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GreenTech conference focuses on ways to make decarbonization feasible

By Julie Gedeon

Halifax – Green Marine welcomed a record 350 registrants to its annual GreenTech conference being held at the Halifax Convention Centre this June 5th to 7th.

The attendance reflects the steadily rising participation in the environmental certification program with the most significant enrolment over the past year being from port terminal locations and shipyards operations.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Green Marine now represents probably the largest and most diversified network focusing on sustainability in the shipping industry in North America,” said David Bolduc, Green Marine’s president.

Capt. Allan Gray, the CEO of the Port of Halifax, discussed how the “one port city” principle adopted by the port requires an integrated and symbiotic approach to all planning for growth.

“It’s about engaging more with the community and seeing if there are ways for the port incorporate what they need and want,” he explained. “The more we welcome this community and its diverse suppliers, the better we can serve them and operate.”

Capt. Gray added that while some were surprised when an 18-year-old was invited to be on a port community liaison committee, the port’s 50-year span of current planning meant that she would be the only one still around by then.

Shannon Miedema, Director, Environment & Climate Change, within the Halifax Regional Municipality explained some features of the HalifACT – the long-term climate change plan to reduce emissions and help the community to adapt. HalifACT is aiming to reduce its community-wide emissions (in partnership with the port and others) by 75% from its 2016 baseline year by 2030 and to hit net zero by 2050.

“Where Halifax actually differs from other Canadian cities is that we asked the mayor and council to fund the plan as we came out of COVID a couple of years ago… asking for a 3% dedicated property tax increase for climate implementation,” Ms. Miedema related. “So that’s $18 million a year going into a reserve that cannot be touched for any other purpose.”

In his keynote address, John Risley, the CEO of CFFI Ventures and the board chair of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, talked about how the way to pay for decarbonized transport on a user basis might be to take the lead from the airline industry. “Where we need to go is with an ‘inset credit’ to change behaviour,” he explained.

With this approach, individuals pay the additional cost for the sustainable aviation fuel related to their portion of a flight, but that green fuel doesn’t have to be used on that specific plane…  just somewhere within the airline system.

(Photo from Green Marine)