By Jon Petrie
A central claim of this piece:
Lies and omissions of salient information by corporations and governments go
unchallenged in Vancouver, B.C.; we live in a post-truth era, and unless we forcibly
challenge disinformation, then we as a community have lost the possibility of rational
public engagement on both minor issues and the key issue of our time: likely climate
(For more on the words ‘post-truth,’ ‘greenwash,’ and ‘disinformation,’ note 1a; for more
on the word ‘holocaust,’ fnal paragraphs)
Four disinformation case studies are presented, the last deals with the greenhouse gas
data put out by the City of Vancouver and given a pass by climate change professionals.
(Note 1b for author’s challenge to interested readers)
1. An Emblem of Vancouver: A Fake Steam Powered Clock (defnition of emblem: “A thing
serving as a symbolic representation of a particular quality …”)
Vancouver B.C.'s city owned ‘steam’ clock, an emblem of
the city in more ways than one, displays on its base
disinformation: “... live steam winds the weights.”
The CBC, 24 September 2012, echoed and elaborated
this fction: “[S]team ... drives a piston inside a miniature
steam engine inside the clock. That engine in turn
drives a series of ball-weights ... which in turn powers
the clock's time-keeping mechanism.” (Note 1c for
reference and for Wikipedia’s similar fction).
John Atkin, co-founder of Heritage Vancouver, accu-
rately informs his walking tours: “That little green steam
engine with feverishly moving parts, apparently the
source of power for lifting the ball weights,
has no steam running through it -- the
engine is powered by a belt connected to a
hidden electric motor -- electric power has
driven the clock’s time keeping mechanism
since the mid-1980s.” (Note 1d)
Ray Saunders, the clock maker, on the
telephone, jovially confrmed the Atkin
I suspect many readers will think: “So what -- we fool tourists and most
tourists don’t care.” That common attitude is, I claim, the thin end of a
large and dangerous wedge and evidence that we are indeed in a
post-truth era. If a city plaque on a major tourist attraction misinforms
and CBC, Canada's equivalent of the BBC or NPR, disseminates the
city’s misrepresentation and that’s morally acceptable, then what gov-
ernment lies are not permitted, and who shouldn’t be fooled? And if
it’s OK for a democratic government to casually lie to boost tourism,
who is not permitted to lie and in what circumstances?
(Note 1e for the only City acknowledgement of the use of electricity
to power its ‘steam’ clock known to this author -- a cryptic reference
within an obscure City administrative report)
Our Post-truth Culture & Greenwash -- Jon Petrie
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Post-truth -- Petrie
(1a) Perhaps the frst well circulated employment of ‘post-truth’: “… we … have freely decided that we want to
live in some post-truth world.” (Steve Tesich, Nation, Jan 6 1992, p 12) The term’s frst appearance in the New York
Times was in 2004. A late 2012 employment in that paper: “… [Jim] Lehrer's version of moderation is fundamen-
tally unequipped to deal with the era of post-truth.’”
Post-Truth Era (Ralph Keyes, 2004) argues that lying is both more prevalent and more acceptable than in previous
generations. I agree with Keyes. For more by Keyes: http://www.ralphkeyes.com/the-post-truth-era/
Greenwash, one defnition: “Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmen-
tally responsible public image.” The word was frst used in 1986, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing
Disinformation per Wikipedia: “… intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately.”
(1b) Challenge: The author ofers four hundred dollars to the frst person who can show either: 1) one of the
four analyses of this essay contains signifcant misrepresentations or 2) that any one of the analyses with a similar
or better level of detail was readily available before 2013 and was written by someone now alive who either has
climate change credentials, or is an academic, or whose primary source of income is writing. My email:
(1c) The CBC quote: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/09/24/bc-steamclock-gastown.html
Wikipedia’s January 2013 explanation of the workings of the clock: “the steam engine … double acting 1” piston
… typically employed … for large model boat propulsion … is supplied with low pressure steam … 17 psi … the
engine …drives an ascending chain to lift ball weights … [a descending chain carrying the weights] provide[s]
the driving force to the clock.”
On the weekend of January 18 /19, 2013, per my observation, the ascending chain was stationary and thus
unable to lift any ball weights. The descending chain was moving at what appeared to be normal speed but
without ball weights. And the clock was keeping accurate time. The steel ball weights, silver coloured, are visible
in the extreme upper left in the main text (p 2) photograph of the ‘steam’ engine.
