Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 16, No. 7, November 7, 2011
Honoured Reader Edition

This is the honoured reader edition of the Gallon Environment Letter and is distributed at no charge: send a note with Add GL or Delete GL in the subject line to Subscribers receive a more complete edition without subscription reminders and with extensive links to further information following almost every article. Organizational subscriptions are $184 plus HST nd provide additional benefits detailed on the web site. Individual subscriptions are only $30 (personal emails/funds only please) including HST. If you would like to subscribe please visit If you feel you should be receiving the paid subscriber edition or have other subscriber questions please contact us also at This current free edition is posted on the web site about a week or so after its issue at Back free editions from January 2009 are also available.

The next UN climate change summit, officially the Seventeenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Seventh Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will be held from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Though expectations for this international meeting remain quite low, pressure is increasing on the intransigent parties such as Canada and the United States.

In this issue of GallonLetter we look at some of the more recent developments including an account of a recent interview given by Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent to CBC Radio. We look at the recent, and in many ways laudable, effort of global financiers to tell governments what to do instead of doing it themselves. We look at a book on the role of insects in innovation. Taxpayers are putting huge amounts of money into Carbon Capture and Storage while other worthwhile government initiatives go unfunded: we wonder why CCS should be funded by taxpayers rather than by users of the GHG emitting fuels. This issue contains several more articles on recent developments in climate science and technologies, including the approach taken by one utility to comply with provincial regulation in Alberta.

If you have heard that there may not be enough lithium available for batteries to meet the world demand for electric vehicles, some business researchers at the University of Michigan Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and at Ford have studied this challenge and have come to the conclusion that this is not an insurmountable problem. We report on the article.

Our editorial looks at another incident from a company that seems to have an unfortunate tendency to call its lawyers before engaging its brains. GallonLetter views it as a useful model in how to get the worst possible publicity for your environmental problems.

GallonLetter's Editor travels quite widely across the country for conferences and speaking engagements. We have recently implemented a policy of telling you where you might find him. This week it is at the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo in Montreal and next week it is at an event in Waterloo. Details are below. Please drop by to say Hi! And contact us by phone or email if you need to pinpoint his location.

Barring dramatic developments in Durban or elsewhere, the next issue of Gallon Environment Letter will be on the subject of the sustainability of the world's forests. Meanwhile, we hope you find value and interesting topics in this issue. We invite you to send your comments on our articles or on anything else to do with sustainability to We will choose a selection of the most interesting for publication.


Erin Carr-Jordan is a professor of adolescent behaviour at Arizona State University. She might be called an activist: some of her research is focused on the presence of potentially harmful microorganisms on the surfaces of children's playground equipment. In GallonLetter's telephone interview, however, she seemed about as level headed and sensible as any university researcher might be expected to be.

As part of her research, she has visited and taken samples from numerous fast food restaurant play areas across the United States, including one playroom at a McDonald's restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. For her efforts she has been advised by lawyers for the McDonald's franchisee that she is banned from eight McDonald's in the Phoenix area that are operated by the same franchisee and that have playrooms. Fortunately, because she is happy to take her own children to McDonald's, she is not banned from the three Phoenix area restaurants that do not have playrooms nor is she banned from any other McDonald's in the nation.

McDonald's corporate media relations has told Gallon Environment Letter that:

"We take feedback about our restaurants extremely seriously. Over the past several months we have engaged in open and honest dialogue with Dr. Carr-Jordan in an effort to address her concerns and review her findings. We are still committed to doing this.

That said, it appears recent actions by Dr. Carr-Jordan have become disruptive to the employees and customers within our franchisee's restaurants, which prompted the letter from his attorney. We remain committed to working with an internal team on ensuring that our PlayPlaces are clean and safe for all customers."

McDonald's has not responded to GallonLetter's inquiry on ways in which "recent actions by Dr. Carr-Jordan have become disruptive to the employees and customers within our franchisee's restaurants". Dr. Carr-Jordan claims that she was in no way disruptive and limited her comments to other customers to suggestions to parents in the playroom that they should ensure that their children wash their hands before eating. To GallonLetter, that sounds more constructive than disruptive.

The news stories about Dr. Carr-Jordan's banning have traveled around the world (see, for example, ). The likely result is that parents around the world think that McDonald's play areas are disgusting places infested with antibiotic-resistant Staph and meningitis. GallonLetter surmises that the action of the franchisee in Phoenix has probably cost McDonald's worldwide far more in lost earnings than his Phoenix area restaurants earn in a year.

