Bright Future: Avoiding Blackouts in Ontario

This report by the David Susuki Foundation gives a set of recommendations on how to reduce the risk of future blackout in Ontario.

  1. Aggressive incentive programs to ease short-term pressure on the system and reduce residential and small commercial customer load.
  2. Comprehensive province-wide public education campaign to promote conservation and efficiency strategies
  3. Transparent, collaborative planning to rationalise energy investment and build public understanding of energy issues and choices
  4. Creation of an energy efficiency fund to support emerging energy efficiency technologies.
  5. Investment by utilities in renewable energy technologies, to produce 10 per cent of total generating capacity in 2010 compared with 0.5 per cent today
  6. Phasing out nuclear and coal-fired power plants


weblink: Bright Future reportfrom: Suzuki Foundationin detail XlnkS5C3 XlnkC1844

Sustainability Exhibition Series

The Sustainability Exhibition is co-organized by the Sustainability Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientits of BC and the Energy and Environment Committee of the Architects Institute of BC. It is produced every other year. Information on the first exhibit, Doors to Sustainability 2001 can be accessed through the link below. The current exhibit, Sustainability 2003: Greening the Built Environment is on display throughout the British Columbia until fall 2003. See the links below for information on both series.
source: Sustainability 2004: Greening the Built Environment Traveling ExhibitCross-Ref: Doors to Sustainability 2001 See also XlnkS5BE

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Sustainable Transportation

So what makes one transportation system more sustainable than another? The Centre for Sustainable Transportation has developed a widely accepted definition for a sustainable transportation system. It is one that: 1. allows the basic needs of individuals to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations 2. is affordable, operates efficiently, offers choice of transport mode and supports a vibrant economy 3. limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them, minimizes consumption of non-renewable resources to the sustainable yield level, reuses and recycles its components, and minimizes the use of land and the production of noise. In a similar vein, the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published the OECD Guidelines towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport in 2002. This document defines an environmentally sustainable transport system as one that: 1. provides for safe, economically viable and socially acceptable access to people, places, goods and services; 2. meets generally accepted objectives for health and environmental quality, e.g. those set forth by the World Health Organization for air pollutants and noise; 3. protects ecosystems by avoiding exceedence of critical loads and levels for ecosystem integrity, e.g. those defined by the UNECE (http://www.unece.org/) for acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone; and 4. does not aggravate adverse global phenomena, including climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and the spread of persistent organic pollutants. Working from these principles, engineers and geoscientists in all fields can make conscious choices that will have an impact on sustainable transportation. These include, for example: § purchasing local materials whenever possible; § coordinating shipping (eg, trucks come in with garbage and leave with gravel); § for personal travel: combining trips, using alternative modes for short trips; § choosing to live in areas where they can easily walk, cycle and take transit to services; and/or § minimizing the design and construction of impermeable areas (eg. by using permeable pavements). Professionals working within the transportation field can make an even more significant contribution to achieving the types of transportation systems defined previously. Those involved in planning & policy and within the public sector can: § develop an understanding of the real costs of automobile dependency; § promote land development practices which provide safe and efficient roadways, accesses and parking for all modes; § use knowledge of transportation’s link with land use to support service of alternative modes; § use the success of other municipalities to educate and leverage council; § amend subdivision, engineering and zoning regulations to support alternative modes of development; § officially commit to alterative modes of transportation, mixed use development, etc at the leadership, policy level; § set targets for minimizing impermeable surfaces in new developments; § budget to assess progress; and/or § support/initiate internal trip-reduction programs in the workplace. Those working as transportation consultants can: § develop an understanding of the real costs of auto dependency; § promote land development practices which provide safe and efficient roadways, accesses and parking for all modes; § consider whether assessment methods favour auto travel over alternatives (eg. try accessibility vs. mobility assessments); § use the successes of other regions to gain buy-in from clients; § use this knowledge to educate and suggest alternatives to clients and to assess client’s and stakeholders’ true needs (eg. traffic calming, walking schoolbuses near schools are a SAFETY issue); and/or § support/initiate trip-reduction programs within the workplace. Benefits More sustainable transportation systems and developments offer a number of potential financial and other benefits, including: § reduction in the cost of detached housing; § more efficient use of land in residential areas; § lower maintenance costs for municipal infrastructure and utilities; § improved access to natural amenities for all citizens; § increased protection of habitats and water quality; § reduction in per capita energy use for transportation and utilities.
source: Primer Part 3d: Transportation See also XlnkS5BB

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Context

Transportation has and always will comprise a fundamental element of human society. In its current and emerging form, though, transportation consumes a large proportion of global energy, contributes significantly to greenhouse gas & fine particulate emissions and compromises human & ecological health. Furthermore, it is estimated that at least 5% of an industrialized country’s GDP is spent offsetting related health care costs, subsidies of the automobile industry, collisions and traffic fatalities. In order to appreciate what can be accomplished within BC, it is useful to first place transportation into the larger context of energy consumption, efficiency and emissions production, as well as to examine some of the current trends in transportation. Energy Consumption Fossil fuels are a finite resource. At current consumption rates, all oil reserves will be exhausted in approximately 55 years. At 6.19 tonnes of oil equivalent per capita, Canada’s energy use is five times the world average. This cannot be explained by climate alone, as most northern European countries consume far less. Industrial nations house just 19% of the world’s population, yet use 59% of all energy that goes into transportation. North America alone accounts for 39% of the world’s fuel use for transportation and 49% of the world’s gasoline consumption. Fuel Efficiency Canada is also one of the least energy efficient countries in the world. We use 0.30 tonnes of oil equivalent to generate $1000US of GDP. Canada is even 33% less efficient than the US. Even in the US, where overall energy efficiency is considerably better than in Canada, the average fuel economy of new vehicles reached a 21-year low in model year 2001 at 20.4 miles per gallon, as a result of increased sales of sport utility vehicles, vans, and pickup trucks. Canada is experiencing a similar trend. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Canada produces 16.84 tonnes of CO2 per capita- four times the global average. In terms of total CO2 production, only four nations produce more: the US, Japan, Germany, UK. Transportation accounted for 23% of the global carbon dioxide emissions in 1997, up from 17% in 1971. This rise is largely due to the increase in road and air transport. Carbon emissions per unit of GDP between 1980 and 1994 fell in all sectors except transportation. In Canada, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In BC, it accounts for 42% of the province’s total emissions. Total greenhouse gas emissions in BC have increased over 20% since 1990. Population growth accounts for part of this increase, but the increase in emissions from the transportation sector exceeds the population growth rate, due to more vehicles on the road, an increase in the number of less fuel-efficient vehicles and to vehicles being driven longer distances. Vehicle Ownership Vehicle sales in BC increased 7% from 1990 to 2000. This is not in itself a significant increase; however, 36% more of these new vehicles were in the commercial category, which includes light trucks, SUVs and minivans. This in part explains the increase in emissions and poor efficiency mentioned earlier, since a small car uses 38% less gas per kilometre of city driving and 40% less gas on the highway than an SUV. As a result, a small car also emits 36% less greenhouse gases than an SUV. In Summary Much can be accomplished in the field of transportation. This sector can make significant contributions to achieving Kyoto targets simply by shifting its priorities and approaching typical transportation challenges from a broader angle. Not only do we, as professionals, have the ability to dramatically impact fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions but we can also contribute toward improved quality of life through the design of communities. The following sections will demonstrate some of these possibilities.
source: Primer Part 3d: Transportation See also XlnkS5BB

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