Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tyler Hamilton's Bizarre Lessons For Alberta

I'm consistently amazed at how hard 'green' advocates work to avoid reducing emissions.  Tyler Hamilton's latest article in The Toronto Star is illustrative of how even with a strong start, there is an innate inability to complete a coherent argument.

Coal an easier target than oil sands in Alberta -

Ontario doesn’t talk enough about how much it has reduced emissions from its electricity sector over the past decade.
It’s a view shared by Michael Ivanco, a nuclear scientist at Candu Energy and lecturer at the University of Toronto. In January, while preparing for one of his university talks, Ivanco was surprised to learn that since Premier Dalton McGuinty came to power, greenhouse-gas emissions from electricity generation have dropped by two thirds.
He knew emissions were going down, but not by that much.
In 2003, the province generated 145.2 terawatt-hours of electricity that produced 39.9 megatonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases, according to data from Environment Canada. By 2009 those emissions had dropped to 15 megatonnes.

These figures are from Canada's Inventory reporting for 2009 - figures which I dispute, but let's use the one data set to evaluate Mr. Hamilton's conclusions.
That same data shows coal dropping by 19,700 GWh while nuclear increased by 19,000 GWh, and production dropped 800 GWh(pg 50 of part 3 of Canada's 2011 UNFCCC Submission).
So .. between 2003 and 2009, the drop in coal-fired generation equated to the increase in nuclear generation and the drop in overall production.

Hamilton's conclusions from that data:
So here’s a question: If Ontario can in eight years reduce CO2 emissions from its electricity sector by nearly 30 megatonnes, why can’t a more coal-dependent Alberta do the same?The province has some of the country’s best wind resources. It gets the most solar exposure of any place in Canada. Along with B.C., it has tremendous potential to generate electricity 24 hours a day from its scattered geothermal resources. There’s also the option of using more natural gas and less coal as a way to reduce overall emissions.
Alberta turned away Bruce Power's attempt to procure a power purchase agreement there. Maybe a column when that was an option would have accomplished reducing emissions - if that were actually on the agenda.

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