We are writing about this because we think it is a good example of corporate stupidity. The stupidity, as we see it, is not in sending a lawyer's letter banning entry to a few restaurants to a university professor who will almost certainly give it to the press and benefit her cause enormously, but in having franchisees who think they can stick lawyers on to customers and researchers without any consideration of the broader consequences. Sustainable business is not just about recycling programs and carbon emissions but also about governance and management strategies. This incident illustrates a big hole in McDonald's strategy for sustainable business. Many other companies likely have similar weaknesses presenting major risks to their reputation and profitability.

A brief note on the underlying issue: spread of disease through playground equipment, especially in areas where diapered infants are encouraged to play, is almost certainly a problem in our society. Playground equipment should be cleaned regularly but, however regular the cleaning, it will not be enough as soon as an infected infant or toddler uses the equipment. If these infections were highly aggressive, children would be getting sick at much higher rates than we see in developed countries. GallonLetter agrees that these issues are worthy of study, commends McDonald's for agreeing to study them, and, based on the available and admittedly limited evidence, condemns the Phoenix franchisee for turning a reasonable research exercise into an international horror story with his own company positioned as the bad guy. To Dr. Carr-Jordan, if you want to find even higher levels of "bad bugs", try the cubicle door locks and flush handles in restrooms in establishments frequented by the public. We will not solve the problem of transmission of drug resistant organisms by focusing only on play rooms, nor are we likely to solve the problem only with better cleaning. The growing problem of drug resistant disease organisms is huge and it needs an integrated international response, one element of which is the banning of the unnecessary use of antibacterial cleaning products that foster the evolution and growth of antibiotic resistant organisms.

Colin Isaacs 

For more on Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan's take on this issue, visit               


The 2011 Global Roundtable organized by the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative held in October focussed on sustainable financing to ensure the long term stability of the world economy. As part of the event, a group of 285 investors said to represent assets of US$20 trillion signed a statement on climate change.

UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance.

Recommendations covered domestic and international issues. Among the recommendations for domestic policies are:
1. Ensure effective policies are in place.
2. Ensure policies are well designed:
3. Ensure the effectiveness of the institutions involved with the policies. Provide sufficient resources and effective implementation.

Kudos from Some

The statement was lauded by some. For example, the Globe Foundation lauded the position as part of a mailout for its conference and trade show Globe 2012 to be held in Vancouver March 14-16, 2012 . The group Al Gore chairs, The Climate Reality Project, posted an article suggesting that taking these capitalists seriously as allies could be a fine thing to do, "In the past, we've seen some good examples of businesses being proactive in the fight against climate change and the push for clean energy solutions. Sure, capitalism is not motivated by altruism, but by the opposite — self-interest. In fact, that's exactly why they get it. Businesses understand risks, and they do the cost-benefit calculus better than most of us. Guess what that tells them? That the time for action on climate change is now."

Gallonletter: Statement Falls Short

GallonLetter thinks that this statement is mainly about financiers telling someone else, governments, what to do. We certainly would not disagree with much of what is proposed except perhaps that we think small scale can be just as important as large scale. Also we find it quite novel that this powerful group is happy to suggest so publicly that governments (ie taxpayers) should guarantee investors a good return. We suggest that investors who are not taking climate risks into account should in fact be guaranteed a bad return on their investments. But who would disagree with the idea of a well-designed policies, institutions with adequate resources to implement, etc. However, we are sure that whatever apparent high-level consensus this statement appears to show, when it is crunch time, the policies that are developed will never quite meet the high standard that this group suggests.

We would have liked to see a commitment from these investors that they themselves would make efforts to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. Just as they are asking governments to make such a commitment, investors also have the ability to refuse to invest in projects that threaten this target. They have the ability to collect greenhouse gas emissions data from the companies/projects in which they invest and they could commit to a significant and specified reduction in emissions from their investments. While it is good to see investors support action on climate change, it would be even better if they were to put their own mouth where their money is.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Insect epidemics have historically helped to foster innovation. The town of Enterprise, renamed Weevil, in Alabama has a statue of the Cotton Boll Weevil in recognition of its role in getting the town to diversify to other economic pursuits when the weevil threatened to destroy the economy of the town by decimating cotton crops. The book Empire of the Beetle by journalist Andrew Nikiforuk verges on beetlemania and gives a tip of the hat to the many people who have studied the intricacies of relationships in the ecosystem of trees, birds, bears, squirrels, plants and of course, the bugs and their even tinier companions such as fungus and mites. It is also a lively story of human folly, of science ignored, or perhaps of hubris on the part of the decision makers who ignored scientific advice and scientific experts whose knowledge proved inadequate for the changing circumstances. Policies and politics favoured economic exploitation over realities of nature.

The spruce beetle and the mountain pine beetle have eaten their way through forests in western North America and are now expected to expand their range northward, eastward and to higher altitudes is. Their impact is on a monumental scale. Although native to western North America and always a presence, the bark beetles have never killed so many million trees before. The beetles have destroyed twice as much forest in ten years as in the previous century. Crawford Holling, a Nanaimo, British Columbia ecologist who won the 2008 Volvo Environment Award isn't one of those who wants to wipe out the beetles but "reckons that the extreme, the small and the improbable will decide our future."