(1d) The words attributed to John Atkin are from memory and accurately convey his meaning and hopefully his
style but I don’t vouch for the word arrangement.
(1e) A portion of the Vancouver 1999 administrative report’s 89 word sentence: “Besides the routine mainte-
nance, additional work to improve the clock and/or to reduce maintenance costs has been scheduled over the
past several years including: overhauling the tune playing machine ... installing a fltered air intake …
re-machining the steam whistles ... altering the miniature steam engine to rotate by an auxiliary electric motor [my
italics], refurbishing the exterior trim of the clock; replacing the winding transmission, and preparing a brief
maintenance manual.” http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk//990311/pe2.htm
That 1999 reference to “work … over the past several years” misleads as to the date of the “altering” of the steam
engine’s power supply. Darly R. Stennett in Behind the Steam: The Inside Story of the Gastown Steam Clock, p 87, 88
writes: “In 1986 the backup electric motor was promoted to run ... the steam engine.”
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (1a - 1e)
2. Grouse Mountain's "Eye of the Wind": “A Beacon for Sustainability” NOT
From a few meters east of the electrically pow-
ered clock that pleases tourists, another tourist
attraction is visible on a clear day – a tall white
structure resembling a wind turbine. The “ener-
gizing” of that Grouse Mountain tourist attrac-
tion in September 2010 was marked by a BC
Hydro press release. (BC Hydro, owned by the
British Columbia government, is the principal
generator and distributor of electricity in B.C.)
Dave Cobb, BC Hydro’s CEO, declaimed: "With
this successful energizing of The Eye of the Wind
[the name of the tourist attraction], Grouse
Mountain is not only starting down the road to
energy self-sufciency, but is also providing a
tangible example of the kind of strong working relationships BC Hydro enjoys building with
partners committed to clean and renewable energy." Stuart McLaughlin, President of Grouse
Mountain Resorts, boldly declared: “British Columbia has a shining new beacon for sustainabil-
ity.” And Bill Bennett, provincial Minister of Energy, opined: “Vancouver's frst commercially
viable wind turbine … [an] icon … it will inspire [further] renewable energy projects." The BC
Hydro press release quoted without reservation and thus endorsed Grouse Mountain Resorts'
false claim that the electricity produced by the Eye of the Wind will be "enough to power up to
400 homes a year.” (Note 2a)
The Eye's view room reached -- after buying a ticket -- by an elevator, has a terrifc view from its
windows and, more importantly for the purposes of this article, houses two computer screens
showing statistics of the facility’s electrical production since inception.
Per the screens, 11 November 2012,
lifetime production was 284,055 kwh indi-
cating an annual production of ~133,000
kwh or enough for about 12 average
British Columbian homes, not 400. (A
kilowatt hour is 1000 watts for an hour
and is commonly written as kwh. An aver-
age B.C. home consumes annually about
11,000 kwh.) (Note 2b)
The Eye of the Wind is located on a comparatively windless mountain as may be checked online
in the Canadian Wind Atlas and as must have been known in 2010 by most regular users of
Grouse ski runs, the president of Grouse Mountain Resorts, and key BC Hydro employees.
Our Post-truth Culture & Greenwash -- Jon Petrie
Published: June, 2013
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Web weather reports of actual wind speeds on Grouse and
projected wind speeds for seven day periods rarely show
wind speeds of over 10 kilometers per hour. The blades of
the Eye require a wind speed of above 9.7 kilometers
per hour before they will turn. (Note 2c)
A wind-turbine of 1.5 megawatt capacity, the Eye’s capac-
ity, without an elevator and a view room, costs in energy
terms about 4.2 million kilowatt hours (kwh) to manufac-
ture and install when part of a wind farm. The Eye of the
Wind will produce less than 3.5 million kwh in a 25 year
period and will not repay its embodied energy over its
lifetime, assuming a 25 year life. The Eye is not ‘sustainable’
in any ecological sense of the word; it is an energy sink.
