Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231

Vol. 14, No. 4, May 14, 2009

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When it comes to green, how do we know who to believe? In the last few weeks we have seen a number of new challenges to Going Green that have left us pondering how to provide advice to industry and educators on sorting the credible from the not credible. We will be addressing at least one solution later in the year but meanwhile we take a look at a couple of recent issues, biofuels and green consumer products, and suggest what’s really going on and how the reports might best be interpreted.

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs have set a new standard in lighting energy efficiency but even before CFLs have achieved major market share a better lightbulb is already on the market. In this issue we tell you what it is and where you can find it. Better boat paint and how to create better consumers are other topics.

We have received a letter from Statistics Canada providing clarification and more information on the 2007 Households and the Environment survey results that we published in our last issue. We had the opportunity to hear Nicholas Stern, economist and author of the UK government’s Stern Review of Climate Change in 2006. Stern was promoting his latest book, The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity but brought many in the audience to their feet with his optimistic analysis of our ability to address the enormous challenge of climate change.

Two job postings, an update to the classic tale of a prince and a frog, and a note about possible misuse of the federal Ecologo by the Conservative Members of Parliament complete this issue.

Next issue, barring other interventions, we will present our update on pharmaceuticals and personal care products in your drinking water. Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this issue and encourage you to respond with Letters to the Editor, some of which we will select for publication. 
The Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention invites you to attend the 13th Annual Canadian Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on June 15th-16th, 2009.

Have you completed your registration form?: Register by May 15, 2009 and receive discounted rates on registration and hotel accommodations. Please click HERE to register.

For more information: Please click HERE (link:
Sponsorship opportunities are still available: Would you like to sponsor this event and be recognized as supporting the growth of Canadian Pollution Prevention initiatives? Please contact Shari Russell, C2P2 Program Coordinator, at or 1.800.667.9790 ext 247.


What caught our eye was that the same writers were appearing on the topic of biofuels in a paper sponsored by the big-business-supported C. D. Howe Institute (Toronto, Ontario) and in a feature article in Alternatives Journal (Waterloo, Ontario).

Opinions of biofuels, and particularly of ethanol fuel, have been all over the map. Some have viewed biofuels as green bullets to solve energy security and climate change and as providing good markets for farmers. Others have complained that they cause valuable farmland to be removed from food production, that their claims to produce less greenhouse gas emissions are untrue, that they lead to conversion of marginal land, which should be conserved for wildlife to agriculture, and so on.

While biofuel plants were mainly in agricultural areas which profited from selling crops to them, the controversy was less strong. But as plants expanded to neighbours with little vested interest, the smells, the dirt and the noise along with the claims that greenhouse gases were not reduced took more edge off the green.


In the Alternatives article, authors, Mark Purdon, Stephanie Baily-Stamler and Roger Samson, all of R.E.A.P.-Canada, (R.E.A.P. stands for Resource Efficient Agricultural Production) suggest that government incentives, both federal and provincial, over-emphasize liquid fuels compared to green power and solid biofuels. The authors say that, instead of picking winners, governments should set standards for environmental and economic performance and get out of the way to allow the market to choose the most cost-effective renewable energy. Including an economic-wide carbon tax, two other options are to pay incentives based on emission reductions or to pay per unit of energy. They recommend four- lifecycle performance criteria which are energy return on investment (EROI), greenhouse gas mitigation efficiency, energy cost effectiveness, and carbon cost effectiveness.

Some of the discussion includes:
C. D. Howe: Going Green for Less
Roger Samson and Stephanie Bailey Stamler also contributed to the C. D. Howe Institute paper which sets out to analyze the cost effectiveness of federal and provincial government incentive programs for renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With about half of the $4.5 billion in the ecoENERGY program for liquid biofuels, the paper criticizes the focus on liquids. It concludes that for renewable heat and power technologies such as wind, solar air and hot water heating, and biomass pellet heating the subsidy would range from $10-$60 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced. Liquid biofuels would be much higher, ranging from $295-$430 per tonne of CO2e for ethanol and $122 to $175 per tonne CO2e for biodiesel. The conclusion is that the focus on liquid biofuels is wrong as it brings greenhouse gas reductions at much higher costs.

Common Interests

REAP-Canada has been working for a number of years on the development of grass pellets for thermal energy. The C. D. Howe Institute Board of Directors includes business interests such as big oil companies whose interest may not include liquid biofuels.

