The RNAO's main source of information came from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA), Pembina, the Ministry of Energy along with Greenpeace, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer and a few others like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. Based on a quick count the foregoing represented 38 of the 71 citations listed.
Of the list above Jack Gibbons stands out as the principle purveyor of the information used to produce this 12 page “Position Statement” as he is the current chair of OCAA (16 citations), and is, or has been connected with Pollution Probe and has worked to produce studies for Pembina (6 citations). It is difficult to find a biography on Mr. Gibbons however it appears he is an economist (Queen's U), which presumably means he believes he is qualified to speak on energy matters.
Mr. Gibbon's career has been partially spent in the public sector with short stints as a “project manager” with the Ontario Energy Board and as a “commissioner” with Toronto Hydro but his principal activity has been as an activist in the sustainable energy sphere. He is a scaremonger believing coal and nuclear are dangerous ways to produce electricity. He supports wind and solar and is a big advocate of gas fired controlled heat and power (CHP) generation as one can note from his citations here and here. Mr. Gibbons seriously believes that closing coal and nuclear plants and replacing them with CHP plants wherever a hospital, school , apartment or municipal office resides is the way to go. As an economist he doesn't bother to venture a guess on the costs of this exercise nor does he suggest a cost benefit analysis might be appropriate.
The sustainable energy not-for-profits and charitable institutions that Mr. Gibbons is or has been connected with have fed off the public purse for some time with the Trillium Foundation and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (a City of Toronto owned fund) granting money to Pollution Probe ($345,000), Pembina ($207,000) and OCAA ($385,000) over the past few years. Feeding at the public trough, and the sense of entitlement it provides, apparently translates into a knowledge level that far exceeds what the public and the politicians can grasp so it behooves someone like the OCAA to bestow their knowledge on us.
The same can be said for Gideon Forman Executive Director of CAPE (2 citations) who managed to convince the RNAO two years ago to join with CAPE in denouncing coal plants because they were going to kill “about 1000 people” for the years 2010 to 2014 and cause “over 100,000 illnesses, such as asthma attacks” as the then “Past President of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario”, Wendy Fucile said in their joint April 20, 2010 press release.
Now neither Forman or Fucile backed up their claim with any actual studies or information so the public must simply accept what they claim in this bizarre press release as the truth. It doesn't appear to be based on the oft quoted 2005 DSS study used by the Liberals as their excuse for creating the Green Energy Act so either Forman or Fucile simply made up this information or they have studies to back up these claims. Searching their websites for those studies failed to reveal anything to substantiate their claims!
CAPE is yet another institution that has had success at tapping into handouts from the public purse as the Trillium Fund has managed to hand over almost $600,000 to them in the past few years. Mr. Forman is more forthcoming about his bio which shows he holds a BA (Victoria College) and obtained his Masters at McGill in philosophy. Some people and associations make the mistake of assuming Mr. Forman is a medical doctor: he isn't! For example, the Toronto Board of Health in their July 8, 2008 minutes refer to Mr. Forman as “Dr. Gideon Forman.”
The interesting aspect of the proposal by OCAA and CAPE when aligned with the RNAO's “Position Statement” is simply this: the path they endorse may in fact increase emissions, instead of providing that “clean” air that will reputedly eliminate those 1000 deaths and the 100,000 illnesses.
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OPSE) recently released a 44 page paper titled “Wind and the Electricity Grid” and it contains the following quote on page 32;
“Table 6 below shows that if we replace nuclear generation with the maximum amount of wind and solar generation backed up by gas-fired plants the carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 would be 512% higher than the current Long Term Energy Plan. If we compare with the 2010 emissions in Table 5 the average weighted carbon dioxide emissions would still be 48% more than in 2010!”The authors conclude:
“The simplified analysis above suggests that eliminating our nuclear base load generating plants would make GHG emissions from electricity production rise significantly even if we install the maximum amount of wind and solar generation. This occurs because we still need to manage their intermittency with gas-fired generation.”It is unfortunate that this OPSE report didn't reach the RNAO offices in time for them to examine it. This paper is filled with facts, graphs and information that outlines the fallout effects of eliminating coal and shutting down nuclear on the Province's electricity system. It was prepared by qualified individuals and reviewed by many others to ensure its overall accuracy and the facts therein were consistent with what one would expect from a professional association. With emissions forecast to climb under the scenario proposed by the RNAO perhaps the conclusion drawn by the RNAO might have been different had they taken the time to confer with other “experts”. Those forecast higher emissions, will presumably increase the future “deaths” and “illnesses” contrary to the conclusions of their paper.
I understand that others, such as representatives from the Society for Wind Vigilance, a group of international scientists and health professionals, offered to meet with the RNAO, especially upon learning that a position paper was in the works, but were ignored.
One would hope in the future that the RNAO will look around for complete information that examines all of the possibilities before putting out a “Position Paper” based on hearsay from individuals and groups that in my humble opinion are not qualified in the science.
April 30, 2012