We hope this issue finds you well as you ease into the new year. With a new year comes fresh ideas, and in this issue we provide you with some insight into some of the great work we have planned for 2023.
Take a peek at our Climate Concierge program to learn about this amazing gathering of community members, and the early stages of this pilot project in Lanark County. Climate Concierge is a program oriented around home and business owners using deep retrofitting to reduce their GHG’s. The program aims to bridge and share information about green energy and deep retrofits by: identifying where they are in your home, sourcing funding, finding local contractors and service companies, and where to buy materials and equipment. This project is in the early stages of inception, but has already had a lot of interest in our Almonte cluster groups.
For actions you can take, we give you tips and resources for purchasing carbon offsets for flights. Navigating the world of carbon offsetting can be tricky, but knowing what to look for in offsets is important in doing your part for the climate. If you’re planning a trip this winter or in 2023, make sure you give this part of the newsletter a read before you purchase your flight.
We thank you for your continued support!
The CNL Team
1. Climate Concierge – A CNL Pilot Project
As the county moves forward with the Climate Action Plan, CNL has been using the Climate Action Tables as the framework for our climate action and efforts. In Lanark County, buildings account for approximately 34% of community greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions. In order to reduce this number, many buildings are in need of deep retrofitting. Goal 1.5 of the Community Climate Action Table is to: “Establish neighborhood action networks that act as Climate Concierges to advise homeowners on actions they can take to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The action networks would share information, investigate bulk purchases, and research local suppliers of audits, heat pumps, insultation, solar systems etc.” The launch of our Climate Concierge program intends to help fulfil this goal.
To help homeowners and businesses navigate climate friendly retrofits for their homes and businesses, CNL is working towards the creation of a Climate Concierge program for Lanark County. Navigating deep retrofits can be challenging for homeowners. Many people are also unaware of funding opportunities that are available to them for doing these deep retrofits. This concierge, along with the participation of CNL members, will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources on how homeowners and small business owners can improve their energy efficiency. Some areas that the concierge program will have expertise in include; improving home energy efficiency, renewable energy, fossil-fuel free heating and cooling systems. This program will also help homeowners navigate the necessary materials, equipment, and skilled trades people in Lanark County.
Climate Concierge is in the early stages of development as we acquire funding and support to properly implement this program. We have begun hosting cluster groups in Almonte to better tailor our program, building both our capacity and understanding the needs of people. The goal is to reduce energy consumption by 25% and capture baseline data on greenhouse gas emissions reduced for 200 owners of houses and small businesses. This will include owners of private single-family homes and owners of small businesses that are located in buildings of similar size and configuration to private homes.
Creating a positive experience and equipping people with the resources to reduce their carbon footprints is an important mitigation measure to help us meet our future climate targets in Lanark County. If you are interested in learning more about this project, send us an email at email@example.com
2. CNL Updates
We Want You! For the CNL Board of Directors!
Are you interested in helping shape the future of climate action here in Lanark County? Then we want you for our board of directors! We are currently looking for people driven to create positive change in our communities through climate action.
Currently recruiting for:
If you, or someone you know is interested in joining our board please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for people with diverse backgrounds and experiences to contribute to our organization and help meet our climate goals in Lanark County.
3.Fellow CNL Supporters your gift matters!
Now more than ever we require your support. Our key team members are leading the charge on your behalf. Here is what we are focusing on;
1. Bill 23- informing the public, rallying and meeting with local politicians to revise Bill 23.
2. Climate Action Plan- partnering with Lanark County to advance and implement our 10 year Climate Action Plan
3. Climate Projects- Protecting our Wetlands and Climate Concierge (partnering with home energy conservation consultants like REAL and HomeSol to help residents retrofit their buildings)
Our ambitions align with the level of urgency that our community and climate require. You are our base and we are asking for your support.
In making your generous donation, you are funding the core team and tools that it takes to build a movement around climate change, to build a fund development model that includes; grants, individual & major donors and sponsors.
You may wish your contribution to be a lump sum or you may choose to donate monthly.
We thank you for your support.
4. Events and Learning
January 19- 2023 Kingston Climate Change Symposium 9 AM-12 PM Sustainable Kingston
January 27th- January NCENN | Winter ENGO Roundtable 10AM-12PM, over Zoom http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ejj7ps9l69927a3e&llr=o546abdab
5. Sign a Petition
The provincial government recently announced the removal of 7,400 acres of protected land from the Greenbelt. They did so without any public process, transparent criteria for land selection or opportunities for input from landowners, municipalities or the public.
Despite the fact that the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing have long maintained they would never remove any land from the Greenbelt, multiple media outlets have reported that much of the Greenbelt land the government identified for removal was purchased recently by sprawl developers.
The public has a right to know if any of these developers had advance knowledge of the government’s plans. If any Ontario government politician, official or employee provided this confidential information, it raises serious questions about whether they committed a breach of trust under section 122 of the Criminal Code. Environmental Defence and Democracy Watch are calling for an investigation into this troubling issue.
Tell your MPP to share any information they have about the removal of land from the greenbelt with the O.P.P. in order to restore public trust in how important environmental decisions are made. Your letter will be sent to your MPP based on your postal code.
Click HERE to sign the petition
6. Local Climate Action in the News
Leaves-a-Plenty – Scott Hortop
Just Good Compost: A local project for the planet in Almonte- Joel Haslam
Just Good Compost- Will Affleck
Thinking Globally: Acting Locally Climate Network Lanark Plans for 2023- Chandler Swain
7. Actions You Can Take
To Carbon Offset, or Not To Carbon Offset… That is the Question!