(Note 2d)
Sustainability has a range of possible meanings in our
post-truth world and perhaps the President of Grouse Mountain Resorts was thinking of
‘sustainability’ in its narrow economic meaning of ‘proft center’ when he claimed that the Eye
is "a shining new beacon for sustainability.” A ticket checker stationed by the elevator at the
base of the Eye informed me that the viewing room had 11,000 visitors in August 2012. Conser-
vatively assume 40,000 visitors a year paying $15 each for admission to the Eye's viewing room,
then the tourist attraction (that I estimate cost a bit over two million dollars) brings in at least
$600,000 annually in tourist revenue. (Note 2e)
The electricity produced by the Eye in 2012 had, at BC Hydro’s highest residential selling rate, a
monetary value of about $13,500 or about 2% of my estimate of the Eye's 2012 tourism
The Eye looks like a wind turbine but in economic terms it is a tourist attraction whose attrac-
tiveness is dependent in part on greenwash advertising sanctioned and amplifed by the
provincial government and BC Hydro. Remember the previously quoted B.C. Minister of
Energy's endorsement: “Vancouver's frst commercially viable wind turbine" and the CEO of
provincially owned BC Hydro declaiming: "With this successful energizing of The Eye of the
Wind, Grouse Mountain is ... starting down the road to energy self-sufciency.” And also think
of the plaque on Vancouver’s fake “steam powered” clock.
Again, some BC Hydro employees must have known in 2010 that the top of Grouse Mountain,
compared to other potential B.C. wind power sites, is windless. And those BC Hydro employees
also must have known that a wind turbine of 1.5 megawatt capacity on Grouse would not
produce “enough [electricity] to power up to 400 homes a year.”

Post-truth -- Petrie
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And it’s not just ‘tourists’ who are lied to: the 2008 vote by the North Vancouver District Council
to approve the development permit for “a wind turbine” on Grouse was 4 to 3, after “a passion-
ate debate.” The District’s staf report on the “wind turbine,” presented to council before the
vote and recommending approval of a development permit, reads in part: "The turbine ... is
anticipated to generate ... the power used by 400 homes. This equates to an annual reduction
of 1600 tonnes of carbon." (Note 2f )
If staf had accurately reported to the District Council that wind power generation on Grouse
would be minimal, that the proposed project would be an energy sink and was economically
viable only as a tourist attraction, possibly the District Council would have voted against issuing
the development permit.
Why has the Eye of the Wind’s failure to produce 5% of its advertised electrical output received
no attention from main stream commentators? Why has no employee of a climate change
non-proft blown a whistle? (The David Suzuki Foundation has 57 full time employees per a
2011 Revenue Canada fling.) How come no professional journalist or climate change academic
has mentioned publicly the Eye of the Wind’s non-viability as an energy producer? The com-
puter screens showing kilowatt hours of electricity produced must have been viewed by hun-
dreds of people who understand the numbers displayed and make part of their living writing
or talking about ‘green technology,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘climate change.’ The post-truth state-
ment “… enough electricity … 400 homes” is etched into the glass opposite one of the Eye’s
computer screens. The usually non-turning blades of the iconic virtual wind turbine are visible
from downtown Vancouver. (Note 2g)
Post-truth -- Petrie
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(2a) The BC Hydro press release: http://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2010.html -- on
page 2 of that site : September 22, BC Hydro Congratulates... For Grouse Mountain Resorts own press release:
Also see: http://www.grousemountain.com/press_releases/the-eye-of-the-wind-welcomes-the-world
At 100% of capacity the Eye would produce about enough electricity for 1200 average BC homes - for more on
“capacity” see note 2b.
(2b) The screens showed life time production of 284,055 kwh on 11 November 2012. The Eye was “energized”
about 22 September 2010, 2.14 years earlier. Divide 284,055 kwh by 2.14 and the result is annual electrical
production – roughly 133,000 hours. (On 20 May 2013, six months and nine days after the screens showed life
time production of 284,055 kwh, the fgure for life time production was 333,492 kwh.)
An average B.C. home/ household consumes annually 11,000 kwh: Google: BC 11,000 kwh quick facts.
(An average UK household consumes 4800 kwh annually http://www.carbonindependent.org/sources_home_energy.htm )
(2c) Canadian Wind Atlas: http://www.windatlas.ca/en/index.php
For wind speed reports: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/
The blades of the turbine require a wind speed of above 9.7 kilometers per hour to turn:
Often actual output of new wind turbines is lower than anticipated output. The Eye's electric output, I have been
told, is signifcantly less than anticipated due primarily to the unforeseen icing of the blades in winter. But, even
supposing projections of electrical output before the Eye’s “energizing” were a wildly optimistic three times
current annual output, that projected output would not have been sufcient for 40 average B.C. homes let alone

In the windiest B.C. locations, say Cape Scott on Vancouver Island, a wind turbine with the Eye’s capacity (1.5
megawatts) might operate on average at one third of capacity and produce annually enough electricity for 400
B.C. homes. (Wind speeds are seldom optimal even in windy locations and turbines do need maintenance.) At
100% of capacity an imaginary 1.5 megawatt wind turbine would produce about enough electricity annually to
service 1200 average B.C. homes.
