Cornwall forges ahead with climate change plan despite confusion

Cornwall Environmental Services Division Manager Carl Goodwin. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Cornwall will move ahead with a plan to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions despite a divided and confused city council.

The plan voted on Monday night will see a full-time employee dedicated to the role of Sustainable Operations Project Coordinator to devise a zero carbon road map.

“The report asks for a cost analysis (of greenhouse gas emissions) and I don’t really see a cost analysis in the actual body of the report,” Coun. Dean Hollingsworth said in asking for a deferral. “I think you would see numbers, but I don’t see a lot of numbers in the report.”

Environmental Division Manager Carl Goodwin admitted the question that fueled the report is “vague” in terms of understanding what council and the community really wants to accomplish.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert says the report “isn’t terrible, actually it’s quite good” but it didn’t answer the question of the cost of a complete baseline inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for the city and the community.

Hebert questioned how the department was going to create this new position and whether someone was going to lose their job or others were going to have to take up other duties.

“I was originally happy to see the recommendations, but after listening to everyone, I’m more confused than I’ve ever been on this issue,” Coun. Todd Bennett remarked.

The deferral failed in a council vote: supporters wanted more numbers and information; those that didn’t appeared desperate to make sure the plan didn’t fail.

“We’re out to remake a whole world that’s cognizant of the effect of carbon. This is not a one shot deal. For heaven’s sake, let’s honour the work and honour the intention and the sentiments here by doing what’s required of us,” Coun. Elaine MacDonald said. She called it a “positive, first step. Hey, let’s do something, let’s do anything. But let’s not reject action because it’s not good enough.”

Goodwin repeated that the long term goal of the zero carbon road map is to eliminate natural gas and oil for home heating and gasoline and diesel for vehicle fuel, both in the corporation and the community.

“With natural gas and gasoline is where the vast majority of CO2 emissions occur and if we want to stop climate change, those two sources have to be eliminated,” Goodwin said.