December 1, 2014 by PATRICK CALLAN
The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) supports the Ontario government’s renewed commitment to develop new alternative fuel rules by the end of the year to help large scale energy industries reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The commitment is part of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate letter to Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray, and is a key element of her government’s plan for Moving Forward on Climate Change. The plan sets out a climate change strategy to achieve significant greenhouse gas reduction levels by 2020 through a number of key initiatives.
“As Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, you will continue to focus your attention on ensuring clean air, water and land. You will also work with industry, stakeholders and the public to achieve compliance with environmental standards and you will establish a new long-term climate change strategy,” says Wynne, in her directions to Murray.
His priorities include: making sure climate change is taken into account in the government decision-making process, to work with other provinces and territories to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy, and to develop new alternative fuel rules in 2014 to help big, energy-intensive industries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The CAC believes Wynne’s commitment to complete the regulation by the end of this year suggests the government is making this one of its top priorities.
“Premier Wynne’s government is demonstrating leadership on climate change, promoting solutions that are good for both the environment and the economy,” says Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the CAC. “We look forward to working with Minister Murray and the environmental community to continue our industry’s progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.”
Shifting to lower-carbon fuels is the single most effective mechanism to achieve these emissions reductions, according to the CAC. Bringing Ontario’s regulatory framework for alternative fuels in line with leading practices globally will help bridge the gap with Europe and other jurisdictions (where fuel substitution rates are more than 10 times higher) and make a significant contribution to Ontario’s greenhouse gas reductions goal.
“Any greenhouse gas produced anywhere in the world is bad. We believe that every member of society, every government, every industry should do their part to reduce greenhouse gases,” says McSweeney. “In Canada, our industry has primarily used coal as a fuel and we have an opportunity to use low carbon fuels the way many other jurisdictions do around the world in order to reduce our coal use, our greenhouse gases, and continue to try and do our part to produce cleaner air sheds where our facilities operate.”
Adam Auer, director of sustainability for the CAC, says in Ontario they are looking at using construction and demolition waste as alternative fuels—capturing waste wood, shingles, and even railway ties that have gone past their useful life. “We have seen some potential for plastics as well, usually residual plastics from the recycling stream,” he said.
“In Toronto, in particular, they allow plastics in their organics collection process so that’s another potential source of fuel. We’re looking at anything that has a calorific value that can’t be recycled that’s otherwise destined for the landfill.”
In addition to the government, the CAC is working with several environmental groups and there will be a 60-day public consultation period before new alternative fuel rules are put in place, most likely in early 2015. The CAC estimates these changes will remove more than 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2020.