Canada (of the tar sands) greenwash: 10% used cooking oil used to fly its athletes to Olympics

Canadian Olympic team members travelled from Montreal on an Air Canada Airbus A330. 20% of the fuel used to power the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered engines contained a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene mixed with recycled cooking oil supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG. Last month, Air Canada conducted its first biofuel flight between Toronto and Mexico City as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights. The airlines hopes this tiny biofuel contribution will slightly reduce their athletes’ carbon footprint. Air Canada is also using conventional ways to cut fuel use, like single engine taxiing, reduced thrust take offs, and continuous descent. This is the same Canada that pulled out of the Kyoto protocol, due to its massive carbon emissions from shale oil.


Canadian athletes power their way to the London Olympics on jet biofuel

27.7.2012 (GreenAir online)

Canadian team members bound for the London 2012 Olympic Games have travelled from Montreal on an Air Canada biofuel-powered flight of an Airbus A330. Twenty per cent of the fuel used to power the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered engines contained a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene mixed with recycled cooking oil supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG. [This is nonsense, as there is nowhere like enough used cooking oil to make any sort of significant difference to aviation – most used cooking oil is already taken for terrestrial uses. Used cooking oil is likely to be a genuinely sustainable fuel.  There just is not enough of it, to get the aviation industry out of its difficulties.  It is  for token gesture flights only, for PR purposes].

Last month, Air Canada conducted its first biofuel flight between Toronto and Mexico City (link )as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights that took the ICAO Secretary-General to the Rio+20 sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro. The organisers of the London Games, which formally open today, have promised them to be the most sustainable ever.

“As the Official Airline of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams, Air Canada is proud to be flying Canadian athletes to London. Just as our athletes strive for excellence in their athletic performance, Air Canada strives for excellence in its environmental performance,” said the airline’s Senior Vice President Operations, Dave Legge, before the departure of Tuesday’s (July 24) flight AC864. “Today, we will be flying some of Canada’s best athletes in the best environmental way – using biofuel to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Commenting on the world’s first transatlantic biofuel flight using an A330, Airbus Vice President Environmental Affairs Andrea Debbané said: “Like the sports star on board, we too have goals. More than 90% of Airbus Research and Technology is directed at setting new records in environmental performance, including speeding up sustainable alternative fuel production and keeping the world connected.”

Air Canada is implementing other techniques and measures to reduce its environmental impact, including engine washing to increase efficiency, minimising APU use on the ground, single-engine taxiing, reduced thrust take-offs, optimised climbs and cruise speed and altitude, and constant descents.



Air Canada Is The Latest Airline To Conduct Biofuel Flight

6/19/2012 ( Huffington Post)

Air Canada Biofuel

Air Canada is the latest airline to hop on the green travel bandwagon by conducting its first flight with sustainable fuel.

Flight AC991 took off from Toronto en route to Mexico City Monday, and,according to a press release, the flight will generate 40 percent fewer emissions thanks to the fuel and other fuel-saving measures. It’s part of an environmental demonstration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coincide with the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

“Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment,” said Duncan Dee, executive vice president and chief operating officer, in the press release. “Since 1990 our airline has become 30 per cent more fuel efficient and we are determined to increase these gains through cutting-edge measures.”

The flight was powered by a 50-50 blend of regular jet fuel and that derived from used cooking oil. The blend was produced by SkyNRG, which has served other major carriers.

When Thomson Airways launched its biofuel flights in October 2011, they were powered by fuel from Dutch-based SkyNRG. KLM and Finnair did the same last summer.

Also in October, Virgin Atlantic announced it would be developing a low-carbon aviation fuel with New Zealand-based LanzaTech. And, in November, Qantas revealed its agreements with two manufacturers of alternative airplane fuels to develop algae-based and water-based jet fuels.




Canada wins legal battle to pull out of Kyoto Protocol

 26 July 2012

The conservative Canadian government has won its case in the Canadian Federal Court over its decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Canada first announced its plans to withdraw from the international greenhouse gas emission reduction commitment at the United Nations’ climate summit in South Africa last December.

The decision has been contested by a Quebec politician Daniel Turp, who argued that the government needed the approval of the Canadian Parliament first.

But the Canadian Federal Court has ruled that the government has a “royal prerogative” to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol without consultation.

The Parliament should have passed a law to force the government to consult on the ratification or withdrawal from treaties, said the Court.

