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Eganville provides climate change input

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Duncan Noble of Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County, addresses those who gathered at the Eganville Legion Tuesday night to take part in the climate change town hall and consultation meeting.

Duncan Noble of Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County, addresses those who gathered at the Eganville Legion Tuesday night to take part in the climate change town hall and consultation meeting.

EGANVILLE – Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke has added its two cents to the climate change debate.

The Canadian government has been looking to the public to help it forge its climate change policy from the grass roots, and has been encouraging different constituencies across the country to provide input and suggestions.

To that end, the Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County group, along with the Bonnechere River Watershed Project and the Ottawa River Institute, hosted a town hall meeting and public consultation at the Eganville Legion Tuesday evening on the matter. A total of 45 people took part in the discussions, with the majority seemed to agree climate change policies begin at home.

Among the suggestions is to promote the use of technology for efficient and clean wood burning, to be used not just for heat, but electricity generation. Some participants saw this as a potential source for job creation, and to develop towns like Eganville into local powerhouses using renewable energy.

Other suggestions include reintroducing trains and high speed trains as the main source of transportation, improve on green technologies and work on preserving green areas such as forests, which naturally scrub carbon out of the air.

Still others wanted all legislation, existing or pending, to be examined under a climate change lens, free but mandatory energy audits of everyone, and real consideration given to rural people and their local solutions to these problems.

All of these and other suggestions will be submitted to the federal government, who will use them along with all comments to help form its climate change plan. This will likely be introduced to the Premiers at the First Ministers conference coming up in October.

Duncan Noble, of Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County (PARC), said the federal government isn’t doing a full blown consultation in the sense of sending out a team of people. Instead, they are encouraging the public to hold their own public meetings, or to submit their ideas directly to them through their website letstalkclimateaction.ca.

“This is mostly being organized on a grass roots level,” he said, noting in many of the constituencies, the discussion is being led by the standing MP.

Noble said in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, PARC and others took the initiative.

“We wanted to make sure there will be a couple of groups involved in this from the Ottawa Valley,” he said. “We’re talking about the biggest problem our planet is facing, and our children and grandchildren will be paying the biggest price for this if we don’t do something.”

The federal government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and has signed international agreements to that effect. The question is how they will do it.

Noble said Ottawa really wants to get their input on what should be done as it crafts a strategy. He said there is an opportunity here to not only set an example for the world to follow, but also develop clean energy technologies which can be exported to other countries trying to reduce their greenhouse gas levels.

“Our discussion tonight will contribute to Canada’s approach to climate change,” he said, noting the reason the government is pushing for this input is to get the public onside while building the political will and engagement in this important matter.

“Climage change is a threat to our current civilization,” Noble said, stating the latest research suggests humanity has about 10 years or so to turn things around before it becomes unstoppable.

The federal government is expected to release its climate change strategy later in the fall.

SUhler@postmedia.com