Time to shift from use of fossil fuels

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To the editor,

What we already know about the poor prospects from pursuing fracking runs the gamut from scientific evidence about climate disruption to fracking's irreparable negative effects on ground water and human health.

It is amazing that the public's time and money is being wasted on a so-named public consultation. The Michael Gardner report that pegs fracking revenues at $10 million a year is just the instrument to divide the N.S. public between those who buy into the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs and those who care about the short and long-term risks of this style of extracting unnatural gas, climate change or even the precautionary principle.   

Need an economic perspective for where $10 million ranks in the N.S. economy? 

You can find it in a June 2012 report by Gardner Pinfold on the economic impact of the Nova Scotia beverage alcohol industry, a comprehensive analysis of the economic impacts based on the operations of the beverage alcohol industry in the provincial economy for the most recent fiscal year for which real (not imagined) data is available (2010-2011).

The executive summary tells us that the beverage alcohol industry, including the NSLC, agency stores the province’s agency stores, private wine and specialty stores (PWSS), craft and commercial breweries, wineries, distilleries and wholesalers and agents, is responsible for 5, 013 full-time equivalents (FTEs) and for every direct FTE, another 1.1 FTEs in spin-off employment is created elsewhere in the economy.

The gross domestic product (GDP) is valued at $200 million and Nova Scotia’s beverage alcohol sector generated more than $760 million in total revenues from the sale of beer, wine and distilled alcohol beverages through all retail channels, licensed premises and exports. Some of the portion of that industry probably even relies on pure, uncontaminated groundwater as a starting point for creating its product.

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Canada's energy subsidies are $34 billion each year in direct support to producers and uncollected tax on externalized costs with $8.1 billion to unnatural gas alone.

Germany long ago identified getting off fossil fuels as a priority. It has about 350,000 people employed in the renewable energy industry. By 2008 it had already met its 1997 Kyoto commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 21 per cent by 2012. Why are we wasting time pretending that the fossil fuel mentality is a success story relative to what social, cultural, environmental and economic values Nova Scotians hold? Who is really calling the shots and stopping real investment in energy efficiency, wind and domestic solar hot water, hot air or photovoltaic?


Peggy Cameron



Organizations: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Geographic location: N.S., Nova Scotia, Canada Germany Kyoto

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