Nikiforuk presents the views of many scientists and ecologists whose views are that the beetles are more of a symptom of things gone wrong not only in forest policy but in dealing with climate change and with recognition of the interconnectedness of nature. A major problem was forest fire suppression to maximize the number of harvestable mature trees creating a same species same age monoculture compared to a multi-age and diverse forest which results from fires.

Climate change is a factor as hotter and dryer summers stressed the trees (tree rings are smaller in the last two decades as available water dropped.) The beetles strike in early spring just when the trees are opening needle pores to photosynthesize releasing water vapour which they can't replace because their roots are still frozen; without water the trees can't make resin which helps protects them from invasion. Warmer temperatures allow the beetles to mature into adults in one year instead of two.

David Mattson, a grizzly bear biologist in Yellowstone, studied the relationship between the pine seeds caches made by squirrels which were raided by bears providing essential nutrients for raising cubs. When climate change in the 1990s affected the trees, Mattson recommended that the bears have a bigger range but this would have impacted hunters, gas companies and ranchers. His advice was not wanted: "Partly because of his direct and repeated warning, Mattson now studies cougars in Arizona."

For some in the affected areas, the measures taken and the millions of dollars spent by government to clearcut caused more damage than the beetles. Examples of issues discussed in the book include one beetle event around Prince George British Columbia:
GallonLetter observes that Nikiforuk has done an excellent job of showing how much of a challenge it can be to take practical action to deal with or adapt to catastrophic events when scientists lack even basic data about the changes taking place in the landscape. In 1995 Canada closed down its Forest Insect and Disease Survey so large areas of forest were infected with mountain pine beetle before anybody paid much attention. The responsibility was passed to the provinces who took some time to get into gear so Allan Carroll, a Canadian insect ecologist, comments that it was as though the federal government ""had poked out its eyes and blinded itself. We faced global change in the forest yet lacked the capacity to measure it.""

The book was one of the 68 finalists for the 2011 Governor General's Literary Awards. GallonLetter thinks that so often non-fiction award winners are historical or social works so if we had a vote we would plumb for this one which is so well-written and has such a strong truth to tell about science and the environment.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.

Nikiforuk, Andrew. Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests. Vancouver, British Columbia: Greystone Books and David Suzuki Foundation, 2011.


Canada's Environment Minister, Peter Kent, made himself available to CBC Radio's The Current with host Anna Maria Tremonti on the topic of climate change on October 27, 2011. The government has been taking hits lately from a proposed European rule disfavouring oil from the oilsands, a very critical report by Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, who says Canada's climate change planning is so disorganized there is little likelihood of achieving any of the several targets, and the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy about the high costs of climate inaction.

CBC Radio used to document how often to they tried unsuccessfully to get government officials to participate in interviews talk but they gave up because it became too common that ministers were not available. So Minister Kent must be given kudos for showing his face (or at least his voice). Even better would be to hear the voices of the scientific experts in the federal government.

The following is a summary of some of the highlights (!)* of the interview:

Tremonti: the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy report projected that climate change would cost $5 billion a year by the end of this decade and $40 billion a year and up by mid-century and the years following.
Kent: the Copenhagen and Cancun climate conferences set out a global challenge which requires a global solutions. He suggested that the NRTEE echoes what the government has been saying in terms of mitigation and that Canada's small contribution of barely 2% to global emissions mean that Canada isn't going to have much effect.

Tremonti: Canada's per capita emissions are among the highest in the world.
Kent: the reality is that Canada has been working for years now on a climate change agreement, ideally a binding treaty, to engage all major emitters in order to address effectively a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In the pre-Durban meeting, Canada has continued to urge the large emitters to engage and take up their responsibilities.

Tremonti: emissions are on the rise.
Kent: Canada is not buying into "hot air" from depressed Eastern European economies but is regulating transport such as cars, trucks, railroads and renewable fuel additives which play a small part. Regulations on the coal-fired electricity sector will be enacted and then regulations will focus on petroleum, steel, commercial and residential buildings sectors. The regulations will align with the US.

Tremonti: the rising contribution of the oil sector to emissions and the intensity of the oil sands oil.
Kent: the economy is recovering. The goal is to separate increased prosperity from increased greenhouse gases. In the last 20 years the petroleum industry has achieved great improvements through technologies. "Those faint hearts who see only gloom and doom" should recognize the willingness of the sector to help government achieve targets. The increase of GHG emissions is on a small base number as the oil sands are a minor contributor to total Canada's emissions.