(A megawatt is 1000 killowatts -- a 1.5 megawatt capacity wind turbine running at full capacity for an hour will
produce 1500 kilowatt hours of electricity. Running at 100% of capacity for a year a 1.5 megawatt turbine would
produce about thirteen million kwh (1500 x 24 x 365). Some readers may fnd the Wikipedia article on electrical
measurements useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilowatt_hour )
The language of the Grouse Mountain Resorts quote in the frst paragraph of the main text is slippery: "up to [my
italics] 400 homes." In the Eye's view room slightly diferent language is used: "... can generate enough electricity
in a year to service the needs of 400 homes." (See photo p 6 of text and note that the words “can generate” have a
diferent meaning than the words “does generate.”) Organizations (and individuals) communicating in good faith
do not use slippery language to fudge facts.

(The disinformation about the Eye’s ‘green’ credentials disseminated by Grouse Mountain Resorts is not typical of
the Grouse Mountain approach. Staf at the resort are well trained, the second foor bistro is good value, the
organized free activities are worthwhile -- after my frst visit to the Eye I bought an annual pass.)
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (2a - 2c)
(2d) For a turbine’s energy cost see “Net Energy Analysis” section:
(2e) Fifteen dollars per visit is a low estimate of actual revenue generated by the Eye. For some a visit to the Eye
is the tipping point motivation for an ascent up Grouse and those visitors will, unless they trek up, need to pay
not just for the entrance to the Eye’s observation room but also for gondola tickets and perhaps for parking. And
possibly those “tipping point” visitors will also choose to buy a souvenir, food, a ticket to another attraction, or an
annual pass. For ticket prices: http://www.grousemountain.com/eye-of-the-wind
(2f) For the staf report and the “400 homes” quote:
http://www.dnv.org/upload/documents/Council_Agendas_Minutes/cm081006.htm and on that web page go to
“Council Matters #2” and then click the link to the September 23, 2008 report and see p 3.
For the “passionate debate”:
(2g) Art Wilson -- now dead apparently (I did try to track him down) -- in web comments under a Georgia Straight
piece celebrating the Eye's "energizing" presented the basic numerical analysis that I fesh out. A sample of Mr.
Wilson’s comments: “The production and installation of this wind turbine carries a considerable carbon cost
which would have better been spent by locating it at a more productive site … if Grouse Mountain really wanted
to be Green then they could just turn of their lights when there is no night skiing. No cost, carbon or dollars, but
that would be like turning of the lights on a billboard ... Can we please get some investigative journalism instead
of Press Release regurgitation?” (To access Mr. Wilson’s full comments, google: "journalism instead of Press
Release regurgitation" Straight and then scroll down the Straight’s web page.)
In September 2012, inside the view room of the Eye, after a short conversation and sensing a similar world view, I
exchanged cards with another visitor. Only after leaving the structure did I read the card and realize I had been
talking to the author of Green Illusions, Ozzie Zehner. A chapter on wind power in the book is titled “... Flurry of
Limitations.” Zehner's central thesis that resonates with my own view: “We don’t have an energy crisis. We have a
consumption and leaky bucket crisis. The supposed clean energy sources have real problems.” See/ hear Zehner at
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (2d-2g)
3. BC Hydro’s Deceptive CO2e Number
BC Hydro claims that the electricity it distributes and that was produced in B.C. costs in green-
house gas terms about 24 grams of CO2e per kilowatt hour. (CO2e is carbon dioxide plus other
greenhouse gases weight adjusted to refect climate changing impacts; the CO2e intensity of
B.C. produced electricity fuctuates slightly year to year partly as a consequence of fuctuating
snow melt and rainfall.)