The C. D. Howe paper concludes that "governments should reduce the incentives to ineffective GHG mitigation technologies, and direct more resources toward rewarding more cost-effective renewable energy technologies – particularly renewable heat and electricity."

GL generally supports the idea that government should not pick winners but should set targets which can be met by the market. However, we also note that by choosing to advocate for tightening up of incentives for renewable energy, the C. D. Howe Institute paper  is ignoring the amount by which the various governments in Canada subsidize the oil industry. If the oil industry had to meet the standards of environmental performance which are proposed for renewable energy it would be an enormous move forward for Canada’s environment.

Although the paper acknowledges that reputable sources arrive at quite variable ranges of emissions, the conclusion implies there is more certainty than exists, for example that we know how much the cost per tonne of greenhouse gas tonne reduced and how much greenhouse gas reduction will be. As mentioned in the federal Environment & Sustainable Development Commissioner’s report, Environment Canada’s estimates for reductions achieved by public transit and other incentive programs were wildly overly optimistic and we might need a middle road between certainty, optimism and negativism. While lifecycle analysis are available for various fuels and the C.D. Howe report includes the numbers used to form the conclusions, there are many factors which make a biofuel more or less efficient both in terms of costs and environmental impacts. These include the type of feedstock, distance from production to point of use, type of conversion technology, management of the facility, requirements of environmental permits, markets for the fuel and byproducts and so on. Requiring full lifecycle analysis for each technology to obtain such data might be more than is required to establish the sustainability of the technology and its eligibility for funding. Governments provide current subsidies to fossil fuel without requiring such lifecycle evaluation of the environmental and economic performance of oil, gas, and coal.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


A US study published in Science magazine also concludes the converting biomass to biofuels such as ethanol is less efficient for achieving transportation and climate change goals and that bioelectricity outperforms ethanol across a range of feedstocks, conversion technologies and vehicle classes. This assumes vehicles could be electrically powered.

Because the amount of land is limited, the study argues that bioenergy which makes the most efficient use of land is preferable. Bioelectricity produces 81% more transport kilometres and 108% more emissions offsets per unit area of cropland than cellulosic ethanol. The study suggests that this doesn’t conclusively mean bioelectricity is the best choice over ethanol as there are other environmental effects such as regional water resources, toxicity of batteries and issues of recycling, air pollution and economics. Competitiveness of biofuels depend on the cost of fossil fuels and of bioelectricity on cost of coal, wind sun, hydro and nuclear but the study says it does point to the need to look at how different energy pathways make use of the limited land available.

The researchers for the US study are from the Carnegie Institution, the University of California, Merced, and Stanford University. Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution said that nobody has really asked the obvious questions about which bioenergy is better. Given how long governments have been aggressively subsidising ethanol, that’s surprising. Maybe they should talk to REAP-Canada, the C. D. Howe Institute and Alternatives Journal. (See above)

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (TC) recently reprised its Sins of Greenwashing of 2007, this time adding a seventh sin.

TC is a private company which operates the Environmental Choice /Ecologo, a trademark belonging to Environment Canada. Back in the late 1980s, when the program was being developed, GL's editor was on the technical advisory committee for the program. Subsequently, the program that was developed at taxpayer expense was handed on a plate to the bureaucrats who had previously run it. Though it is a federal program, in which the government still maintains an interest, it has never been put out for tender.

The originators of the program, who are no longer involved, understood the need for scientific integrity for the program. The aim of the program was, and apparently still is, to provide leadership to the green products market. Competition was to be harnessed to gain environmental improvements to products.

The Seven (XXXSixXXX) Sins of Greenwashing report is an entirely unscientific report. Base data are not provided and there is no evidence of peer review. The stated purpose is to "discourage greenwashing by putting practical tools in the hands of consumers and companies, while still encouraging and rewarding genuine efforts towards sustainable innovation." But the text provides only selective information about the claims and why they are problematic. TerraChoice reports that 98% of green products in four countries are misleading the public on at least one "sin". The methodology seems to be similar to that used by gamblers: the methodologies and statistics which determine the odds are ignored in favour of their belief system. A count of "not-quite-correct" claims of around 50-60% of green products might even be believable (even if wrong) as GL has seen less-than-perfectly worded communications but that 98% of green products have misleading claims is just absurd. Given that misleading advertising is a federal offence, there are either a huge number of brandowners that ought to be prosecuted or  TerraChoice itself is making misleading claims. In any case, this Seven (XXXSixXXX) Sins of Greenwashing report raises a legitimate question as to whether a company that publishes such unscientific gobbledygook should be entrusted with responsibility for managing one of the federal governments’ more high profile science-based environmental initiatives.