Clip from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development: Comment by Scott Vaughan that the plan has 35 different initiatives. There is a need to get all these elements working together and provide more than a total budget for them. Much of the plan is disjointed, confused and lacks coordination making it next to impossible for the federal-wide coordination needed to get their act together. The CESD expressed doubts whether they will be able to meet any target.
Kent: Commented that he disagreed and that the CESD misunderstands the reporting requirements under the Kyoto Protocol Implementation; there are no reporting requirements. He said that it would be redundant to report under the KPI because the government already reports on its climate change investment. He said that the Commissioner's data is more than a year out of date and doesn't take into account the comprehensive water, air and biodiversity program brought in to the oil sands and he deplored the selective media reporting because the Commissioner acknowledged that the good news in the new plan as a postscript.

Tremonti: the federal government's role in supporting a pipeline to the BC coast and to the Gulf of Mexico.
Kent: there is no question that the government is moving forward to a day when fossil fuels will not be the dominant fuel but that is many decades away. Heavy oil is a responsibly regulated product and the Canadian way is a more environmentally sustainable way. The industry will continue to produce and supply to customers. Environment Canada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers have worked together to significantly reduce the impact on air and water over the past 20 years through new technologies.

Tremonti: while Kent suggests that the oil sector has reduced its emissions, the oil sands is expected to more than double production in the next 20 years.
Kent: the transport sector is the most significant. The regulations for tailpipe emissions of both light and heavy duty vehicles as well as renewable additives to gasoline and diesel would be key to reducing Canada's GHG emissions. Then aviation and maritime would follow and then sector by sector.

Tremonti: aligning with the US; are you considering meeting California standards for vehicles.
Kent: only the continental rules are the most practical and most reasonable without putting the auto industry at risk. The automakers are not being forced but are working on regulations together with the government which has begun negotiations for the next regulations.

Tremonti: some people are going to suffer e.g. low lying islands, while most of the GHG emissions are produced by the industrialized world. Once in the atmosphere, the carbon survives for many years.
Kent: Canada does have an obligation but, if developing countries don't stop emitting, the temperature will continue to rise and all the things Canada can do will certainly not prevent the cataclysmic day ahead. He sees no binding agreement at the Durban meeting and sees those developing countries like the Chinas and the Indias as "clinging to Kyoto" to avoid their responsibilities.

GallonLetter felt a lot more gloomy after listening to this broadcast but will let our readers decide for themselves; check out the podcast available on the CBC.

The Conference Board of Canada updates its scorecard on Canada's performance in a range of activities. In its July 2011 update on per capita GHG emissions, it gave Canada a D grade on the scoring because it ranks 15th out of 17 countries, not much change since 1990. While some other countries like the UK have reduced their per capita emissions, Canada's per capita GHG emissions increased 3.2% from 1990 to 2008 while total GHG emissions rose 24%.
*these aren't direct quotes but GallonLetter's summary of the gist of the selected comments

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The International Energy Agency has produced highlights for a report on global greenhouse gas emission trends. The data is somewhat different from what countries have reported under the climate change convention.

Global CO2 emissions decreased by 0.5 GtCO2 between 2008 and 2009 or a decline of 1.5%. The economic crisis has led to an overall decrease in developed countries but it is expected that the trend will be for more releases as economic conditions change. Emissions in the developing world have increased.

Based on only emissions from fuel combustions, Canada was 8th out of 10 top emitting countries in 2009. The top ten emit two thirds of the world's CO2 emissions. In annual emission, China leads the world followed by the US which together account for 41% of the world's emissions. In cumulative and per capita emissions, the US is the largest.

In 2009, emissions in the Kyoto (Annex 1) industrial countries emissions decreased by 6.5%. Emissions of the developing world (non-Annex 1) increased by 3.3% in 2009. Since 1990 to 2009, of the Kyoto signatories, Canada has increased emissions from fuel combustion by 20.4%, Australia by 51.8%, and Japan 2.7%. Those decreasing their emissions from 1990 to 2009 were Eastern Europe Emerging Economies which includes Russia decreased by 36.2%, and Europe has decreased by 4.9%. From 1990 to 2009, the group of countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol have decreased their emissions by just about 15% below 1990 levels. The Kyoto Protocol targets cover about a third of global CO2 emissions in 2008.

While Russian's emissions dropped in 2008-2009, in absolute terms of emissions it along with China, the US and India are the top four countries in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.

For the non-Kyoto Parties, the US has increased emissions by 6.7% between 1990 and 2009. Other regions have increased by 133.9%: Africa increased by 70.1%, Middle East by $171.0%, Latin America 63.0%, Asia without China 144.2%, and China alone 206.5%.

Globally the world increased emissions from 20,966.megatonnes in 1990 to 28,999.4 MT in 2009 or a 38.3% increase for fuel combustion.

