Its not worse than we thought.
Climate activists have been telling us for years that we are facing a climate emergency, that greenhouse gases (GHG) are surging and we have to take immediate action or we face burning up the planet and ending life as we know it.
Local government councils in Cowichan joined the bandwagon and passed a series of grim declarations about the emergency, including North Cowichan where they “acknowledged a climate emergency”. The vote was five to two.
Having decided a climate emergency exists, councils used this as cover to initiate all manner of virtue signalling measures to keep the planet from frying.
North Cowichan stepped up to the plate and started work on developing a Climate Action and Energy Plan (CAEP). Council formally received a report that outlined a CAEP proposed strategy for the next 30 years at their June 17, 2020 meeting.
The top, startling figures in the report stated that following business-as-usual strategies and policies in North Cowichan, energy use would increase by five percent by 2050, and that GHG emissions would increase by one per cent. That is not a misprint, energy use was forecast to increase by five per cent in 30 years and GHGs will increase by a whopping one per cent!
Does that sound like North Cowichan has a GHG problem?
Well, it seems a previous council decided, without any scientific support, to set an extreme GHG reduction target that would mean having to cut current GHG emissions by 83 per cent before 2050. The report’s recommended actions would reduce GHG emissions from 338,600 tCO2e per year to 61,000 tCO2e per year.
How are they proposing this be done?
The “5 Big Moves” would be:
- Electric vehicles (personal and commercial)
- Replace natural gas with renewable natural gas and hydrogen
- Increase industrial energy efficiency
- Increase carbon sequestration in forests
- Home energy efficiency retrofits (including heat pumps)
The consultant says this will produce 94 per cent of the desired GHG reductions.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But, North Cowichan has no authority to impose any of it, except maybe preventing the municipal forest from being logged.
No local government has the authority to do away with gasoline or diesel vehicles.
Fortis isn’t going to be forced by North Cowichan into filling its Vancouver Island pipeline with renewable natural gas and hydrogen.
No laws exist today that would allow local governments to impose energy efficiency in industrial or commercial applications.
North Cowichan could provide incentives for homeowners to do energy efficiencies retrofits but where’s the money to come from? Would North Cowichan “force” homeowners to do energy retrofits?
That only leaves leaving trees standing in the municipal forests.
Even if all of this could be done, how much would it cost taxpayers and homeowners? No one has any idea and the consultants say they will work on costing this whole thing during the consultation process.
The other ringer is that the consultants acknowledge that about 68,000 tCO2e of the desired reductions come from transportation and agricultural emissions and they are under the control of the federal and provincial governments.
Clearly, this whole process is going to cost someone a lot of money and staying where we are in terms of climate policies and strategies doesn’t seem to create any kind of threatening emergency. Increasing North Cowichan’s GHG emissions by one per cent over 30 years does not look like an emergency.
Would it be rude to suggest that North Cowichan council, or at least some of them, are engaging in virtue signalling?