Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: deliberative democracy (Page 1 of 2)

NB Citizen Jury informing Scotland

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Roberts, ClimateXChange Postdoctoral Fellow at Strathclyde University, for letting us know that the NB Electricity Futures Citizen Jury we ran in October 2015 was included as a case in a policy brief they published. The brief, Experts and evidence in public decision making, was released this month in hopes it will inform  the consultations that have been recently launched by Scottish Government on the theme of climate change and energy. We are thrilled at this news of offshore research impact.

Day two of ISSRM 2016

Tom Beckley took it seriously when he replaced me as session chair.

Tom Beckley took it seriously when he replaced me as session chair.

Day two at ISSRM got off to a great start with MTU environmental historian Nancy Langston‘s rich tale of mining waste, public health, indigenous culture, wetland ecosystems  and politics around Lake Superior. Her stage presence was engaging but also graceful; she almost danced the story. This was followed by two data-rich reflections on the challenges of survey methodologies by Rich Stedman and Doug Jackson Smith (a great follow-up to Josh Fergen’s talk yesterday), after which I hopped over to session D in our Energy Landscapes mini-conference to learn about biomass fuels and ecosystem service perceptions. After lunch, our culminating mini-conference panel was a great success, ably chaired by Tom Beckley after I came down with laryngitis. Great observations were offered up by all panel members to get things started, including some questioning the vocabulary of the session title itself: landscapes, transitions, etc. About thirty in the audience provided great prompts for the panel, covering different energy source trade-offs, useful theory, viable policy settings, important social questions and more, offering optimistic and more apocalyptic scenarios. The final parallel session of the day had Tom recounting the NB Electricity Futures Citizen Jury, and Chris Clarke talking about psychological distance in acceptability of shale gas (complementary with Anne Junod’s description of the ‘Goldilocks zone’ yesterday). A very ‘energetic’ day.

Tom Measham, Rich Stedman, Jeffrey Jacquet and Kathy Halvorsen at the culminating Energy Landscapes panel session at ISSRM 2016.

Tom Measham, Rich Stedman, Jeffrey Jacquet and Kathy Halvorsen at the culminating Energy Landscapes panel session at ISSRM 2016.

If I were NB Power …

The previous post received a constructive reply from George Porter, head of the Mactaquac project for NB Power. He gave responses to some of the explicit questions I asked (excerpted with permission):

Q             Who would own the land uncovered if the dam was removed?‎

A             NB Power owns the vast majority of this property and is taking no position at this time as to what it would do with the land after a dam removal.  Should the dam be removed, NB Power anticipates that an extensive multi-party planning exercise would be undertaken to establish an appropriate approach to land disposition, development, and use.

Q             How might post-dam remediation proceed and how long does it typically take to stabilize and green up?

A             This is explored in detail in the draft Comparative Environmental Review report posted online September 21, 2015. Chapter 9 is available for you here.

Q             What is left down there, in terms of infrastructure, cultural sites, or sediments (and their associated environmental legacies such as chemical residue or toxins from upriver industry and agriculture)?

A             Some of these subjects are being explored by the Canadian Rivers Institute. As their research is completed it is being made public on their website.

Q             How do the First Nations communities feel?

A             It would not be appropriate for NB Power to unilaterally assess and articulate how the first nations feel about the project.‎  Since 2013, NB Power has been engaging with First Nations in a separate and deliberate process to ensure their rights and interests are considered in advance of the recommended path forward.

He also invited further explanation of my critique, as well as suggestions for how to improve the process. I sat down on the weekend to reply. Here is the full text of my response.

Citizen jury documentary

The short documentary from our October 2015 citizen jury on electrical futures in New Brunswick, led by Tom Beckley at UNB, is now available for viewing online. Another great product from the UNB Media Production team, who also did our Mactaquac Revisited houseboat tour video in 2013. The Energy Transitions team is looking forward to its next meeting at this year’s ISSRM in Houghton, Michigan, where I am co-convening a stream of 5 sessions on energy landscapes and transitions.

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