The range of emissions per capita is wide: 1 tonnes of CO2 per capita for India, 5 t for China, 7 t for the EU,  17 t for the United States, almost 18 t for Australia and much higher for some other countries such as in the middle east.. Canada had emissions in 2009 of 15 t per person. The global per capita emissions from 1990 to 2009 increased by 8% with most being due to China and India increasing their per capita emissions. Some countries such as Russia and the US decreased their per capita emissions in the same period.

The IEA report states, "Trends in CO2 emissions from fuel combustion illustrate the need for all countries to shape a more sustainable energy future. Special emphasis should first be on the industrialised nations that have the highest per capita incomes and that are responsible for the bulk of cumulative emissions. However, with the rapidly growing energy demand of developing countries, it is important that they also strive to use energy in a sustainable way."

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


In June, the Governments of Canada and Alberta announced funding for the Shell Quest Carbon and Storage Technology 40 km north east of Edmonton Alberta. Canada is providing $120 million from the Clean Energy Fund while Alberta is providing $745 million from a $2 billion Carbon Capture and Storage CCS Fund. The CO2 is to be compressed into supercritical fluid, transported by 16" diameter pipeline and injected into storage wells located 2 km below the surface. The press release from the federal government quotes John Abbott, Shell's Executive Vice President of Heavy Oil, "CCS is recognized as one of the most promising technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. To realize that potential, government support in this important demonstration phase is essential. We would like to thank both levels of government for their commitment to progress CCS technology by investing in Quest."

According to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Major Projects Management Office's Tracker, designed to track and monitor the progress of major resource projects through the federal regulatory system, the only information publically available on the project so far is the original documents of commencement of 2010 which include an agreement to commence environmental assessment, a timeframe and notes on stages completed so far.

While the governments call it investing, some might call it handing out more subsidies to the oil industry. Many proponents of action on climate change propose greater priority be given to energy efficiency and conservation over speculative technology such as CCS. CCS is also the foundation of the proposed federal regulation of coal-fired electricity generation. The federal funding for this one oilsands industry project is a lot less than is available for homeowners to upgrade homes for energy efficiency. The governments enthusiasm for the project to protect the reputation of the oil sands internationally also casts doubt on the ability of the federal agencies to ensure a good and proper environmental assessment. The federal government has just gutted the Canadian Environmental Network which in a non-political way used to organize and support environmental groups in Canada to participate in public consultations (see separate article) The Shell project's public consultations are still in the future. GallonLetter can't help but think that the cuts of such a relatively small amount represented by the funding of CEN at less than $600,000 a year may indicate a governmental bias that could end up hurting the fossil fuel industry even more in the long run if the grassroots can convince the public that the government is acting in cahoots with big business against the public interest on the environment.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


A contrarian scientist, University of California physicist Richard Muller, who climate supporters say has smeared reputable climate scientists with accusations of fraud and data manipulation, has led the completion of a study which he says confirms the climate data. Muller founded Berkeley Earth, a private organization, to conduct Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (or BEST).

The study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, found that based on temperature records land temperature globally has increased by 1 deg C since the mid-1950s. The press release also said that:
Four scientific papers are due for scientific peer review. Muller said that science teams in the US and the UK had accurately estimated the extent of land surface warming.

The press release says the Muller acknowledges that the study did not conclude whether the warming was due to human actions but as climate scientists have said the physics indicates that the cause is due to humans and the risks serious enough to warrant taking action to avoid possible catastrophic impacts.

Funding sources included Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates) ($100,000) and Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000) and other sources such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The Daily Show Makes Fun of TV Reporting on Climate Sceptics

Jon Stewart asked on his October 26th Daily Show why so many of the television news shows which reported on Climategate, a set of emails which were said by the sceptics/denialists as proof that climate scientists had manipulated the temperature data, failed to report on Berkeley Earth findings.

Stewart's satire has set off another storm among the bloggers about what Stewart said about the Berkeley study and what the study proves or doesn't prove. On one hand, most scientists don't need confirmation that the globe is warming although there are many other questions that create uncertainty about the risks of climate change e.g. a recent report on ocean acidification raises questions about the future of food security. On the other hand, the core of sceptics, many of whom aren't climate scientists, don't accept evidence. It seems that Muller's hope that his analysis of the data will be a slam dunk is being met by more scepticism and his co-author is being reported as criticizing him; apparently he didn't ask her before publishing the results on the website.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


California has introduced a cap and trade program which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This would be a 15% reduction in GHG from the business as usual scenario in 2020. The emission trading program is said to cover sources for 85% of California's GHG emissions or about 350 businesses with 600 facilities.. Firms can seek out the lowest price possible for reducing emissions.

