Computare Participation in Public Fora
Computare Responses to Requests for Public and Stakeholder Input
Computare has participated in several public fora related to greenhouse gas management. Discussion and postings of related written submissions follow in chronological order beginning with the latest. (DRP 03/10/15, 08/05/11)
The Alberta Government began a review of Alberta's climate change and greenhouse management policy following an election this year which brought the New Democratic Party to power. The party platform put much emphasis on the alleged urgency of the climate problem, and a need to enact policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A "Discussion Document" has been prepared now that the new government is in power which outlines the perceived severity of the issue in terms of "climate change" and "extreme weather events". It postulates a number of policy actions which might be implemented to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Citizens have been asked to submit ideas which would help the Climate Change Advisory Panel prepare advice to the government before the next United Nations climate change meeting in Paris this coming December.
My submission considers the uncertain state of climate science and the role carbon dioxide emissions may or may not have on climate change, as well as the current state of Alberta's finances. Of the policy options presented, I conclude a carbon tax would be the most appropriate action, perhaps supplemented with financial support of some aspects of climate science to help ensure further action is supported by sound science. I recommend that most of the suggested carbon tax be used to support Alberta government services such as education, infrastructure and health. (DRP 15/09/07)
Duane Pendergast accepted an invitation from David Layzell of the U of C’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE) to represent the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) at the Conference on the Assessment of Future Energy Systems (CAFES) of November 3, 4, 2011. (ISEEE defines an 'energy system' as the network of energy flows and technologies that link the various sources of energy, through the carriers (fuels, electricity) to the services that energy provides (heat, transportation, communication). It also includes the costs and benefits of the infrastructure, technologies, policies and personal choices that make the energy system function as it does.)
This was a great opportunity to keep nuclear energy on the agenda of a wide ranging Alberta based energy conference attended by over 200 people. Duane and CNS colleagues Shaun Ward, Laurence Hoye and Jason Donev participated in the presentations and discussion which are posted on the ISEEE - CAFES website. ISEEE was formed only a few years ago and is developing into an educational and research based organization seriously studying and evaluating our energy future. The ISEEE plans to hold this conference every other year. (DRP 11/11/21) `
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Pacific Northwest Section, sponsored a conference in Lethbridge titled "Bridges to Sustainable Agriculture" on September 9 and 10, 2010. The society is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems with 9,000 members in more than 100 countries. The Lethbridge branch of the Alberta Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists Association co-sponsored. I made a presentation on the biochar soil enrichment and carbon sequestration concept discussed elsewhere on this site. My primary goal was to introduce local researchers to the idea with the hope that some research to evaluate the concept would ensue. Unfortunately very few soil scientists participated. There was some prior knowledge and mild interest. However, searches on the Internet and in scholarly journals now yield far more results than ten years ago when the notion that such a process could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester carbon was essentially unappreciated. (11/08/22)
The annual conference of the Canadian Nuclear Society is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the first time this year. The nuclear power industry in Canada has been centered in Ontario since it's inception as a result of a lack of fossil fuel resources in that province. Alberta and Saskatchewan are well endowed with fossil fuels and have so far not seen a need to implement nuclear power. That status quo may be changing. Papers by Donnelly and Voutsinos on this site discuss a possible role for nuclear power in the tar or oil sand deposits of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. There is concern, I personally think highly exaggerated, with respect to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels used to process and separate oil form the sands. Nuclear energy has the potential to greatly reduce those emissions and interest is developing in the use of nuclear reactors for the production of steam and electricity for that purpose. To facilitate an exchange of information between the oil and electricity industry in western Canada and the nuclear industry, the Canadian Nuclear Society is holding an information exchange seminar in conjunction with the annual conference in Calgary. More information is available here. (DRP 09/01/05)
A Probus Club member invited a repeat of my talk for the Rotary Club. It is slightly updated from the Probus presentation and is posted here. (DRP 09/01/05)
The Probus Club of Lethbridge (I am a member) was looking for a back up speaker. I offered a version of my presentation to Blue Ridge, linked in the article below, for the executives consideration. My subsequent presentation is posted here. (DRP 08/07/26)
Woodlands County invited me to make a presentation in support of nuclear energy for a short series sponsored by them to inform their citizens on the pros and cons of nuclear energy. I accepted on a voluntary basis as a member of the Canadian Nuclear Society and Chair of the Alberta Branch of the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) . CNS members had prepared an advertisement offering our help with nuclear issues which was printed in the Whitecourt Star on January 30, 2008. It shows the range of opinion on nuclear issues which citizens might be exposed to.