Not only the text of the report but also the methodology is built on an unsound foundation. The idea that you can wander into a store, pick up products, look at their labels and determine the truth of those labels (with or without reference to a corporate website or customer support line) is just plain wrong. Diagnosing greenwash is similar to diagnosing cancer: there may be signs or indicators but a diagnosis needs more. It may be unfortunate that a significant level of trust is required to buy many things in the marketplace but that is the reality. . There are many scams, deliberate or inadvertent, contaminations such as lead and melamine or needles/poison inserted by disgruntled employees, ingredients that aren't supposed to be there such as peanuts and ingredients that aren't as represented, fake brands, fake or borderline claims, and products which do not perform as promised whether green or non-green. In some cases, there might be some warning, for example the word Magic, as in Magic Tomatoes, ought to send some alarm bells. Responsible brand owners try to protect their brand, but even so, for the majority of products, green or non-green, neither the consumer nor TerraChoice can reach a conclusion about whether what is stated on the label is accurate or not from simply handling the product.

Irreproducible Results

As in the Inquisition, TerraChoice has appointed itself as both accuser and judge, deciding on what constitutes a "sin", presumably all deadly or mortal ones since there are seven, so the brand owner goes straight to that hot place unless confessing and receiving absolution.

GL knows it's a gross exaggeration to compare a notorious crime against humanity with a text of dogma which is a matter of free speech but TC's text was a bit of torture to read, in line with the climate confused and their "beliefs" about global warming. The late US Senator Daniel Moynihan said that people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. TC has lots of opinions but it is difficult to establish what are the facts. There is only a summary text available to the public and the media (we didn't bother asking this time as last time TC refused to provide us with access to the raw data). The summary doesn't include enough information to do much of an evaluation except for the occasional example. Considering that TC is the company with responsibility for the scientific authenticity of the Ecologo(TM), the apparent weakness of sampling and defining statistical validity should be a cause for Environment Canada to investigate whether this company still has capability to handle the job.

GL was tempted to send the case to the Journal of Irreproducible Results, a science humour magazine which faithfully reproduces graphics and charts so it all looks scientific even if it isn't; some papers are "real" and some created. JIR "targets hypocrisy, arrogance, and ostentatious sesquipedalian circumlocution."

Inflammatory Language

Much of the whole, the report’s language is inflammatory, focussing on infallible judgement and almost certain damnation rather than redemption. At least the Catholic Church has the seven virtues to offset those seven deadlies. The words help illustrate the kind of bias TC holds and generates the image in Peanuts where TC is Lucy, always yanking away the football just when Charlie Brown runs to kick it:
Money, Money, Money

During the Inquisition, a heretic was whatever the Inquisition decided on and there was usually never a simple acquittal. For serious penalties, goods and properties were confiscated and shared between the papacy and the secular princes (the share and how it worked depending on different regions). According to the Encyclopedia Britannia, the Inquisition resulted in the deaths of many people and threw the economy into disarray for centuries as one could never tell if one could keep what one had or inherited. Contracts were void if the signer was declared a heretic. Sins ruled, not the law. Since TC has the license for the Ecologo(TM), which brand is owned by Environment Canada, one presumes that escaping punishment involves getting the product Ecologoed. As a pay to play logo, TC charges brand owners not only fees to become registered for each product but a percentage of sales. For large companies, the amount of money to pay can be significant. While many consumers might not care what money big companies pay, these extra fees for certification affect the price and as one of the things consumers demand is that green products not be priced too much higher than their non-green counterparts, it may be sinful to TC but a virtue to others that companies seek to verify their labels elsewhere.

Lesser of Two Evils

One of the TerraChoice ‘Sins’ relates to the so-called Lesser of Two Evils. A product may make a valid environmental claim but the apparent improvement may be offset by some other aspect of the product that has a greater environmental impact.

Overall GL would agree that it's not much good to transfer the pollution from one source to another. But the interpretation of this assumption often leads to the loss of the good in search of the perfect. There are very few cases of absolute greenism in modern human life. Even no product at all might be less green than a product which helps mitigate environmental damage. For example, burning wood in an open fire uses no products except for the wood and oxygen from the air but it is in fact much worse for air pollution and energy efficiency than burning wood in a stove with emission control standards. Which is the lesser or greater of an environmental impact may vary depending on regional and global environmental problems, opinion, guiding government legislation, and so on.

