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Archive: Nov 2013

  1. Categories: Business

    Quebec Moves Forward

    On November 1st Quebec recognized natural gas as the future of the transportation business. The provincial government announced a program to subsidize up to 30 per cent of the cost premium of natural gas trucks for the freight transport and heavy vehicle industries.

    The rebate covers the additional costs involved in outfitting vehicles to operate on natural gas. Gaz Metro applauds the move – they operate a number of natural gas refueling stations across Quebec.

    Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Gaz Metro, said the measures announced “are important, because they will help speed up the use of natural gas as fuel, resulting in an immediate reduction of up to 25 per cent in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.”

    Overall, the transportation sector contributes 42.5 per cent of all GHG produced in the province and trucks. Freight trains and ships account for almost a third of that. Natural gas use, across these industries, could create a significant reduction in this amount. Plus, it can do it all while saving their owners up to 40 per cent at the pump.

    Robert Transport and EBI, Quebec’s highest profile users of natural gas trucks, are already appreciating the cost savings. However, natural gas could make even greater strides for use in ships and locomotives.

    But clean, affordable and reliable natural gas already contributes greatly to our everyday lives. Ontario benefits from this reality every day. As in Quebec, it’s this province’s turn to create programs like these, to ensure a better future.

    Should government have a role in implementing better energy alternatives? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.


  2. Categories: Environment
    Natural gas use up, US emissions down

    Natural gas use up, U.S. emissions down

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently reported their findings that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 10 per cent from 2010 to 2012, as power generators make the switch from coal to natural gas. The Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy, said U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to their lowest level since 1994 — great news for we Ontarians, who get exposed to air pollution from our neighbours to the south.

    Their study collected emissions data from over 8,000 of the largest polluters in their nation. Of the thousands of facilities studied, fossil fuel power plants were the largest source of emissions – at roughly 40 per cent. The most polluting plant, located in Georgia, emitted 21.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Other such plants were found in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They will be the main objective targeted by Washington’s proposed plan to regulate emissions by June of next year. (Ironically, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania have Marcellus Shale gas deposits right under their feet.)

    This comes hot on the heels of the World Health Organization’s cancer agency classifying the very air we breathe as cancer causing. This is the first time experts have made such a classification.

    Data indicates that 223,000 deaths worldwide were due to air pollution and particulate matter. From now on, these pollutants will be classified as Group 1 human carcinogens, alongside asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.

    Obviously, clean, affordable and reliable natural gas can and should be part of the greater plan to move towards a cleaner world.

    Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.


  3. Categories: Environment

    Transporting Our Energy

    Never has the issue of how to transport Canadian energy been more in the spotlight than it is today. However, we all need to look past the headlines and examine the facts.

    Rail or pipeline? As with all things, we need to diversify.

    Fact is, rail transport of our oil is set to quadruple by the end of this year. That’s a lot of energy being shunted around – energy that could be delivered more efficiently by pipeline. And it’s all due to get even busier because Canadian production is poised to increase by more than 1.5 million barrels a day — roughly 50 per cent more, by 2020.

    Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute recently published a study that concluded pipelines remain the safest way to transport energy. Not only are the volumes higher than by rail, the research also found that pipeline leaks are barely one-tenth those of rail transport. On a per ton-miles basis, rail spills were four times more likely in the U.S. than pipeline.

    Of course, these findings are timely considering tragic derailments on both sides of the border, the aforementioned recent escalation in energy being transported by rail, and the political opposition to major pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.

    And yet, this doesn’t mean pipelines should be built without thought or concern, crisscrossing our landscapes. As with all things, we need balance – a rational discussion of facts that will optimize safety, environment and prosperity. Let’s recognize the safety argument with regard to pipelines as the scare tactic it truly is. Let’s also acknowledge there’s no perfect answer. One thing is certain: it requires true collaboration to get the solutions we all need and deserve.

    Let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments section provided below.