[NEWS] “Tons of Potential” for Biomass Energy in Yukon?
– by Sidney Cohen, April 14, 2016, Whitehorse Daily Star
The Pasloski government must do more to combat climate change, says the NDP environment critic, in light of a report on climate change in the Yukon released in February.
According to the Yukon Climate Change Indicators and Key Factors report authored by John Streicker at Yukon College, the territory’s average annual temperature rose by two degrees in the last 50 years.
That means the territory is warming at twice the rate of the rest of Canada.
Effects of rising temperatures in the North include increasingly severe weather, greater risk of floods and forest fires, infestations of insects and other invasive species and biodiversity loss.
These impacts also pose a significant threat to First Nations’ food security and cultural identity as the movements of fish and game animals change, impacting local economies and the abundance of traditional food.
“We understand that climate change is very real, and we all have a role to play in combating it,” Kate White, the NDP’s environment critic, said in a recent interview.
“The current government talks about adapting to climate change but they never talk about their specific response to it, to mitigating climate change.”
For starters, White said, she wants to see a territorial shift toward renewable energy.
“Looking at developing oil and gas is wrongheaded,” she said.
“Developing a renewable energy economy, develops local economies …. One of the things that would be fantastic is if we stopped heating houses with diesel.”
White said she sees “tons of potential” in biomass energy in the Yukon.
Biomass refers to material from living or decaying plants and trees.
Canada’s forests are abundant with biomass – bark, branches, leaves, trunks, needles, etc. – which can be burned or converted into liquid or gaseous biofuels, as an alternative to fossil fuels.
“Bioenergy” generated through burning wood chips is gaining interest as a viable, renewable energy source in the Yukon.
Indeed, the government announced a move toward biomass energy for generating heat in the Yukon in February as part of the Yukon Biomass Energy Strategy.
“Using biomass is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution for heating in the territory,” Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent said in a Feb. 18 press release.
“The Yukon Biomass Energy Strategy will also create good opportunities for investment in Yukon.”