BC Hydro in 2012 supplied to its B.C. customers 52,197 gigawatt hours (gwh) of electricity of
which 8,079 gwh, or about 15%, was imported, mainly from the United States. BC Hydro makes
no attempt to account for the carbon cost of the imported electricity it supplies to its B.C.
customers and generally avoids drawing attention to its signifcant electrical imports. (Note 3a)
Presumably due to ignorance, virtually all compilers of CO2e inventories within B.C. employ BC
Hydro's CO2e per kwh number for B.C. produced electricity (a number that excludes the CO2e
cost of imported electricity). And, seemingly, B.C. based CO2e accountants are either unaware
of or choose to ignore the actuality that average cost is not the sole measure of CO2e per kwh
consumption costs. (Note 3b)
Professor Hadi Dowlatabadi of the University of British Columbia is one of the few who has
questioned BC Hydro's CO2e numbers. He writes: “BC Hydro does not report on the emissions
associated with electricity that it imports to meet domestic demand while using its own hydro
supply to satisfy more lucrative markets … Taking account of the imports needed to meet BC
energy demand almost quadruples the carbon intensity of electricity supplied to consumers [in
B.C.] from the reported 24 to 84 [gCO2e/kwh] … the burning in pyres by BC Hydro of ~ 300
kilotons of woody debris … generates the equivalent of ~ 0.4 MtCO2e/y … the overall [Co2e]
intensity of electricity delivered to BC customers [averages] close to 140 [gCO2e/kwh].” (Note
Beware of averages when thinking about CO2e costs and fording rivers -- averages can danger-
ously mislead. An (imaginary) illustration: a nonswimmer, informed that a river averages one
meter in depth, attempts to ford the river alone and in the two meter deep section drowns.
In B.C. the marginal carbon cost of producing the last kilowatt hours of electricity delivered is
generally much higher than the Dowlatabadi fgure of average cost. Those last kilowatt hours
are normally produced by burning carbon and not by running water through a hydro power
plant. This salient fact is rarely mentioned let alone feshed out. (For a defnition of ‘marginal
cost,’ an essential concept for any meaningful analysis of the carbon cost of electricity in the
Pacifc Northwest, note 3d.)
A noteworthy exception in the general silence: "BC Hydro does not turn down the dams when
there’s less power needed: they import less ... An old inefcient fridge in a basement might use
Our Post-truth Culture & Greenwash -- Jon Petrie
Published: June, 2013
1,000 kwh a year, so if you unplug it, you will reduce your annual emissions by 800 kg of CO2e
... 800 grams of CO2e for each avoided kilowatt hour of BC Hydro supplied electricity." (From the
website of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association – see note 3e)
Another noteworthy but now suppressed
acknowledgement of the marginal carbon cost
of BC Hydro delivered electricity -- of those last
kilowatt hours of electricity delivered to
consumers: Eye of the Wind computer screens
in 2010 clearly indicated that the avoided use
of a kilowatt hour of BC Hydro electricity
resulted in a saving of about 700 grams of CO2.
(I wonder who requested or ordered the elimi-
nation of this accurate and educational infor-
mation from the Eye’s viewing room -- and for what reason.)
The CO2e opportunity cost of B.C. electrical consumption has, to my knowledge, never been
addressed on the web or in a well circulated B.C. publication. (Opportunity cost is the cost of an
activity measured in terms of the value of a forgone alternative.) If B.C.’s hydroelectricity is
consumed in B.C. it cannot be sold to the USA or Alberta, perhaps for more money per kwh than
the B.C. consumer pays; so there is a possible monetary opportunity cost of hydroelectricity
consumption within B.C. And there is also an almost certain climate change opportunity cost
of employing B.C.’s hydroelectricity in B.C. Any net export of B.C.’s hydroelectricity would
almost certainly decrease the demand in Alberta and/or the U.S. for carbon generated electric-
ity and as a consequence decrease world CO2e emissions. (Note 3g)
The largest, by far, stationary emitter of CO2e in the Pacifc Northwest is a Canadian owned coal
powered electricity generator in Centralia, Washington, about 350 kilometers south of Vancou-
ver, B.C. If B.C. reduced its electricity consumption by 50%, coal generated electricity from Cen-
tralia would be uncompetitive with BC Hydro’s now large supplies of surplus hydroelectricity
and that Washington coal fred plant would cease emitting millions of tonnes of CO2e annually.
(Note 3h)
For this author any serious accounting of greenhouse gases from hydroelectricity consumption
in the Pacifc Northwest has to acknowledge that the CO2e opportunity cost of such consump-
tion is, under most circumstances, much higher than the average carbon cost of producing that
electricity and is roughly 700 grams of CO2e per kwh.