The program begins in 2013 with electric utilities and large industrial facilities and in 2015 for distributors of transportation, natural gas and other fuels. The cap set in 2013 is 2% below the emissions level forecast for 2012. And declines by 2% in 2014 and 3% annually from 2015 to 2020.

Initial allowances will be free but later allowances will be auctioned.. Various mechanisms will be used to improve flexibility so as not to penalize firms for short-term variability e.g. compliance periods will be three years to allow for annual variations.

Offsets have limitations e.g. allowed for up to 8 percent of compliance obligation, limited to projects in the US in four areas - forestry, urban forestry, dairy digestion and destruction of ozone-depleting substances).

Every year capped industries provide allowances and offsets for 30% of previous years emissions and at three years, the remainder. A penalty for four allowances for each ton of emissions not covered in time is applied for missed deadlines.

The press release states that the design allows for California to be line with programs in other states and provinces within the Western Climate Initiative including British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
News of this initiative appeared in our daily publication on 26 October 2011.

ENMAX is an electricity company owned by the City of Calgary Alberta. In its 2010 corporate responsibility report, the company reported 12.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from coal and 0.36 million tonnes from natural gas. As yet no federal regulations apply. Provincial regulation, the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation, requires large final emission with annual GHG emissions greater than 100 kilotonnes to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 12% annually based on a baseline emissions calculation. The reductions began July 2007. Options for compliance are 1) reduce emissions directly 2) pay into the Alberta Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund (Technology Fund) at $15 per tonne or 3) buy Alberta-based GHG offsets from the non-regulated sector. Failities which reduce their emissions below the threshold can bank or sell the credis.

Under the provincial regulation, ENMAX's total exceedance of GHGs for 2010 was 1.7 million tonnes. ENMAX used offsets for 1.4 million tonnes. One offset was purchased from Viterra which aggregates GHG emission savings from Alberta farmers practicing no-till or low-till. ENMAX also used its own wind farm for offsets.  By using offsets in 2009, the company saved $3.7 million dollars. Since 2007 ENMAX has contributed $5.4 million into the Technology Fund of the CCEMC and saved $14.7 million by using offsets to cover 2.6 million tonnes of GHG emissions. ENMAX's 2010 revenues were $2.4 billion in 2010 with net earnings of $178 million,

ENMAX's report notes that the federal regulation will require reducing GHG intensities to natural gas-fired generation standard (375 tonnes of CO2/GWh) by Carbon Capture and Storage or retirement of the generating plant at the end of economic life or 45 years whichever is longer. There are no allowances for offsets. The proposed federal regulations in the Canada Gazette ended public comment at the end of October 2011. If regulations are passed, they would become effective July 1, 2015 with some provisions effective 2013.

Generate Choice

In November 2010, ENMAX introduced a program called Generate Choice (TM) which offers the generation of electricity by solar or wind at home. ENMAX applied for and received $14.5 million from the CCEMC Technology Fund for this microgeneration program, receiving more money from the fund than it has contributed.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Electrification of vehicles is currently dependent on lithium for batteries. Some have conjectured that lithium could be a constraining factor but others indicate that is unlikely.

A recent article in the Journal of Industrial Ecology tracked 103 deposits of lithium of which 32 each have lithium deposits of greater than 100,000 tonnes. The global lithium resource was estimated to be 39 million tonnes. The top ten deposits contain 83% of the resource and are in Bolivia, Chile, US, China, Congo, Argentina and Serbia. Canada has one deposit, Beaverhill (Alberta) listed at 15th in size. Estimates for global demand was estimated to be no more than 20 MT from 2010 to 2100. Lithium is used for other products but even so the authors conclude that lithium shortage is unlikely to be a limiting factor on electrification of vehicles.

GallonLetter notes that indigenous peoples in Argentina have protested the issuing of permits including to Canadian mining companies for extracting lithium.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


"A rift between developed and developing nations has dominated negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed nations have committed to lead efforts, but developing nations feel that the leadership has been lacking." wrote Tim Williams of the Library of Parliament on Canada on a short piece on the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in Durban November 28 to December 9. The UNFCCC was finalized at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which GallonLetter's editor attended with less cynicism than he has these days. The intent of the UNFCCC was to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

While parties to the agreement committed to holding the global average temperature to 2 deg C in Copenhagen, the commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord are insufficient to achieve that goal. Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 17% of 2005 emissions by 2020 but insists it will take action only in alignment with the US which hasn't enacted any legislation.

Developed countries want all large emitters to reduce emissions. COP17 meetings in Durban are unlikely to achieve a new agreement especially a "binding" one as the Kyoto Protocol, the first and only binding climate agreement so far. Japan, the US, Canada and Russia have said they will not participate in a successor to Kyoto.