TerraChoice cites organic cigarettes as an example of this sin. If the claim was combined with one implying that these cigarettes don't release tar and carcinogens into your lungs that would be false but in fact every pack of cigarettes in Canada, whether organic or not, carries a health warning. Reducing harmful pesticide use on tobacco fields benefits the workers, the air, soil, water - that is a fairly good non-evil. If people are going to smoke anyway, which we certainly would agree that they should not, then surely organically grown tobacco is a worthwhile advance in production techniques that can help the rest of us.

Another example given is a fuel-efficient SUV. TerraChoice thinks this is a ‘Sin’. But if you are a family of seven, why is it so sinful to have a seven seat vehicle?

The Sin of No Proof - a Figment of TerraChoice's Imagination

The so-called "Sin of No Proof" is perhaps the most serious misinterpretation of the requirements of Canadian and American labelling and consumer protection guides. In general, regulators do not require the brand owner to reveal to the public all the information which TC demands. GL thinks that TC either does not understand the requirements of the green marketing guides or they are deliberately casting up a fog to mislead. For example, they say that if a baby product says it is "BPA-free" that this is a Sin of No Proof because the label does not prove that the product is BPA -free. TC says there has to be some kind of certification or verification of the claim. If a brand owner is willing to lie about the claim in the first place, how good would a web site "verification" or even "certification" be anyway.

GL's interpretation of the guidelines is that a BPA-free claim is false if the product contains BPA. There may be a gray area for amounts of BPA commonly accepted as background or trace amounts. To be true a BPA-free claim requires two things: 1. that the product contains no BPA and 2. the brandowner has the documentation in-house to prove it. None of the green market guidelines in Canada or the US require a company to provide such proof to individuals. Otherwise, green products would be at a serious disadvantage compared to non-green products.

As an example, the only real way a company can prove its packaging contains, say 100% post consumer recycled paper, is to provide records of supply chain tracking back to the waste paper. If the consumer protection regulator comes to call, this is in fact what would be required. An audit may be painful but is survivable and the business information remains confidential, revealed only to the regulator. Most countries require some level of certification or compliance to ensure safety e.g. building codes, electrical codes and so on and somebody accredited to sign off. Specialized labelling may also require certification by law, for example, an organic claim on food will require compliance with the Canadian Organic Standard in June 2009 if the product is made available for export or intraprovincial trade.


In GL’s opinion, TerraChoice's conclusions fall foul of the Sin of Supercilious Sloth (TMNP*): apathy and indifference to getting something done which should be within their capability and responsibility while complaining about somebody else's shop instead of minding theirs. Products carrying the Ecologo(TM) should have to, but do not, meet labelling standards which exclude "greenwash".

Perhaps the real problem is that Ecologo(TM) products are practically invisible among all the other green products. The federal logo  is certainly failing to achieve its goal of leading the greening of the Canadian retail consumer market. Why bother with a logo that is expensive and that has Canadian federal government involvement if it is not producing benefits for Canadians.

Perhaps Canadians are seeking more information than is provided by current advertising and marketing codes. Perhaps there should be some kind of new regulatory program on labelling and advertising claims, for both green and non-green products, in addition to federal law enforcement. If so, the process needs to be rigorous, unbiased, transparent and accountable. If taxpayers want to spend the money for such a program, either through their taxes or through increased prices at the retail store, GL could support it. However, we suspect that such an effort will find that most products substantively comply with both environmental and non-environmental codes of labelling practice, which is why there are not many federal charges against mainstream products for misleading advertising. What Canada’s industries do not need is being slammed with unsupported, secret, undocumented accusations and off-with-their-heads judgement.

*Trademark Not Pending

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
If a document is printed on paper for which an environmental claim is made, a mechanism is needed to ensure that the paper is in fact in compliance with the claim. For self-declared labels, the business name is likely on the paper in case of a perceived need to audit by the consumer protection regulator. For third party labels, the certifier has to have an assurance mechanism that those using the label are applying it to the environmentally improved paper. This is not as easy as it might seem.
Forest Stewardship Council has a chain-of-custody standard applying to a number of different situations. The forests are certified (FM certification) and the suppliers along the supply chain are also certified (CoC certification). Only printers with a CoC certificate are allowed to use the FSC label. If the paper is printed by someone who is not a CoC certified printer the FSC label may not be applied. By using certified printers, FSC can ensure that its tree check logo is printed in high quality on the item along with a description of the applicable standard, for example, "Mixed Sources Envelope paper from well-managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fibre." A recycled content percentage label is also specified. There is also a Certificate Number. e.g. SGS-COC-2963, and a copyright claim. By looking up the Certificate Number on the FSC web site one can see the general data (name, address, phone, email), status of the certificate, expiry, and standard.