(Notes 3i and 3j are mini post-truth case studies and may interest some readers. Note 3i suggests the claimed
comparative 'greeness' of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics relies entirely on the supposed low carbon cost of
BC Hydro supplied electricity. And note 3j briefy backgrounds the B.C. government’s 2012 announcement that in
some circumstances electricity produced by natural gas will be considered to be as clean as hydroelectricity.)

Post-truth -- Petrie
!"2 saved, Eye screen 2010 (Note 3f for image source)

(Note 3k for references)
Post-truth -- Petrie
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(3a) For BC Hydro's claims re CO2e:
For the 52,197 gigawatt hours of electricity delivered to B.C. customers: p 2 "Operating Statistics"
For the 8,079 gwh of imported electricity in 2012:
(Gross electrical imports were comparatively low in 2012 -- averaged over the last fve years, BC Hydro's imported
electricity probably provided close to 20% of BC Hydro's provincially distributed electricity. This statement
together with the main text's cited paragraph is -- I suspect -- the frst clear recognition in any publication aimed
at a general audience that BC Hydro customers are receiving well over 10% of their electricity from out of
province producers. And for the record: BC Hydro in 2012 and 2011 was a substantial net exporter of electricity
but in the years 2008-2010 it was a substantial net importer -- over the fve year period net imports and net
exports roughly balanced.)
A rare BC Hydro acknowledgement of the limitations of their CO2e number: “2010 emissions per unit of net
system generation (not including electricity imports) of 23 grams CO2e per kwh ...” (In this quote gigawatts have
been converted to kilowatts and tonnes to grams. The quote comes from roughly the middle of the web page
athttp://www.bchydro.com/about/sustainability/climate_action/greenhouse_gases.html ) And a backhanded
acknowledgement of a problem by the owners of BC Hydro, the B.C. government: "[The province is] considering
adding thermal electricity imports as a memo item that does not count to provincial [CO2e] totals in its inven-
tory." (FAQ, “Why are B.C thermal electricity imports not included ...”
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cas/mitigation/ghg_inventory/faq.html )
For imports and exports to Alberta on the same day: p 17, 18
http://web.uvic.ca/~kooten/documents/BCgeneratingSystem.pdf -- the whole paper is worth reading.
(3b) Re "compilers of CO2e inventories within B.C. [rely on misleading] BC Hydro CO2e numbers": The City of
North Vancouver has a well laid out website and employs a BC Hydro's production cost number of 23 grams per
kwh -- 151,827,000 kwh produces 3,440 tonnes of CO2e –- p 23
Translink claims its electric powered trains “are virtually zero emission” on p 35 of its 2012 Sustainability Report
and on page 94 employs a 23 gram per kwh fgure for the electricity employed to run the trains
The electrical emission numbers employed by Vancouver are not easily accessible. The City’s publication Canada
and Vancouver GHG Trends (http://www.sustainabuild.com/vancouver/downloads/2011/david_ramslie.pdf p 6)
indicates that if Vancouver enjoyed carbon free electricity Vancouver’s emissions would fall by 171,000 tonnes
which -- if per capita consumption is about 8,800 kwh annually (see note 4i) and Vancouver’s population is
600,000 -- suggests Vancouver is employing a 32 gram per kwh number for its CO2e calculations.
And see the second and third paragraph of note 3c for some remarks on the University of British Columbia's
cavalier and self serving treatment of the CO2e costs of the electricity consumed on its campus -- questions
requesting clarifcations sent to Basil Waugh of UBC media relations June 21st after a telephone conversation
remain unanswered July 11th.
(One page (p 4) in the City of Vancouver publication above features a photograph of the Eye of the Wind with its
distinctive circular view room, the words in capitals “TALK GREEN VANCOUVER,” and the chapter title: “Climate
And another digression: last winter I happened to engage in conversation an afable gentleman who turned
slightly less afable when I suggested that Vancouver’s CO2e fgures were a bit of a joke. He asked for an
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (3a - 3b)
example. I said the BC Hydro CO2e numbers employed by Vancouver make no allowance for the CO2e costs of
imported electricity. Per my memory, the fact of signifcant electrical imports and/or the lack of inclusion of the
CO2e cost of those imports was fercely denied. During the course of the conversation I did learn the
gentleman’s name – Sadhu Johnston. Back at home I googled the name. Mr. Johnston had been Chief Environ-
mental Ofcer of Chicago and was now Deputy City Manager of Vancouver. I sent the gentleman an email
featuring the quotes of the penultimate paragraph of note 3a and a week or so later received from Mr. Johnston
a three word acknowledgement of my email.)
