the stuff of life, an essential reactant in plant photosynthesis on which all life on earth depends. That's why commercial greenhouse operators routinely run their internal atmospheres at very high CO2 concentrations. Plants inside grow far more efficiently than those in the outside atmosphere. Clearly, CO2 is not pollution.

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, a report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, cites over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies that noted rising productivity of forests and grasslands as CO2 levels have increased, not just in recent decades, but in past centuries.

Increasing CO2 levels pose no direct hazard to human health. Suzuki is also wrong to write that I doubt "the existence of human-caused climate change altogether." Humans obviously have an impact on climate when we replacing a forest with a parking lot and other 'land use changes.' And, yes, we probably do impact climate to some extent due to our CO2 emissions. However, no one knows the degree to which this occurs, let alone if it is dangerous. This is why the group I lead, the International Climate Science Coalition, advocates dedicating most climate finance to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change, no matter the cause.

Suzuki asserts that misinformation muddying the waters of the climate debate is "unconscionable." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. —Tom Harris, Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition

In last week's cover story—"Citizen Gus" by Jacob Boon—we misspelled Vicki Gabereau's name as Vicky. The Coast regrets the error.

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