For further information:

Related stories:
Green groups criticise Canada’s decision to drop out of Kyoto Protocol (14-Dec)




Canada May Miss $6.7 Billion Carbon Offset Bill By Exiting Kyoto Protocol

By Jeremy van Loon – 
Dec 2, 2011
Canada, the country furthest from meeting its commitment to cut carbon emissions under theKyoto Protocol, may save as much as $6.7 billion by exiting the global climate change agreement and not paying for offset credits.

The country’s greenhouse-gas emissions are almost a third higher than 1990 levels, and it has a 6 percent CO2 reduction target for the end of 2012. If it couldn’t meet its goal, Canada would have to buy carbon credits, under the rules of the legally binding treaty.

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil-sands producer

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil-sands producer, runs this facility north of Fort McMurray. Kevin Cooley/Bloomberg Markets via Bloomberg

Canada, which has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, would be the first of 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to annul its emission-reduction obligations. While Environment Minister Peter Kent declined to confirm Nov. 28 that Canada is preparing to pull out of Kyoto, which may ease the burden for oil-sands producers and coal-burning utilities, he said the government wouldn’t make further commitments to it.

“Canada is the only country in the world saying it won’t honor Kyoto,” said Keith Stewart, an energy and climate policy analyst for Greenpeace in Toronto. Under a previous Liberal government, Canada was one of the first countries to sign Kyoto in 1998. The current Conservative government made a non-binding commitment at 2009 United Nations talks in Copenhagen to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, in line with a pledge by the U.S., its biggest trading partner.

The biggest polluters in the nation of 34 million say they’ll cut emissions without a treaty. “Kyoto no longer works,” said Rick George, chief executive officer of Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest oil producer. “Whatever happens with Kyoto won’t change our direction” of reducing the environmental impact of oil production, he said.

Impact From Technology

For Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., technology improvements will have a bigger impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas output than an international climate-change treaty, said Jack Mintz, director of the school of public policy at the University of Calgary.

“Technology is the only way we’re going to make significant progress,” Mintz said in an interview. “A lot of companies are already anticipating that the federal government will look at new regulations. Kyoto hasn’t been a strong treaty.”

Canada would likely avoid penalties if it exits the treaty before the end of the year, said Matt Horne, climate change policy director at the Pembina Institute, a Canadian think-tank focused on sustainable energy. Kyoto’s first commitment period from 2008 until 2012 requires reductions only from so-called Annex I countries, the world’s wealthiest and most developed. It doesn’t include developing nations including India and China, the world’s biggest CO2 emitter.

Reputation Tarnished

“Penalties apply in the second commitment period,” said Horne. “More importantly though, Canada’s international reputation will be tarnished.”

The $6.7 billion cost of complying with Kyoto compares with an estimated C$75.9 billion ($74.8 billion) in combined budget deficits projected through the fiscal year ending March 2015. By rejecting the accord, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is putting the country’s economy at risk, Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party, said in an interview.

“We’re condemning ourselves to rising costs from extreme weather events as well as opportunity costs like the failure to have a renewable-energy industry,” she said. “The world would be grateful for Canada to be constructive instead of the government consistently repudiating Kyoto.”

Durban Talks

Canadian delegates, including Kent, are in Durban, South Africa for United Nations climate talks. Negotiators are struggling to agree to a successor to Kyoto, which expires at the end of 2012 and is also opposed by Japan and Russia.

Negotiators from host South Africa urged Canada on Dec. 1 to reconsider its position about not entering another commitment period, highlighting the risks to the developing world with rising temperatures and sea levels.

“Our government believes that the previous Liberal government signing on to Kyoto was one of the biggest blunders they made,” Kent said Nov. 28. “Kyoto is the past, Copenhagen and Cancun are the future,” he said, referring to the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

Canada will have likely emitted about 890 million tons of CO2 above its Kyoto target by the end of the first commitment period next year, based on annual emissions data compiled by Bloomberg. Carbon Emission Reduction credits, or CER, cost 5.62 euros ($7.55) a ton on Nov. 30, according to Bloomberg data.

No Policy

Unlike countries such as Germany, Canada has implemented no policy to reach its targets and will find it difficult to reach even the Copenhagen Accord goals, said Greenpeace’s Stewart.

Already 60 percent of the country’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants, which emit fewer gases than coal or natural gas, while the government’s plan to become an energy superpower by exporting crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands means the country faces “steep” increases in emissions in the coming years, Stewart said.

Emissions of carbon from oil sands production has risen to about 6.5 percent of Canada’s total from about 1 percent in 1990, according to the Pembina Institute. That figure will likely double by 2020 as companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Suncor and Royal Dutch Shell Plc expand operations to refine bitumen with annual investments of C$20 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at