Sustainable Forests Initiative also has a chain-of-custody certification and only those printers who are certified may apply the logo to the product. Others are allowed to use the symbol but only off-product, such as on leaflets about the product. SFI's label also varies but includes both a logo a tree inside a leaf, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Chain of Custody and text which also may vary depending on the standard e.g. x% certified forest, x% certified fibre sourcing and x% recycled content and the web site. Details of the calculations are provided on the web site. The label can also be accompanied by a Mobius loop label with a percentage for recycled content. Danny Karch, who is the Market Director, Market Access (Canada) said SFI has a greater presence in the US but is seeking to expand in Canada. GL was told that SFI chain of custody now includes the certificate number. The list of SFI Chain of Custody Certifications with their numbers is available on the web site.

Forest Stewardship Council. FSC. Certified Products. [A list of FSC-certified printers in Canada and the US is available. It includes government such as the City of Toronto City Clerk's Office, Printing and Distribution]

and to check the validity of the FSC chain of custody certificate of the supplier.

Sustainable Forests Initiative.

Light Emitting Diode light bulbs that are direct replacements for standard 110 volt light bulbs are now available in Canada. The various sizes range from an incandescent equivalency of 25 watts to 60 watts. The LEDs are arranged in banks around a vertical axis. Features claimed include:
The cost may seem a bit steep, ranging from $14.95 to $39.95 at the time of publication, but prices are likely to fall as demand increases. Energy savings and waste reduction are major environmental advantages of these lightbulbs. Over its lifetime, and at a typical household rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour, one of these 7.2 watt light bulbs will consume $39.60 worth of electricity. To give the same amount of light a conventional 60 watt lightbulb will require $330 worth of electricity, plus you will be buying 50 lightbulbs instead of one. GL thinks that is a good deal by any account.
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
The University of California San Diego hosted its third annual Sustainability Awards on April 22. The press release was entitled, "Saving Green by Going Green: Use of new eco-friendly product saves the environment."
Martin Klein of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography received an award for a paint job that reduces carbon emissions by creating a surface so slick that marine organisms cannot adhere to it. He painted a research boat with a "specialized, eco-friendly paint" that is different from traditional antifouling paints because it only needs to be applied every six years as opposed to the standard two.
Sold by International Paint, it is a non-toxic, non-ablative system, meaning it won’t flake off and contaminate the oceans with toxic chips as some current anti-fouling paints may do. It also prevents marine organisms from securing to the ship’s bottom only to be scraped off when it is time to repaint. The paint maintains a slick surface, similar to the skin of a dolphin, which releases organisms when the ship is underway and reduces drag on the ship. Klein intends to eventually outfit the entire Scripps fleet with similarly efficient underwater paint systems as one of the many steps taken.
Klein said, “At Scripps our mission is to study and protect our oceans and planet. This mission does not stop at the shipboard laboratory door. As ship’s crews and landbased support, we continually search for non-polluting, energy efficient, and carbon-neutral ways to do our work,”
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
Monica Cojocaru, Mathematics and Statistics professor at the University of Guelph, has won a Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, one of only two Fulbright research chairs available to Canadian scientists. She will spend five months at the University of California at Santa Barbara to study how to motivate consumers to buy green products such as organic food, hybrid vehicles and fixtures such as energy efficient furnaces. She will use game theory, market modelling and computer simulations to:
Cojocaru is originally from Romania, completed her PhD at Queen's University in 2002, and received an award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council to transfer to Guelph in 2003.
The Fulbright Program is an exchange program arising from a bill by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945 to use sales of surplus war property to fund exchange of student studying in the fields of education, culture and science. Signed in law by Harry S. Truman in 1946, it is a prestigious international exchange program which selects Fulbright scholars on an open, merit-based competitions. Being a Fulbrighter offers leadership development, access to facilities and a community of alumni. Most Fulbright Chairs are specified fields but the UC Santa Barbara is one where the field is open.
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
Thank you for the extensive coverage of our February 10 release of the 2007 Households and the Environment survey. Part of our quality assurance process is to ensure the interpretability of our published data by various users. This note provides clarification with respect to certain points noted in the article. At the same time, it gives additional information on the survey itself and the variables collected in the survey.
