[Sust-mar] Nova Scotia government's green vehicle purchase program

Larry Hughes lhughes2 at dal.ca
Sun Sep 23 20:03:26 EDT 2007

At the recent Power of Green Conference, Premier Rodney MacDonald's
announcement that the province will only purchase vehicles in the "top 20
percent of their class for fuel efficiency" was met with adulation
from both politicians and environmentalists alike.  The premier assured
Nova Scotians that this program would help the province reach its goal of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
What the premier and his supporters fail to understand is that these
actions are, sadly, too little, too late.  Such a program is too small to
make a significant impact on Nova Scotia's greenhouse gas emissions and,
given what is now known about the effects of anthropogenic emissions, much
more significant reductions are needed by 2020. 
To make matters worse, by focusing on greenhouse gas emissions, albeit an
import issue, the premier is overlooking the problem that is about to take
the province by storm: Nova Scotia's overwhelming reliance on imported
energy.  The province is ill-prepared for rising world energy prices and
production shortfalls.
If the premier was at all serious about reducing Nova Scotia's greenhouse
gas emissions--and for that matter, helping reduce our reliance on
imported energy--he would have taken the politically unpopular decision of
reducing provincial highway speeds to 90 kilometres per hour.  According
to the US Environmental Protection Agency, this single action could reduce
fuel consumption and emissions by up to seven percent. 
It will take more than five-second sound-bites from the premier if Nova
Scotia is to weather the twin threats of climate change and security of
energy supply.

Larry Hughes, PhD
Energy Research Group
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2X4

v: 902.494.3950
f: 902.422.7535
e: larry.hughes at dal.ca
u: http://lh.ece.dal.ca

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