Monday, March 12, 2018

Don't Call US...

... or how NOT to court a voter.

Readers may remember a couple of recent posts related to Carbon Loading, Policy, and Canadian Political Parties.

After that brush off from the Ontario Trillium Party (which instigated this whole thing) : I thought I would contact the other Political Parties.
Face it, there are elections looming first here in Ontario, and not so far off for Canada.

So this is the letter I drafted:

An open letter to Political Parties

There are elections on the horizon for Canada, and within Ontario. As members of the electorate, each of us will be attempting to draw some balance between the various issues brought forward, and policies intended, by the various Parties in contention. Each of us will have different items of greater or lesser personal concern, and in the end (hopefully) make the best choice possible between the alternatives presented.

I write to ask for specific clarification within a fairly narrow topic area:
Environment - specifically Carbon Tax.

I personally have held the value of ‘The Land’ as massively important for my entire life. I was involved, at least in a small way, in the Environmental Movement of the early 1970s. We most certainly where quite aware of the increasing human impact on our surroundings even back then. I most certainly know of my own life experience that at least the Weather patterns are shifting, locally, regionally and world wide. That the Climate is Changing is certainly a proven scientific fact. Just why this is happening may be open to interpretation. That human activity has had a measured impact, regardless of other factors, is also proven by both short term and long term records - demonstrable facts.
The truth that many of us were aware of this possibility, of the effect of human actions, for such long time, creates an ethical responsibility in my opinion. I will not reasonably live long enough to experience the worst of the Climate shift now clearly underway. That trauma will be born by the current generation of young adults. They will be faced with how to deal with the mess created, in large part, by the excesses of my earlier generation.

To that end, I see that efforts all of us, including Canadians, make now are clearly our responsibility to future generations. Now it has become the time to clean up after the indulgent party that is ended. Smaller inconveniences now may reduce massive efforts certain to be needed so very soon.

To my situation - and Carbon
(sorry this appears a bit long winded - but I’m trying to explain via figures)
I have supported myself as an Artisan Blacksmith, inside a small business operation, since 1992. I require the burning of fossil fuels to heat the forges necessary for this work. There still is no effective replacement for the use of some solid fuel. Please accept the science that weight of carbon X produces Y amount of thermal energy. A fixed amount of energy is required to undergo forging operations. Obviously this all is created by oxidizing (burning) the carbon fuel. (There are wiggle factors based on the operation of specific forge types, but this is the basic equation.)
I have made some attempts in the past to calculate exactly how much fossil fuels to carbon release I am personally responsible for in my normal operations. The calculations are arcane, with different fuels using different measurements, also switching between Imperial and Metric, Industrial and Scientific units. I am completely unable to account for the ‘raw source to workshop’ production or transport elements.


In my workshop, using the equipment available, I can generate the required temperatures by consuming the following (CDN $):

Propane = 9 kg @ $2.50/kg = $22.50
Bituminous Coal = $13.6 kg @1.20/kg = $16.30
Metallurgical Coke = 14 kg (@ ??)
Charcoal = 13.6 kg @ $2.50/kg = $34.00

However, this does not accurately reflect actual consumption over a working period.
Although propane may appear to consume less, in fact over a given hour, considerably more propane is burned (a propane forge is on 100% continually). It also does not reach the same peak temperatures, so takes longer to reach forging temperatures. So coal consumption is actually lower over the same working task / time. Also with coal the air blast (so burn rate) on a coal fire is continually shifted on and off.  This beyond the clear reduction in ‘cost per hour’ for coal use.
This certainly may be balanced by mining and delivery costs - the coal is trucked up from West Virginia. Propane from my local farm co-op location.
So, in a typical year of operation, I normally consume the following totals :

Propane = 365 kg
Coal = 450 kg
Charcoal 135 kg

This makes for a total CO2 loading of  2,007 kg (so two metric tons CO2 = about 450 kg carbon )

* Charcoal could be utilized here as an alternative. Although the needed wood could be considered ‘renewable’, the creation of charcoal itself produces significant amounts of various green house gasses. Trees could be re-grown with enough time (decades), so potentially at least use of charcoal avoids releasing fossil carbon. There is considerable ‘low ball’ in these numbers. Charcoal does not produce a high a total temperature as the other fuels, so in fact takes longer to reach temperature, in turn effectively consuming more fuel per hour. In practical terms regardless, the raw cost of the needed volume of charcoal as a replacement makes too expensive as an alternative.

In comparison, I travel considerably related to my business operations. A typical year would see me consume about 3000 litres of gasoline, which itself generates roughly 7000 kg CO2. (About 1575 kg carbon!)


Given that I fully support the implementation of some form of ‘user pay’ carbon tax.

Given that my business related carbon loading is a total of an estimated 2025 kg (carbon). Of which 450 kg applies beyond gasoline use.

What is the intention of your Party, moving forward currently, or beyond winning the next election?

Importantly, how will this policy apply directly to my situation?

Thank you for your patience in wading through this message.

Darrell Markewitz
Wareham, Ontario (lower Grey County)

PS - A related secondary factor may be my use of a home wood stove.
My home, constructed in 1987 came equipped with electric baseboard heaters only. Living rurally, there is no natural gas available. I might be able to renovate for propane central heat, but the building would not easily accommodate this system, and the cost would be considerable.
I did install a air tight wood stove in the upstairs main living area, which easily cuts my yearly electric bill (seasonal heating aspect) by at least 50%.
I consume roughly 3/4 a standard bush cord (4 x 4 x 8) of hardwood each year to accomplish this.

Carbon cost??

If you read the last posting here 'Carbon Loading at Wareham', you can see where that raw data came from.

I sent a copy of this letter out to each of the four main parties here, to the Ontario and the Canadian levels (so Progressive Conservative / Liberal / New Democratic / Green) - a total of eight separate copies. This was done through the 'contact us' information on the individual party web sites. In most cases this function is a 'form fill' on that web site.

This was done on Monday February 26.

I got 'auto reply' responses (ie: 'Thank you for your inquiry') back that same day from: National NDP / Ontario NDP / Ontario PC.

It has now been two full weeks.


Now, I'm quite willing to cut the Ontario PC party some slack, given the mess they have been going through over the last two weeks!

But everyone else?
Beyond those few 'robo-responses' there has been nothing. 

(Especially GREEN - given that is is a core issue for your Party. And that I did send a second follow up to the local Ontario candidate directly.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You asked a fairly complicated question . It will take some time to figure out an answer (if it can even be figured out at the party level, without the resources of a government department to support the research and drafting of an answer). Then it will need to go through various levels of approval. Two weeks is a very short time for that. I wouldn''t even worry about following up until you have waited 4-6 weeks.


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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