Tabulation of greenhouse gases a first for the area

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Added: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:04pm
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Allyson Beauregard
& Nancy Hunt

MRC PONTIAC – Representatives of Genivar, a Montreal engineering firm, recently presented the MRC Pontiac mayors’ council with the results of a two-year     project on the area’s greenhouse gas emissions. The MRC received a $64,448 grant from the Ministère de Développement durable, Environment, Faune, et Parcs says        Kari Richardson, Environmental Coordin-ator for the MRC Pontiac, which is the first MRC in the Outaouais to avail provincial funding for this type of survey.
Richardson compiled the annual municipal expenditures on carbon-producing activities such as: electricity costs for all buildings, air-conditioning, arena ice-making equipment, gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles, machinery, etc., as well as a     measure of wastewater treatment. Information from the private sector is included on all vehicles licensed in the territory (excluding farm vehicles).
The statistics, while not complete, show the MRC Pontiac produces close to 100,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases, for an average of 6.86 tonnes per person. The majority of that comes from vehicle emissions on the collective level. Light trucks account for 29%; off-road vehicles, 25%; heavy trucks, 22%; and buses, 7% of the gas emissions. The average Quebec resident annually produces about 10.4 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The corporate level includes energy consumption and cooling for municipal buildings, traffic lights, street lighting, municipal equipment, etc. Wastewater treatment alone accounts for 44% of greenhouse gas emissions, alongside emissions from motorized equipment, 43%, and emissions from buildings and lighting, 11%.
The inventory is to establish a baseline for an ongoing calculation of the area's total metric tonnes of carbon dioxide produced, with each tonne equivalent to one carbon credit. “The goal for us is to be ‘carbon poor’,” explains MRC Pontiac Warden Michael McCrank of possibly   generating income for the region through Quebec’s Cap & Trade system of exchanging carbon credits. However, forests are not included in the province’s method of calculating credits and currently, California is Quebec’s only recognized partner in the trading system.
According to  Kari Richardson, much information is missing for each municipality, such as data concerning fuel consumption for municipal vehicles. After the limitations are addressed, an action plan can be developed, which will place municipalities in a better position to begin generating revenue for their unused carbon credits. “Profitability will depend on demand. The number of companies needing to buy credits will only increase in the future, which will boost the price,” says Richardson.