The format was for the pro and con sides to make their presentations followed by questions from the audience under the control of a moderator. Paul Gunter from Beyond Nuclear presented the con side. Beyond Nuclear advocates the abandonment of nuclear energy and weapons. The sessions were held in Whitecourt during the evening of April 4 followed by presentations in Blue Ridge on April 5 moderated by Karim Mawani. Speakers notes were provided for the Whitecourt and Blue Ridge presentations. The Blue Ridge presentation was modified somewhat in response to questions raised at Whitecourt. In addition a reading handout was provided with links to additional sources of information which is provided here for the convenience of readers and to supplement the presentations. I thank Woodlands County for paying travel expenses associated with the trip. I've received no other financial compensation for the preparation and delivery of this presentation. (DRP 08/05/12)
Dr. Clem Bowman, a former head of research for one of the first Canadian oil sands operations led a study for the Academy on the future of energy in Canada. The study anticipates a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It concludes that Canada can become a "sustainable energy superpower". Indeed Canada is blessed with major fossil fuel, uranium and other energy resources which can be used together to manage environmental issues and at the same time provide the world with significant energy for the foreseeable future. I served as an "evaluator" for some of the energy "opportunities" proposed in the report. The report is available at the Academy's website. (DRP 07/12/12)
The Alberta government undertook a review of royalty policy in 2007. Members of the Alberta Branch of the Canadian Nuclear Society participated in the review. The review focused on royalty policy with respect to fossil fuels. Still, there was an element of concern with the long term and with the environment. We urged that royalty policy start to consider the eventual depletion of fossil resources and consider resources over the long term. Nuclear energy could add to the value of fossil resources while a transition to nuclear energy supply for the future evolves. Nuclear energy could also contribute to re-establishing viable and evolving ecosytems in northern Alberta as the oil sands operations are wound down and land is rehabilitated. Our presentation is posted on the Royalty Review website. A letter on this site provides a summary evaluation of the Alberta governments response to the Royalty Review. (DRP 07/12/18)
The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) hosted three Alberta Senators for a triple presentation on October 22, 2006. The Honorable Tommy Banks spoke to a Senate Committee study titled: Water in the West: Under Pressure. An audio recording of the talks, and the question and answer session, are posted on the SACPA website. I enjoyed the talks. I did find some of the statements made, with respect to water resources during the Q&A, and climate change in the written report supplied by Senator Banks were exaggerated. I thus wrote a letter which is posted here and in the public comment section of the SACPA website. (DRP 06/10/30)
Alberta's government embarked on a process of public consultation on oil sands development late in 2005. In late August, 2006, a series of public meetings launched Phase I of the process. Written submissions to Phase I were also solicited. Details are provided at a newly established website. (Consultation website gone some time ago DRP 08/05/12)
Computare has long advocated that nuclear energy should be considered as an input to oil sands extraction and upgrading technology. One goal is to increase the productivity of oil and natural gas by substituting nuclear energy for their use as energy in the production process. There is also the possibility that there may be restrictions placed on greenhouse gas emissions and nuclear energy essentially eliminates those. A longer term goal is to develop energy infrastructure which will ultimately replace energy from dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. Computare's Phase I written submission to the Oil Sands Consultation Panel is provided here. (DRP 06/09/23)
May 10-12, 2006 - Climate Change Technology Conference: Engineering Challenges and Solutions in the 21st Century
The Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) and member societies organized a conference, EIC CCC2006, to stimulate awareness and action by the Canadian Engineering Community for solutions that mitigate or adapt to climate change. This three-day conference was designed to be of interest to engineering and environmental technology practitioners of all disciplines; delegates from industry, manufacturing, academia, government agencies and regulators; consulting engineers and special interest groups; economists, financial, and legal experts; and other specialists working climate change. In addition to potential technical solutions, the conference also addressed associated social and environmental consequences.
