Climate presentation to Tay Valley council sparks action

Climate-Tay-Valley
Director of Ecotay Educational Centre, Michael Glover, addresses Tay Valley Township Council, along with climate change professionals and interested residents, at the Tuesday, Oct. 17, Committee of the Whole meeting.
Posted on: October 19, 2017

Terry O’Hearn

Ecotay Educational Centre Director Michael Glover stepped up his game at a Tay Valley Council Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, with a climate change presentation to Tay Valley Council, Committee of the Whole (COW). Glover was continuing on the theme: “Is it time to panic?” from the recent Ecotay Climate Change Workshop held at the Ecotay barns, in the hope that Tay Valley and other local municipalities will be taking immediate climate change action.

In addition to Township Council, several professional climate change experts and interested residents were on hand for the well-received presentation. Few questions needed to be addressed by the experts, as most councillors were already attuned to the out-of-control slide of the world’s climate, and the need for action to find renewable energy alternatives.   

Glover stressed that a large percentage of the emissions contributing to climate change is due to the technique of fracking, which is the process of injecting water at high pressure into subterranean rocks to blast open existing fissures for the extraction of oil or gas. Those methane emissions are much more damaging than carbon emissions, but not as long-term, he pointed out.

Although electricity was recently touted as an alternative to the natural gas energy source, the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has requested a rate increase for nuclear generated power, from 7.6 cents per kilowatt hour to 16.5 cents over the next eight years, making electricity a poor choice for the future.  

Glover went on to give a recap of the EcoTay Climate Change Workshop, including an overview of presentations made by: Dale Marshall of Environmental Defense; Greg Allen of Rivercourt Engineering; Ron Tolmie of Exergy Storage; and Angela Bischoff, of Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Several energy alternatives were suggested, including the manufacture of bio-fuel pellets from crops such as switchgrass, and seasonal thermal storage through the use of heat exchange boreholes.

The recommendations presented to council, which could be adopted by Tay Valley in order to address climate change, and specifically the deadly methane emissions, are quoted here in full:

“1. Tay Valley Township should write a letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne explaining that the Township wants to account for of the upstream GHG emissions from imported natural gas in local and provincial energy planning.  This means that for all gas supplies, the Province must demand that both fugitive emissions and in-ground methane emissions be independently monitored and reported.

“2. Tay Valley Township should write a letter to the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change that in order for Tay Valley to properly account for upstream methane emissions due to Tay Valley Township consumption, Ontario should amend the cap and trade rules to capture all upstream GHG emissions.  A related issue is that the Federal government should require all Western Canadian gas companies to pay for independent reports on upstream methane emissions and for the Ontario Provincial Government to require the natural gas and propane distribution companies to supply independent reports on their upstream methane emissions.

“3. Tay Valley Township should write a letter to the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna stating that that the Township is interested in adopting a Zero Emissions building code in 2030  with a recognition that wood heating emissions can be offset by sustainable forest management.  

“4. Tay Valley Township should write to the Ontario Minister of Energy stating that instead of expensive nuclear rebuilding, the Township is in favor of the lower cost option of additional, rapidly deployed conservation / renewables combined with Quebec Hydro imports.

“5. Tay Valley Township should request that the Minister of Energy direct the Ontario Energy Board to require rate structures and conservation programs that fully reflect the long-term economic and environmental benefits to the system brought by conservation and decentralized low carbon generation, including reduced system reserve requirements, reduced peak losses, reduced transmission expansion expenditures, and the avoidance of the major cost, construction and operation risks associated with nuclear rebuilds as well as increased natural gas generation.

“6. Tay Valley Township should apply to both the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for funding to develop a local energy plan that would specifically take into account upstream methane emissions.

“7. As part of developing a local energy plan, Tay Valley Township should establish the target goal of eliminating the distribution of shale gas in the Township within five years.  

“8. As part of developing a local energy plan, Tay Valley Township should assess the feasibility of constructing an industrial green park on land adjacent to the Omya facility. Possible projects, include: biofuel cogeneration plant; carbon dioxide scrubber; Bioline plant; large scale factory greenhouse; Exergy store; renewable power hub, etc.”

Council accepted a recommendation by Reeve Keith Kerr that they move forward with respect to climate change initiatives by forming a working committee of Tay Valley staff and residents. CAO Larry Donaldson has been requested to draft terms of reference for the committee, and bring a proposal back to the Nov. 7 COW meeting.

Photo: Director of Ecotay Educational Centre, Michael Glover, addresses Tay Valley Township Council, along with climate change professionals and interested residents, at the Tuesday, Oct. 17, Committee of the Whole meeting.