GallonLetter Comments:
Australia has a package going through the Australian Parliament putting a carbon price on the top 500 greenhouse gas emitters. Once passed, the rules become effective July 1, 2012. The carbon price will be $23 a tonne until 2015 when an Emissions Trading Scheme will set the price. But Australia says it doesn't want a legally binding agreement until 2015. The European Union is willing to have a second commitment period for Kyoto with conditions that since it has 11% of global emissions that the other 89% sign on too but the EU's chief climate negotiator says it is too late for Durban - that is now not going to happen until the earliest at 2015. Despite the economic problems, climate change action is still active in the EU.

Originally China said the developed countries should bring equivalent plans, creating a kind of parallel to the Kyoto protocol; this is intended to encourage (shame) the United States to do its part as it never signed on to Kyoto. The BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) met in Beijing at the end of October and concluded there must be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. A China News press release stated that this is "the essential priority for the success of the Durban conference." Kyoto required binding targets for developed countries and voluntary initiatives for developing countries. The Green Climate Fund to capitalize financial support for climate initiatives in developing countries is also considered a priority.

The Kyoto Protocol has provided the structure for fostering emission trading schemes and at least in countries with serious intent to meet the emission reduction targets, innovation and new technologies The lack of a second commitment period doesn't mean that the Kyoto Protocol is dead but it sure would create a administrative nightmare because some of the provisions depend on emission targets and those would stop. For businesses involved in markets created through the Kyoto Protocol, this could have serious financial implications.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


A group of young entrepreneurs/recent engineering graduates set up a company Effenco in Montreal to use the brakes on a garbage truck to operate the mechanical arm and to compact the waste. About one third of the energy of a typical garbage truck operate this part of the system. The goal of the inventors was to reduce fuel consumption by 20% by recovering energy generated by braking.

A NRC IRAP grant provided both financial and technical assistance as well as commercialization advice. The company now has 13 staff and expects to sell one hundred Head(TM) systems by 2012. The system is in operation in Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Victoriaville and Halifax. Tests indicate the results are in line with expectations for fuel savings, brake wear and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The company also was able to obtain financial support from other sources such as Export Development Canada, Quebec's Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation and the provincial Agence de l'efficacité énergétique.

Effenco will exhibit at the Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo , to be held November 9 to 10 , 2011 at the Palais des Congres de Montreal :"Come check out our hybrid demo truck." GallonLetter's editor will be at the conference and trade show and will have a look. If you are not going to CWRE, the company has a web site with some photos.

Canada. National Research Council. A greener garbage truck Développment Effenco Inc. Montreal, Quebec: October 13, 2011.

Effenco - HEADTM Hydraulic Hybrid System (Read more) 29.04.11

Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo. Montreal, Quebec: November 9-10, 2011. Palais des Congres de Montreal. Montreal, Quebec: November 9-10, 2011.


After Macleans magazine surveyed employees of Canadian firms to create its 50 Best Employers list, it asked the companies for information on what they thought was the reason they won the recognition. A number of firms identified environmental initiatives as one of the three to four reasons they listed:
Of course, other companies listed might also have environment captured in such programs as an Open Door policy to air concerns without having to talk to the manager, contributing to charities which could be environmental as well but these are interesting because of the three to four reasons given, environment is mentioned specifically  by the firm as a reason Maclean's survey of employees rated these companies highly as employers

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The Newfoundland Industry Association has a news link to the Newfoundland Environment Networks NLEN call on political leaders to reconsider cuts to the NL and Canadian Environment Network, "On October 13, 2011 the Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network learned that core funding for the entire Canadian Environment Network (RCEN) had been cut by Environment Canada. Unless alternate sources of funding are identified, this decision will force many of the environment network offices across the country, including the NLEN, to cease operating. Please contact your MP to ask the government to reconsider this decision."

"The return on investment to the well-being of Canadians in supporting the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliates including NLEN cannot be underestimated. These organizations provide a tremendous contribution in creating good public policy in Canada. Through their passion and the expertise of their volunteers, important environmental issues and perspectives, that might otherwise not be addressed, are brought to the forefront. This input adds value to decision-making in many sectors including the business community. Business has a responsibility to lead by example in supporting the goal of genuine wealth for Canadians. This requires a balanced environmental, social and economic approach." said Linda Bartlett, Executive Director, Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association.

For 33 years the Canadian Environment Network has had an agreement with Environment Canada. Core funding recently been $547,000. This money also provides the main funds for the 10 provincial networks and the Yukon Network. The Ontario Environment Network expected to receive $25,000 but had to lay off their executive director of 12 years because there of the cut and because there was no warning that the funds would not be provided. The Nova Scotia allotment was $18,000.