Freezing rain, wind chills, and snow squall are just some of the reasons you may be longing for a warm winter getaway. Although the winter showcases a beauty of its own, it is no wonder people long for the warmth of the sun during the cold winter months in Canada. When booking a flight, depending on the airline, you may have been offered the option to round up your flight price to offset the carbon emissions from flying. If you’re an eco-conscious consumer, you may have felt guilty about the previous flights you have taken without offsetting, and without hesitation paid to offset. If you’re a budget conscious consumer, you might be thinking: “Where is this money going?” “Is this actually effective?” or “Why do they need to charge me more when this flight is already so expensive?”
For those new to this concept, carbon offsetting is when the consumer voluntarily pays extra on transportation (primarily flights) and products to offset the CO2 produced from the product or transportation they are buying. This rate can be calculated using information on the aircraft type, the historical load factor, the number of kilometres travelled and a determined cost per ton of carbon emitted. Many large companies partake in these programs as a way to buy carbon credits (also known as allowances) that allow them to produce a certain amount of carbon for their service or product. The funds collected in these programs are then put towards projects that are aimed at reducing GHGs. Some examples include reforestation, wetland construction, conservation, renewable energy, methane and carbon capture, sustainable aviation fuel, or cleaner cookstoves in certain countries.
Is carbon offsetting greenwashing?
There is lots of controversy surrounding offsetting and its marketing. In not so distant times, companies have been found to be misusing profits made from these offsetting programs or reselling offsets. In addition, there are airlines that have been under scrutiny for their marketing. In 2019, Ryanair received criticism from UK advertising standards for using their carbon offsetting program to advertise “Low emission flights”. In 2022, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was sued by environmental groups claiming the company was greenwashing through advertising that customers could “Fly Responsibly”. When airlines use these approaches to market their flights as less polluting, this is problematic as the emissions are still being emitted.
Which carbon credits are credible?
When purchasing carbon credits, visit the airlines environmental page and look for information on their affiliation with a carbon credit certification program. These certifications ensure that funding is delivered to projects, while making sure they are legitimate and held to a standard of accountability and integrity through annual audits. There are many companies that specialize in this but here are some of the more popular companies in the business;
- The Gold Standard
- International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance
- American Carbon Registry
- Carbon Click
Can carbon credits help us reach net zero?
Carbon offsets are not the solution, but they can play a role. When looking for carbon offset projects to support, ensure that the project aligns with the UN sustainability goals. A combination of approaches is needed for us to reduce our emissions including general changes to our lifestyle, consumer behaviour . Remember a carbon offset may help to sequester and reduce emissions, but it doesn’t change the fact that carbon is still being emitted.
Other Options to Carbon Offset Programs
If you aren’t completely sold on the carbon offsetting programs, there are still a number of ways you can offset your flight, independent from the airline. You can look into programs locally or organizations within Canada that aim to reduce GHGs through projects. By cutting out the middleman, you can be assured that the full amount of your money is going directly to the source. You can use provided calculators from airlines to calculate how much you should be donating to offset your flight and make donations based on this amount. Another option is to donate to political and environmental groups that support systemic change in Canada towards a carbon friendly future.
While the carbon offsetting programs in recent history have not always been transparent, it is obvious that these programs are improving with third party intervention. There are still a number of projects that are supported by the carbon offset programs that require funding. So should I offset or should I not? Yes, aviation is a huge source of CO2 and environmental initiatives can help sequester some of this carbon. As you would research most of the things you buy, we recommend making sure you research carbon offsets before purchasing. It is important we recognize that change will come from a combination of things like consumer decision, systemic change, innovation, and most importantly from the polluters cutting their emissions. In the meantime, supporting carbon offsetting projects can be a great way to support green initiatives that help the planet.
For more information on purchasing carbon offsets follow the link below:
Earth Day — So Much to Celebrate!
Has April 22 got a big green and blue circle around it on your calendar? .. read more
The Butterflyway Diaries, Episode 6: “A Nation on Fire”
Somewhere along the Tay River there lies a secret garden. .. watch here
Gas vs. electric debate resurfaces over replacement of Lanark County social housing heating systems
When the electric versus gas debate was discussed back in May 2022, county council endorsed gas boilers over air source heat pumps recommended by the county’s climate action committee. .. read more
Smiths Falls forming climate action committee
Senior Planner Karl Grenke says their focus of course is on a greener town. .. listen here
Lanark County awards tender for social housing heating retrofit
On Wednesday night (March 22), a motion to defer the recommended tender approval in order to explore the option of heat pumps by Councillor Rob Rainer was defeated. .. read and listen
Climate action groups appeal to Lanark County council over ‘climate killing’ natural gas retrofits
Climate Network Lanark has a proposal for electric air-source heat pumps that would cost 55 per cent less. .. read more
Vendors sought for Earth Day event in Carleton Place
Carleton Place’s Environmental Advisory Committee is in search of event vendors — local or Lanark County artisans, makers, artists and businesses or non-profit organizations - for Earth Day on April 22. .. read more
‘Warmer winters’: Is Skate the Lake’s cancellation a sign of things to come?
Winters are warming — impacting local communities and recreation opportunities. This year, Portland's Skate the Lake appears to be a casualty of climate change. .. read more
In Focus – Gord Harrison from Climate Network Lanark
Lynda welcomes Gord Harrison from Climate Network Lanark who offers an update on his organization’s work. .. listen here