Sierra Club of Canada: 1996 Rio Report Card


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Prince Edward Island

C

Biodiversity

1993 Grade: -

1994 Grade: -

1995 Grade: B-

1996 Grade: C

Prince Edward Island's grade fell this year in the combined rating of protected spaces, protection of endangered species, and protection of wetlands.

No new protected areas were created this year. No endangered species legislation was brought forward.

Insecticide use continues to be a problem in the province, as forested areas are converted to potato farming. Recreational fishery groups have linked fish kills to pesticide residue problems.

Meanwhile, the government gave permission, as well as a $900,000 grant, to a North Carolina developer to mine the ecologically significant East Baltic Bog. Thankfully, the developer has pulled out of the project. This creates an important opportunity for the government to improve its record, as well as acting swiftly to protect the province's only biologically classed bog.

The province is also considering revamping its Fish and Game Protection Act. They have the potential to include provisions for the protection of endangered species and their critical habitat. The national conservation community will be closely watching the next sitting of the House for progress to protect species and spaces.

D

Prince Edward Island - Climate Change

1993 Grade: -

1994 Grade: C

1995 Grade: C-

1996 Grade: D

Carbon dioxide emissions (kilotonnes)
1990: 1,370
1994: 1,310
Decrease: 4.6%

Prince Edward Island gets a low grade this year for uncontrolled logging on private lots and increased agriculture activities also affecting forests, reducing carbon sinks and making the Island more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The province also gets a lower grade for failing to understand the significance of climate change as it is likely to affect the province through sea level rise, increased damage to coastal communities and habitat from extreme weather events, and risk to fisheries and farmers. All parts of Canada will face impacts from climate change, but as an island, P.E.I. is particularly vulnerable.

The role of the provincial government should be as an advocate for strong global reductions which start with domestic stabilization. Instead the Minister of Environment, Barry Hicken remains focused on the fact that it is a small emitter.

Logging on private lands is so uncontrolled, the government has no idea how much is being cut each year. Assumptions for 1995 were 300,000 cubic meters; reality - in excess of 500,000 cubic metres. On the agriculture front, land is being converted to growing blueberries and potatoes - much of it on steep marginal land. There are a finite number of acres available on an island, resulting in shorter rotations. This in turn makes it difficult to build organic matter in the soil. The Island also is experiencing erosion rates four times normal - weather, fewer windbreaks and more land exposed to the plow.

The cancellation of the peat harvesting project in East Baltic is good news - no thanks to the government which contributed $900,000. Peat bogs are important stores of carbon, some of which is released when disturbed (even more if the peat is burned).


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Copyright 1996 Sierra Club of Canada