Duane Pendergast participated as a representative of the Canadian Nuclear Society on the Conference Planning Committee. The Committee prepared a working agreement between the EIC member societies sponsoring the Conference. He later volunteered to serve on the Technical Program Committee on behalf of Computare. He served as co-chair of Path 1, Policy, Strategy & Regulations with Luc Gagnon of Hydro Quebec. He authored and co-authored three papers, and served as chair of a joint Policy & Mitigation Session titled "Mega Engineering". An introduction to his presentations is provided here. (DRP 06/08)
Nuclear energy is often cited as a greenhouse gas free energy source. On the other hand some perceive that the used fuel from nuclear reactors poses an insurmountable problem. Others point out that the used fuel contains considerable uranium which could be recycled and reused to produce more energy to meet human needs. Canada has recently established the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to study alternative fuel management concepts and recommend the way forward. Computare has provided some commentary on the process in the context of greenhouse gas management. An introduction to the Computare submissions and access to them is provided here. (DRP)
I've been puzzled for years about the general lack of interest in the carbon cycle and the role it plays in managing greenhouse gases in earth's atmosphere. Most of the human energy being devoted to climate change narrowly focuses on our use of fossil fuel. Releases of greenhouse gases from that human activity are far smaller than the cycling of carbon dioxide through human agricultural and forestry activity.
Canada's parliament is currently working on plans to implement the Kyoto Protocol. Parliament's Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development is reviewing actions Canada might take to meet Kyoto. I've submitted a citizen's brief to the Committee. It points out that a change of calculation procedure for Canada's greenhouse gas inventory could reduce emissions by up to 150 million tonnes annually. Alternative procedures would recognize that forest wood products contain and trap carbon removed from the atmosphere. It will be interesting to se if the brief raises any interest at all. One would think it might - since the cost of the emissions assumed in the current inventory could cost Canada billions of dollars in the proposed emission trading markets of the Kyoto Protocol. However, it is not easy to understand the priorities of those involved with the Kyoto protocol.
To date, I've learned that the submission has been translated by my government to the French language as required for presentation to the committee. I'm providing the submission for your convenience and maintaining a watch on the Committee to see if I can follow its disposition. (DRP 05_03_28)
October 15, 2004 - Science and Technology to Integrate Energy Production and Greenhouse Gas Management
The U.S. Department of Energy and the American Nuclear Society hosted the The Americas Nuclear Energy Symposium (ANES) 2004 in Miami, Florida on October 3 - 6, 2004. ANES 2004 brought together members of government, industry, and academic communities for presentations and discussions on issues related to the future of nuclear energy in the Americas. Duane Pendergast prepared a paper and made a presentation. An introduction and slide show with notes are provided.
Cafe Scientifique Lethbridge, affiliated with the University of Lethbridge, invited Duane Pendergast to discuss the status of the Kyoto Protocol and relationships between Earth's carbon cycle and human energy needs. An introduction to the presentation and a slide show with notes are provided.
June, 2003 - Comments on the Government of Canada’s Offset Consultation Discussion Paper
During the month of June, 2003, representatives of the Government of Canada "met with officials from the provinces and territories, municipalities, and other key stakeholders to discuss design options for a Canadian offset system for greenhouse gases". Duane Pendergast was unable to participate in a meeting on behalf of Computare, but did provide written commentary on the discussion paper. He concluded the science and technology base needed to establish an offset credit incentive system for emissions removals is lacking but that offsets for emissions reductions may be a feasible concept. (DRP 03/10/15)
The Southern Alberta Council on Public on Public Affairs, in cooperation with the University of Lethbridge, hosts weekly presentations on current topics of public interest. The issue of Kyoto ratification was much on the minds of Canadians and Albertans during the summer and fall of 2002. Duane Pendergast provided an introduction to climate change and greenhouse gas management issues from the perspective of his involvement in the National Climate Change Process. He concluded it was premature for Canada to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Needless to say, Prime Minister Chrétien paid little attention to this, and other counsel, that he not rush to ratification. (DRP 03/10/15)
September and October, 2002 - Alberta's Climate Change Stakeholder Meetings and Public Consultation
The province of Alberta drafted an alternative to Canada's federal options to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases in May of 2002. Albertans and stakeholders were invited to provide input.