GallonLetter notes that one of the problems in raising public concern is that these networks are mostly administrative providing capacity training, linkages and calls for delegates to the governmental table of consultations. The public doesn't know that much about them compared to the individual environmental groups. The Canadian Environment Network coordinates responses from grassroots organizations. These inputs now will go to federal bureaucrats to compile instead probably at much higher cost to the taxpayer.

Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network. Action Alert – Call on political leaders to reconsider cuts to the Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network and the Canadian Environment Network. October 17th, 2011.

The environmental journal Alternatives is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and part of the celebration is a panel discussion entitled Deep Roots, New Shoots. Gallon Environment Letter's Editor Colin Isaacs will be one of the panelists for the event which starts at 6.00pm on Wednesday, November 16th with a screening of the CBC documentary Surviving the Future. The panel discussion is being moderated by Alternatives' editor-in-chief Nicola Ross and will also feature the chair of Alternative's Editorial Board Professor Bob Gibson.

The event is being held at the Centre for International Governance Innovation Auditorium at 67 Erb St. W. in Waterloo. CIGI is a partner and will be nominating other panel participants. Admission is free but tickets are required. More details and a link for tickets are at


The proposed priorities for the International Joint Commission IJC 2011-2013 priority cycle will guide the IJC. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the IJC provides advice and recommendations to the Canadian and US governments on the quality of the boundary waters of the Great Lakes system. The public was able to submit comments at the biennual meeting held in Detroit October 12-14 and until October 31, 2011.

In keeping with the theme of this GallonLetter, climate change is included in the priorities One of the priorities is adaptive management including the potential impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes, possible ecosystem responses and capacity for response and adaptation. Studying the ecological and ecosystem value of natural systems such as wetlands is also part of the plan. A number of the draft reports address the impact of rising temperature due to climate change on the aquatic and nearshore habitat.

Climate change is linked to
The Commission is planning to publish final reports in 2012 after processing of the comments received. A key recommendation of the meeting was that governments need to commit to monitoring, measurement and reporting of problems. Indicators related to objectives of the agreement are needed.

Former US Vice President Al Gore was a keynote speaker at the event and media coverage about what he said tended to overwhelm press coverage. Gore tends to be a flashpoint for climate contrarians who criticize his linking of environmental catastrophes associated with drought, floods, and extreme weather to climate change. The media tended to note the controversy. However, the article in our local paper ended with a quote from IJC Senior Science Advisor (and hydrologist) Ted Yuzyk who said, "He's quoting what the researchers are saying." GallonLetter notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is finalizing a draft report which links climate change and extreme weather events.

International Joint Commission. H2O!Now. IJC Biennial Meeting Detroit 2011. Proposed Priorities IJC Great Lakes 2011-2013.

Flesher, John. Gore heating up climate change debate with Great Lakes. Hamilton Spectator. Hamilton, Ontario: October 13, 2011.

Hood, Marlowe. Key UN report ties climate change to extreme weather. AFP. Paris, France. November 1, 2011.

If you enjoy Gallon Environment Letter or find it useful for your work or interests, may we recommend the GallonDaily report. Found at, GallonDaily provides short articles and reports on topics of particular interest to green businesses. One article appears almost every day Monday to Friday - we recommend visiting at least once a week. Our real enthusiasts can also sign up for email notification as new articles are posted. Recent topics include:
  • A Green Christmas Shopping List
  • Arctic Food Network wins major sustainability prize
  • Court upholds US West Coast pesticide ban in salmon habitat
  • The Tea Party is not the US public
  • Green economy growing strongly in London, UK


UK governments have just signed an agreement with the Direct Marketing Association designed to reduce the carbon footprint of junk mail. In addition to apparently improved opt-out provisions for householders, the agreement includes:
As GallonLetter sees it, the Sustainability challenge facing industry in general is to do more with less while remaining adequately profitable with lower material and input content. The agreement between government and the DMA does not appear to address this objective, especially when one considers that the latest DMA Door Drop facts and figures report states that Door Drop volumes (Door Drop is UK jargon for unaddressed advertising mail) increased by 1.8% to 7.905 billion items in 2010 compared to the previous year. The DMA report describes this as "the encouraging return to growth in 2010".

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
Copyright © Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
119 Concession 6 Rd Fisherville ON N0A 1G0 Canada. Fisherville & Toronto
All rights reserved. The Gallon Environment Letter (GL for short) presents information for general interest and does not endorse products, companies or practices. Information including articles, letters and guest columns may be from sources expressing opinions not shared by the Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment. Readers must verify all information for themselves before acting on it. Advertising or sponsorship of one or more issues consistent with sustainable development goals is welcome and identified as separate from editorial content. Subscriptions for organizations $184 + HST = $207.92. For individuals (non-organizational emails and paid with non-org funds please) $30 includes HST. Subscription includes 12 issues about a year or more.