(3c) Dowlatabadi: p 3,
(If a problem accessing the URL, google: Dowlatabadi. Sauder 17 March 2011.) For more see: BC’s Electricity
Supply, p 9: http://ubcaec.awardspace.com/Energy%20and%20Climate%20Final.pdf And
The University of British Columbia sometimes, but not always,
employs the 84 gram fgure in its CO2e calculations. An example from
a UBC emissions study of 2009: "... using the current BC Hydro
emissions factor of 24 tonnes CO2e/GWh instead of 84 tonnes
CO2e/GWh would reduce the [electrical] emissions by over 70%.
However, the emission factor of 84 tonnes CO2e/GWh was used in
order to better account for the higher greenhouse gas intensity
associated with the importation of electricity." (p 10
https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/21441/RuckerAdam.pdf?sequence=1 )
The University’s Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability
(CIRS) apparently employs a fgure of around 30 grams per kwh. A
large screen in the CIRS entrance foyer in the fall of 2012 showed
projected annual use of grid electricity as slightly below 600,000 kwh
and the resulting carbon output as slightly less than 20 tonnes
implying about 30 grams per kwh. CIRS’s claim that its building is CO2
positive is dependent on a low grams per kwh number. At above 100
grams per kwh the projected 50 tonnes of net annual CO2 saving
disappears. (For the CO2 positive claim and the 50 tonnes see p 4
http://www.waterbucket.ca/gi/sites/wbcgi/documents/media/323.pdf )
(The CIRS screen displayed too much information too fast - the screen
image reproduced beside this text appeared for about seven seconds
every two minutes or so. To comprehend the information presented I
needed to freeze the screen image with my camera and then look at
my photograph.)
The CIRS building is, according to a university press release, “North
America’s ‘greenest’” and its one lecture hall “uses daylight as its major
lighting source.” Search Google images employing “CIRS lecture” and
every image showing the skylights of that lecture hall show unneces-
sary illuminated lights directly under those skylights. At an open
house on a bright afternoon in late 2012 my questions about these
and other unnecessary electrical illuminations were clearly a surprise
to the organizers and were answered with evasions and disinforma-

Post-truth CO2e OF ELECTRICITY; NOTES (3b - 3c)
CIRS: MWh & CO2 are 1st & 3rd verticals
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¦llunlnatèu lockèu unoccuµlèu ollcè
+&9#+#3 :;5 <(3'/= >*.2*" 5678 9,*+3*"1
For “North America’s ‘greenest’ building”: http://www.publicafairs.ubc.ca/2011/11/03/ubc-opens-north-
For the “major lighting source” quote:
http://www.haworth.com/home/resources/research/case-studies/centre-for-interactive-research (p 4, #5) -- the same
“major lighting source” claim appears in the University's Sustainable Walk (September 2011) pamphlet.
(3d) “The marginal cost of an additional unit of output is the cost of the additional inputs needed to produce
that output … Marginal cost and average cost can difer greatly. For example, suppose it costs $1000 to produce
100 units and $1020 to produce 101 units. The average cost per unit is $10, but the marginal cost of the 101st
unit is $20.” http://www.econmodel.com/classic/terms/mc.htm
And a Revenue Canada example: Assume Doris works part time at $12 an hour and earned $10,922 in 2012. She
has no tax deductions other than her basic $10,822 personal exemption. She pays $15 federal tax on her 2012
income – nothing on the frst $10,822 and 15% on the $100 of her income that exceeded the $10,822 personal
exemption. Her average tax rate is essentially zero, but her marginal tax rate – the rate she pays on her last $1 of
income is 15%. (Think of that last $1 as the payment Doris received for her fnal fve minutes of work on Decem-
ber 31, 2012.)
3e) http://www.bcsea.org/solutions/citizens-and-homeowners/calculate-your-carbon-footprint The 800 gram
per kwh in the quotation is I think a bit high. Determining the carbon cost of the last kwh of electricity
consumed is not a simple exercise and the actual fgure changes both seasonally and hourly. In the late spring
runof BC Hydro may spill water from dams because of a lack of demand for power. Transmission lines do have
capacity limits and coal fred plants are not easily turned on and of.