Computare received invitations to participate in two (Transportation and Energy) of the twelve stakeholder sessions and was able to attend the Energy session. A written submission was provided to supplement the short discussion possible at the meeting and to provide suggestions related to the transportation sector. The submission seeks to emphasize consistencies between the Alberta plan, Canada's proposed greenhouse gas management options and the goals of the Kyoto Protocol.
The public consultation with Albertans was highly structured and based on completing a provided form. It asked a series of questions directed to particular issues. Albertans were provided a period of about one month to understand and respond to it. Duane Pendergast participated. The text of the form, with his answers in underlined text is provided here. He indicates that a "Made in Alberta" plan has little merit on it's own. Action by Albertans must be integrated with international action to be of any effect.
The Alberta Government Kyoto Protocol website provides a link to a report summarizing input from 268 Albertans under "What we heard ". A summary of input at the stakeholder meetings including written submissions from Pembina Institute and Computare is also posted there. (The Alberta government Kyoto Protocol website links once referred to in the preceding two sentences have disappeared. DRP 05/12/10). More information on Alberta's approach to climate change is available at Alberta Environment's climate change website. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 25, 2002 - Canada's National Climate Change Process Stakeholder Meetings
Canada's federal government signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Shortly after, the National Climate Change Process was initiated with a goal "to understand how Canada can best respond to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to current and future impacts."
An extensive review was initiated with "stakeholders" representing governments, industry, and other organizations. During the spring of 2002, the process resulted in the public presentation of four options to address Canada's Canada's climate change commitments for discussion at National Stakeholder Meetings. Written input from stakeholders and the public was also requested at that time.
Computare's Principal Engineer, Duane Pendergast, participated in the meeting in Calgary, Alberta as a representative of the Canadian Nuclear Association. He also submitted written commentary on the options, which is provided here with permission. His comments highlighted the lack of public education and involvement, the difficulty of meeting the Kyoto target in the short time frame till 2012, and the merits of Alberta's greenhouse gas management plan which puts an emphasis on the need for long term technology development.
The National Climate Change Process website (closed circa 2006) does provide impressive background information and analysis on greenhouse gas emissions and possible management methods for Canada. Written submissions from the stakeholders and public are available to all. A review of the submissions indicates that about one in ten million Canadians responded to the federal governments request for public input to the options for greenhouse gas management. Of some 80 submissions only two or three come from individuals possibly not connected to a stakeholder organization. Sadly, postings to the National Climate Change Process website essentially ceased in the summer of 2002. Readers must go elsewhere (i.e. Government of Canada Climate Change Site) to follow subsequent plans and actions. (DRP 03/10/15) A letter on this site discusses the closure of this informative site (DRP 08/05/12)
The Canadian Institute of Energy invited three speakers from the nuclear industry to discuss the status of the industry under the title; The Half-Life Of Nuclear Energy: Past, Present & Future. Duane Pendergast spoke to this major energy source in the context of climate change and greenhouse gas reduction. His presentation is posted here. (It was prepared and presented with financial support from the Canadian Nuclear Association and is posted with permission). (DRP 04/03/06)
Computare undertook, with Haloa Inc. and CRUISE, analysis of the economics of nuclear electricity as a supplement to Canada's National Climate Change Process analysis. The analysis indicated that the construction of 24 new CANDU reactors over the period to 2020 would be a low cost way to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. (The analysis was undertaken with the financial support of the Canadian Nuclear Association) (DRP 04/03/06)