1. The article mentioned the publication as Human Activity and the Environment* in the main title - but the data you are referencing come from the Households and the Environment Survey report. These are two distinct publications. The newest Human Activity and the Environment publication will be released in June of this year.
2. GL: "More is needed to connect what seems to be improved household behaviours to positive impacts on the environment, for example, comparisons of household energy and water use changes since the last report to see if there have been any significant improvement. and, ... without numbers of changes in water use, we don't know have much progress if any, Canadians are making in reducing their water use..."
Energy: If by changes in household energy and water use you mean the use of devices/practices (e.g., use of CFLs or water-saving showerheads) aimed at improving energy and water conservation, we did compare the 2006 and 2007 stats, where applicable.
However, if the article meant that we should try to draw a link between the real consumption of energy and water and practices in the households, then it is worth mentioning that there will be a related future release that looks at household energy consumption. An HES Energy Use supplemental survey was sent out to the responding households and we received data on the energy (electricity, natural gas, etc.) usage for about 10,000 units. Since this was the first time that Statistics Canada has delved into such detail about the amount of energy consumed by a household, we have taken extra quality assurance steps to ensure the validity of these data. The plan release publishable energy consumption data - linked to the usage of energy-saving devices - before the end of this calendar year.
Water: The survey does not track the actual quantity of water used. We have considered attempting to gather these data, but since the majority of homes in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Québec and British Columbia do not have water meters, the methodological challenges in estimating the quantity of water used in these provinces would be extensive. I do, however, agree with your point that these data would be quite useful.
3. GL: "The questionnaire used for the survey asks a lot of interesting questions not summarized in the report such as what temperature they normally keep their
This is a valid point. 
The tables that we publish are determined by applying a number of different criteria to the variable. For example, we ask whether it is part of a time-series, whether the variable in question has been recently prominent in the public domain (e.g., bottled water, grocery bags), plus other measures. While we would like to publish everything at once, we have to limit ourselves to one major data release and then a number of smaller analytical pieces. For example, it is planned that some of the waste management variables and public transit use numbers will be released sometime in the next 12 months.
In terms of the temperature variable above, we did consider including a table showing this information, but ultimately, it was decided that due to the varying climates and ambient air temperatures across Canada, the utility and value added to having such a table would be relatively low (for inclusion in the report) compared to other higher priority statistical tables. We do use the data in order to determine whether or not the household raised or lowered their internal dwelling temperatures - but the temperatures themselves were excluded.
In terms of availability of other variables collected in the survey, I would like to point out that the microdata file will soon be available to other government researchers through Statistics Canada's Research Data Centres and a Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) will be released sometime in the next 12 months. These PUMFs are widely used on university campuses.
4. "GL wonders how many of these responses to the survey questions are skewed because Canadians want to see themselves as environmentally-friendly even if they are not."
Non-sampling errors and potential biases are issues of concern in all survey undertakings. In the case of the Households and the Environment Survey, for example, these relate more to the issue of the respondent having a "green" bias, a "social responsibility" bias. Unlike sampling errors, non-sampling errors are relatively harder to quantify and measure. This is why all Statistics Canada surveys must undergo a great deal of extensive scrutiny before they are allowed to be put into the field. Internal review committees, external experts, one-on-one cognitive interviews and focus group are used to test every single question with a goal of minimizing any problems - including bias - that may impact data quality. Validation and analysis of statistical estimates against the results of other similar/relevant data sources and/or studies also form an integral part of the data confrontation exercise.
I hope the above information helps to clarify and to put into context the HES statistics. Again, my sincere thanks for the extensive coverage of our release. This has provided us an excellent opportunity to increase the uptake and interest in our environmental survey data.
Rowena Orok, Acting Director Environment Accounts and Statistics Statistics Canada
* Apologies. GL thought the various topics on the environment were special under the umbrella Human Activity and the Environment. Turns it isn’t so. The citation given to subscribers was:  
Statistics Canada. Households and the Environment 2007 Catalogue no. 11-526-X Households and the Environment 2007.
