Metro Vancouver has hit a snag in its plan to build a garbage incineration empire: provincial regulation of GHG emissions.
In May the Metro Energy Committee learned (Item 5.2 in this agenda) that its existing Burnaby incinerator is the 4th largest emitter of GHG's in the region. Under the provincial cap-and-trade program the emissions from this incinerator alone will cost the region $3 million a year uin 2012 ("equivalent to 30 per cent of revenues," as reported in today's paper.)
This month Metro staff are bringing another report to the Committee ( Item 5.3 in this agenda).
This latest report whines that the province is being unfair to incinerators. Incinerators are subject to cap-and-trade costs while landfills are not. Landfills are covered by a separate piece of legislation. Metro staff admit in the report that they have not been able to bully the provincial officials into giving incinerators a break. Accordingly, the report recommends that the politicians on the Board get involved.
But the province has it right. You can reduce GHG emissions from landfills. All you have to do is keep organic materials out -- something Metro intends to do by 2015. It's rotting organic materials that are the source of landfill GHGs. Once the organics are gone, landfills will be a storage place for materials that potentially will be useful to our grandchildren.
But incinerators can't operate without sending carbon into the atmosphere -- GHG landfills in the sky. They vaporize the resources that future generations will need.