Nunavik plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Kativik Regional Government says cars, trucks, snowmobiles produce the most emissions


Snowmobiles and other vehicles in Nunavik produce slightly more than half the region's greenhouse gas emissions. (FILE PHOTO)

Snowmobiles and other vehicles in Nunavik produce slightly more than half the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. (FILE PHOTO)

KUUJJUAQ — A report on how much heat-warming greenhouse gases Nunavik produces shows that vehicles produce more than half of the climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

That’s one reason that Maggie Emudluk, chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, now doesn’t leave her vehicle’s engine running, she told Feb. 28 councillors at the KRG council meeting in Kuujjuaq.

“We didn’t know that they could damage our environment,” Emudluk said.

An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in Nunavik found that in 2008, each person produced 4.9 tonnes of emissions — less than the 7.9 tonnes produced by each resident of Quebec City, for example.

The inventory also found out that in Nunavik, vehicles produce 52 per cent of the 55,161 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

These vehicles include many owned and operated by the KRG and municipalities.

But many popular private vehicles in Nunavik also produce more greenhouse gas emissions. Most all-terrain-vehicles, snowmobiles and motor boats, with two-stroke engines, produce more emissions than four-stroke engines, said the report.

Buildings and other infrastructure also contribute to 42 per cent of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions through heating and ventilation, electricity consumption, refrigerants, like those which are used to maintain arena ice and community freezers and street lighting.

Other sources of emissions include open pit burning at dumps (three per cent), sludge emissions from sewage lagoons (two per cent), and air transportation (only one per cent).

The report concluded, not surprisngly, that in Nunavik, buildings contribute more to greenhouse gas emissions than buildings in the South because cold temperatures require more energy consumption.

As well, heating methods use large amounts of diesel and oil, which produce high emissions.

As for the means to lower the emissions — an action plan was part of the work done by the KRG’s renewable resources, land use, environment and parks department. The plan’s recommendations will be phased in gradually over the next five years.

Their goal: to lower emissions by two to five per cent over five years.

Means to reduce emissions include:

• an awareness plan on idling and driving;

• a “green office” campaign;

• purchase and use of more energy efficient vehicles and applicances;

• energy efficiency objectives for construction companies;

• better routes for water distribution and sewage collection;

• replacement of inefficient community freezers; and,

• and public awareness campaign.

The report notes that many of these measures come with no cost or a low cost.

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