On May 1, GL's editor attended a speech given by Nicholas Stern at the Economic Club of Canada. Stern, a British economist, who became world renowned in 2006 on the release of his report which put a price tag on action and inaction and concluded that dealing with climate change sooner would yield more benefits and cost less than waiting to take action. (see GL Vol. 11, No. 13, November 13, 2006 Stern - Climate Change: Biggest Market Failure the World Has Seen).
Stern has now returned to academe and, no longer a public employee, said, "I can say what I like and can be less cautious than when reporting to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown... Looking back, I think I probably underdid it although it was called alarmist at the time. Since then the emissions are growing faster than we thought, the planet is reacting faster and the impacts are growing. The problem looks worse but the political capability of dealing with it is better."
Stern says that we can't avoid 450 ppm of CO2e in the atmosphere but must stop before 500 ppm if we are to avoid catastrophe. Currently the concentration is about 430 ppm CO2e and growing at the rate of 2.5 ppm per year. This means we will be at 450 ppm CO2e in ten years. To avoid getting to the upper number or 500 ppm CO2e means taking action very quickly. If emissions are still going up by 2020 and strong declines fail to materialize by 2030, we will not be able to prevent a rise of 70 ppm CO2e (the difference between 430 ppm and 500 ppm) by 2050. Once the carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere it stays there for a long time. Stern says we need a 50% reduction in world emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 to stay under the upper limit.
Global emissions in 1990 and 2000 were about 40 Gt CO2e per year. World annual per capita emissions were about 7-7.5 tonnes in 1990 to 2000 and are now about 8 tonnes. Halving the emissions relative to 1990 would leave 20 Gt of CO2e per year by 2050. This has become more difficult because total annual emissions now are about 50 Gt CO2e. With a global population expected to be 9 billion by 2050, the target per year is about 2 tonnes of CO2e per person in 2050. In some countries like the US, Canada, and Australia, CO2e emissions per person are over 20 tonnes per year and in Europe and Japan 10-12 tonnes, in China 5 tonnes, India under 2 tonnes and most of sub-Saharan Africa under 1 tonne. Stern argues that for equity purposes, rich countries should have an allocation of zero or even negative and have to pay for all actual greenhouse gases emitted. The industrial nations have been "drinking" from the reservoir of the earth's finite resources for 200 years and "to suggest that we should all be entitled to emit roughly equal amounts by 2050 is to say that, at the end of the drinking spree, we should be using glasses of the same size...this is a very weak notion of equity."
Stern sees development and climate change closely linked and not treatable as two separate issues. More details of the structure of a global deal are in his new book, The Global Deal. He says the world should require developed countries to accept binding targets to reduce their country-level emissions by 20-40% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990. They should demonstrate that low carbon growth is possible and affordable, sharing technology and creating trading and other financing mechanisms. Developing countries should take on targets by 2020 and plan for 2 tonnes per capita per year by 2050, peaking before 2030. Middle income countries should peak before 2020. Carbon trading schemes should include developing countries and carbon credit schemes providing credits from developing countries should be simplified to allow for bigger markets for emission reductions. Other details on funding, rich countries delivering on overseas development, technology demonstration and much more are also discussed.
Low Carbon Growth / No Growth Economy
Robert Costanza, director of the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, Burlington and famous in his own right for his seminal work on valuing ecosystem services, praises the book in a review in the latest Nature magazine.
Costanza says that one shortcoming is the "uncritical acceptance of economic growth as the only path to future prosperity but fails to recognize that conventional economic growth is merely a means to the goal of sustainable human well-being. Economic growth is not - and should not be - an end in itself." He suggests that the "global deal" Stern proposes will give more weight to "the commons" - public goods such as the atmosphere that are open access but need to be assigned appropriate property rights so they can be protected." Costanza writes that neither socialism nor capitalism have dealt adequately with the commons and that the current economic meltdown could help us find a new balance.
Professor Nicholas Stern is the IG Patel Chair and Chairman of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Director of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As Baron Stern of Brentford, he is a member of the UK House of Lords. He was Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank from 2000-2003, head of the UK Government Economic Service from 2003-2007, and head of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change from 2005-2007.
Stern, Nicholas. The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. New York, NY: Public Affairs Books, 2009. $26.95 US $31.00 Can.
Published in the UK as A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a new Era of Progress and Prosperity. Bodley Head, 246pp, £16.99.
Costanza, Robert. Could climate change capitalism? Economist Nicholas Stern's latest book a rare and masterly synthesis of climate-change science and economics. His 'global deal' could change capitalism for the better. Nature. April 30, 2009. p1107. [subscription]
The Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) invites applications for an Executive Director interested in guiding CIELAP in growing and diversifying its existing mandate and funding base. The principal location of work is in Toronto, Ontario, although the organization’s reach is national. The job posting is on the website. The deadline for applications is May 18, 2009 (no phone calls).
GL's editor has spent many an hour over the years talking with the CIELAP's executive director Anne Mitchell and has a lot of respect for her and the steady and strong hand she has in CIELAP's pioneering work in environmental law. Established in 1970, CIELAP was one of only a handful of non-profit organizations focussing on environmental law, which wasn't considered a category of practice at the time. Mitchell became executive director in 1992 and has been promoting the balanced, maintain dialogue with the stakeholders and reliable research to support environmental and sustainable development policy which are the aims of the group.
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy 130 Spadina Ave, Suite 305, Toronto, ON, M5V 2L4 Email: cielap— [replace with you know what] [see news release May 18, 2009.]
Light Up The World Group (LUTW) is the first international development organization to utilize renewable energy and solid-state lighting technologies to bring affordable, safe, healthy, efficient, and environmentally responsible illumination to people who do not have access to power for adequate lighting.
As Executive Director, you will manage a unique blend of non-profit charitable activities and sales of lighting systems activities. You will report directly to the Board of Directors. Your engaging and inclusive management style and your passion for international development will be invaluable as you lead Light Up The World into the next exciting period of growth.
You will have an understanding of sustainable energy solutions, and related social, economic and environmental issues, including the use of micro-credit and "bottom of the pyramid" issues; an understanding of the NGO sector; a high level of business acumen; proven program and project management skills; strong personnel and financial management experience; a good track record in Canadian fundraising; and personal and professional integrity.
A confident and respected leader, you harness the potential of your staff to create a dynamic and highly effective team. You are known for your strong analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and enjoy working in fast-paced, challenging environment.
Resumes should be received by May 15, 2009 and forwarded to J C Ireland, LUTW, #500 340- 12th Ave SW, Calgary, AB. T2R 0H2 or via e-mail to t.collins/// [replace with the correct symbol]
GL’s Editor is a member of the Board of Directors of Light Up The World.
For some optimism. try the 90 second video at the Prince Charles's rainforest SOS project. The topic is serious: deforestation is costing us the earth; dealing with climate change means addressing rainforest destruction. A fast moving ticker counts up the number of square metres of "rainforest lost since you loaded this page." But the run through of celebrities and others each with the same animated frog with sound effects is both amusing and inspirational. There are some surprises in who is among the cameos. Eighteen businesses support the project. Among the individuals on the Steering Group is Nicholas Stern (see above)
Prince's Rainforests Project. For video click on arrow in middle of You Tube rectangle.
BBC. Rainforest film brings out stars. May 5, 2009.
For several months before last fall's federal election, GL's household received a series of about 5 or 6 one page black and white flyers from our federal Conservative Party MP as constituency leaflets. We saw the same flyers in the West but with the photo and return address of the local MPs.
These flyers carried the federal Ecologo symbol, the three doves forming a maple leaf in a circle with the words Environmental Choice and Choix Environnemental. The logo was very poorly printed, the Environmental Choice hardly readable and there was no text to explain why the logo was being used on the flyer although we guessed that it might be because of the paper. However, the poor print quality was a sign that perhaps this might not actually be Ecologo certified paper.
Since TerraChoice has been taking such a high ground about ecolabelling, one would expect them to ensure their own processes are above reproach (see above on sinning.) We thought we ought to ask them how they verify that a flyer carrying the logo is actually printed on paper which they have certified, how they confirm that all such flyers are on Ecologo paper, and why they don't require some kind of text to explain what the logo means. It is very easy to photocopy on to non-certified paper. Two emails asking them those questions didn't produce any answer at all but two other certifiers, using other logos, do have answers for their labels (see article earlier in this issue on Chain of Custody). In the last few weeks, we received another of the same type of flyer (must be an election expected soon) with exactly the same poorly printed Ecologo(TM) symbol.
We suggest that the Ecologo(TM) appearing on Conservative Party MP literature may be an inappropriate use and that the Conservative Party of Canada MPs may therefore be guilty of the mortal sin of Fibbing as described in the TerraChoice Seven Sins of Greenwashing report. Perhaps TerraChoice is also guilty of the sin of Aiding and Abetting Fibbing, which we have just invented (hey, it’s easy). May they all be condemned to greenwash hell forthwith.
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