August 13, 2021
(K’jpuktuk / Halifax)—This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("IPCC") released its Sixth Assessment Report calling for immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In May of this year, the International Energy Agency said no new oil and gas fields should be developed in order to reach net zero by 2050.
In light of these international reports and the commitments from all provincial parties to address the climate emergency, Nova Scotia's Offshore Alliance is calling on provincial parties in the Nova Scotia election to commit to formally ending offshore exploration and drilling and subsidies that support these activities.
“This is a measure of the sincerity of a party’s pledge to address the climate emergency,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “It will be a challenge to reduce our emissions, but further offshore oil and gas development will make it impossible.”
There is currently no oil and gas exploration or drilling in Nova Scotian waters; however, the provincial government continues to fund and foster the development of offshore oil and gas. The provincial government is a “mega sponsor” of an oil and gas conference in Morocco in 2022, the purpose of which is to better understand petroleum prospects in the Atlantic Ocean.
The fishing industry has led the way in protecting ocean areas from offshore drilling and seismic blasting, including the first moratorium on oil and gas drilling protecting the valuable fishing grounds of Georges Bank. The current moratorium on Georges Bank expires on December 31, 2022, and the provincial and federal government have yet to extend that moratorium.
“The extension of the Georges Bank moratorium should be a no-brainer,” states John Davis, Clean Ocean Action Committee representing over 9000 fishery owners, operators and workers. ”And with our planet experiencing catastrophic fires and flooding it is time to protect all of Nova Scotian ocean waters by extending the moratorium on Georges Bank, and formally ending exploration in other parts of Nova Scotia’s oceans. The world needs the high quality protein energy our oceans can provide, we do not need more hydrocarbons to burn. We have a responsibility to future generations."
“Ending oil and gas exploration and extraction in favour of major job creation in renewable development and energy efficiency is not a fringe idea – international scientists, economists, and 85% of people in Nova Scotia support it,” says Marilyn Keddy. “Members of the Offshore Alliance recently commissioned a poll that shows 4 out of 5 people in Nova Scotia support a huge move away from fossil fuels. If parties want people to take them seriously, they need to meet the public where we’re at, and start putting forward real climate action plans that include winding down the fossil fuel industry.”
The Offshore Alliance is a consortium of 18 fisheries groups and environmental NGOs concerned about the wellbeing of fishery and tourism industries in the face of offshore oil and gas development off Nova Scotia. Our group has been in discussion with many Nova Scotian municipal units on this critically important issue. There are now twelve Nova Scotian towns and municipalities that have called on our provincial and federal governments to hold a full public inquiry on the risks and impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction so that fully informed and rational decisions can be made.
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, 1-902-444-7096 / [email protected]
John Davis, Clean Ocean Action Committee, 1-902-499-4421 /[email protected]
Marilyn Keddy, Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia, [email protected]