Completing an inventory of Haliburton County’s natural assets could be an avenue to pursue to better measure the level of carbon captured in the effort to stifle greenhouse gases.

The county adopted in June its Community Climate Action Plan, which outlines how local greenhouse gas emissions can be curbed. The plan outlines six strategies.

Strategy 1 is to shift away from the personal vehicle.
Strategy 2 is to switch to zero-emission vehicles.
Strategy 3 calls for homes, cottages and buildings to be retrofitted to become more energy efficient.

Strategy 4 encourages low-carbon development.

Strategy 5 involves the local acceleration of low carbon energy production.

And the county’s natural assets will be protected as part of the final and sixth strategy.

Mayor Murray Fearrey said during council’s July 25 meeting that the county is steeped in nature with so many lakes, robust forests, and few greenhouse gas emitting vehicles on the roads. So why isn’t the region already carbon neutral?

Kory McKay, the county’s climate change coordinator, said there’s currently no means to locally measure how close the region is to being carbon neutral. But devising a means to accomplish that could be a priority in the action plan.

“We don’t necessarily have the tools to measure the carbon-capture from all of our trees in the community, so that’s an action in the plan that we can work toward,” McKay said.

“Creating an inventory of our natural assets and then try to convert that into the amount of carbon that’s captured.”

McKay has been presenting the action plan to each of the lower tier municipalities and inviting councils to choose a representative to take part in an action plan advisory group.

Dysart et al. will be represented by Deputy Mayor Walt McKechnie on the panel.

Fearrey said more than half the world isn’t paying attention to the importance of carbon neutrality. He’s read that, if Canada was carbon-neutral, it wouldn’t fix one per cent of the problem worldwide.

“To me, we’re penalizing people, making people poor, suggesting they buy electric cars and you’d have to be on the Sunshine List to even buy an electric car,” Fearrey said.

“We’re causing poverty sometimes here maybe when we’re overdoing it. I wouldn’t deny for a second there’s climate change. There’s been climate change for 1,000 years here.”

We need to know how to deal with that change in the world’s climate, he said.

McKay said Canada’s population is smaller on the global scale. But, per capita, the country’s carbon footprint is large.

She agreed electric vehicles are expensive. But there are other ways to save people money while diminishing the carbon footprint.

“There are many ways in which we can take action on climate change and actually make life more affordable for people,” she said.

Making homes more energy efficient reduces costs to families and decreases greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

“There’s lots of strategies that can actually make life more affordable for people while tackling climate change,” McKay said.

Fearrey asked if it’s realistic to think local change could have global impact.

There’s a global pact called the Paris Agreement that countries has signed onto, she said.

“So countries are making commitments in working toward this,” McKay said.

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By James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 04, 2023 at 08:21

This item reprinted with permission from   Minden Times   Minden, Ontario

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