Ocean Health Forum, Tues 10/7/2014 6:30pm at Northwest Maritime Center, downtown Port Townsend. Free.
Details at http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20141006/news/310069998/0/SEARCH
Northwest Straits Commission and Jefferson Marine Resources Committee bring this forum among scientists and locals.
Here’s the connection to Jefferson County’s largest polluter, the Port Townsend Paper mill.
CO2e emissions are one of the major drivers of ocean acidification, the changes in chemistry that threaten local natural shellfish stocks, marine life and habitat.
Port Townsend Paper is by far Jefferson County’s largest emitter of CO2e.
Port Townsend Paper= 611,864 tons per year of CO2e
All others sources in Jefferson County WA = 383,748 tons per year CO2e
That includes industrial, commercial, residential, transportation and solid waste.
Here’s your take-away: PTPC’s emissions amount to a whopping 61% of all CO2e emissions in the County!
Stated another way, PTPC emits 1.6 times all other sources in Jefferson County combined!
A big problem for local discussions is that in an otherwise good 2005 Climate Action Report finalized & published in 2011 by the Jefferson County WA Climate Action Committee, the Committee chose to omit 75% of CO2e emissions from the county’s largest polluter, the Port Townsend Paper Corporation (see text of CAC report, p. 5).
The Committee did a lot of valuable, insightful work, but they undermine their own work by choosing to bow to politics rather than boldly (and bravely) sticking to pure facts, as their role demanded.
In their report, omitting 75% of PTPC’s CO2e emissions reduces the company’s apparent amount to 152,966 tons per year of CO2e, or 40% as much as the rest of Jefferson County.
Even that is shameful! But four times as much — 611,000 tons? Unbelievable!
The Committee’s rationales given were –
A. In conversation, it was said that including PTPC’s full contribution to CO2 would so overwhelm the numbers that people would be discouraged from taking individual action — which somewhat echoes flawed logic floated to excuse countries in international climate change talks from taking responsibility.
B. In the report, CAC uses the biomass industry’s bankrupt “biogenic fuel” arguments, which include:
(a) Myth: that CO2 in the atmosphere behaves differently according to its source.
Fact: CO2 is CO2. Chemistry behaves the same regardless of the source (fossil fuels, wood, etc.). The mill pumps amounts of CO2 24/7/almost 365 into our very local airshed, contributing to our very local ocean acidification and other results of these increases.
(b) Myth: that wood is a renewable fuel just as wind or solar.
Fact: it takes 75-150 years to replace what is burned in seconds and to return to the same CO2 storage capacity as when the trees were cut down–during which interim the storage capacity of the surrounding forest infrastructure is severely reduced. Further, soil processes that store carbon and maintain forest health are disrupted or destroyed.
(c) Myth: that the CO2 would be released anyway by dying trees and so makes no difference to the climate.
Fact: that’s patently wrong. Most of the carbon from dying trees goes into other carbon-based life forms such as critters, plants and new trees. Plus, much of the carbon remains sequestered in extensive root systems that were formed during the tree’s lifetime.
Bottom Line: in the atmosphere, CO2 is CO2 and we need to count all of it in order to have discussions that mean anything.
We can’t expect to develop meaningful solutions while ignoring two thirds of the problem.