An exemplary Vancouver, Washington (the other Vancouver) accounting of CO2e emissions includes this state-
ment: "depending on the [electrical] emissions factor ... the results are widely diferent" -- p 20, Report and
Analysis (2007): http://www.docstoc.com/docs/109458632/The-City-of-Vancouver_-Washington
For more on calculating carbon savings from avoiding employing a unit of electricity:
(3f) Image of 2010 screen from http://strategiesforsustainability.blogspot.ca/2010/06/eye-of-wind.html -- other
photos of the Eye at this URL may interest some readers.
3g) Mike Berners-Lee in How Bad Are Bananas, p 56, 57 makes a similar argument: “... in [those European] coun-
tries where all electricity comes from renewables or nuclear, adding to demand reduces ... ab[ility] to export,
thereby increasing the fossil fuel generation in other nations. In terms of ‘marginal demand’ each [kwh] has a
footprint [approaching] 1 kg CO2e.”
3h) Sierra Club image: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/fles/fles/Transalta_Factsheet.pdf
For a bit of perspective on the enormity of emissions in Centralia, the largest B.C. stationary emitter, Spectra’s gas
processing plant in Fort Nelson, reportedly emitted 1.3 million tonnes of CO2e in 2010, about one seventh of the
9.8 million tonnes of CO2e resulting from electrical generation in the same year at the Centralia plant. See
http://www.columbian.com/photos/2012/jan/12/39308/ and
http://www.ec.gc.ca/ges-ghg/default.asp?lang=En&n=040E378D-1 and

Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (3c-3h)
Three addendums: (i) If the carbon cost of the electricity supplied to the Spectra Fort Nelson plant was included
in the plants reported CO2e emissions and valued at its opportunity cost of something like 700 grams kwh then,
presumably, the plant’s reported CO2e would be considerably higher than the reported 1.3 million tonnes.
(ii) Coal powered electrical generation in Centralia supposedly will cease by 2025:
And in 2011 unusually high water fows in the Pacifc Northwest resulted in abnormally abundant hydroelectric-
ity and consequentially less demand for Centralia coal generated electricity and a comparatively low reported
emissions of 5.6 million tonnes CO2e. See: http://ghgdata.epa.gov/ghgp/main.do and
(iii) Emissions by fights from Vancouver have a much greater adverse impact on our planet than the Spectra
plant’s emissions and have about the same impact as the Centralia generating plant’s emissions. Roughly 1.5
billion liters of jet fuel are delivered to the Vancouver airport (YVR) annually. (See p 8
http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2007/DOC_15780_B-2_BMB_Fuel_Report.pdf ) Approximately
2.55 kg of CO2e is released per liter of jet fuel burned. ( http://www.waronerror.info/aircraft/?p=107 ) The
burning of 1.5 billion liters of jet fuel, then, results in 3.8 million tonnes of CO2e.
Unfortunately that’s not the end of the story. High altitude emissions have a greater impact than low altitude
emissions. The degree of greater impact is unclear. (“The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has
estimated that aviation’s total climate impact is some 2-4 times that of its direct CO2 emissions alone (excluding
the potential impact of cirrus cloud enhancement). This is measured as radiative forcing.” See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_aviation ) Employing a low “radiative forcing” multiple of 1.7 for the
emissions from burning 1.5 billion liters of jet fuel suggests the direct atmospheric impact of YVR’s departing
fights is the equivalent of about 6.5 million tonnes of CO2e produced at low altitudes or about fve times the
reported emissions from the Spectra plant.
And that 6.5 million fgure is not a full accounting of the atmospheric impact of fights from YVR -- the embodied
emissions in the airport and aircraft, the CO2e cost of running the airport, the oil well to airplane CO2e cost of
the jet fuel, and so on should be added to the 6.5 million tonne fgure for a full CO2e accounting.
I suspect the above few lines contain the frst published analysis of the atmospheric impact of fights from
Vancouver's airport. (I have looked for and not found another analysis.)
3i) A rare analysis:
"David Suzuki... suggest[s] that these [2010] Olympics are expected to produce few[er] greenhouse gas (ghg)
emissions than previous Winter Olympics ... The scorecard produced by the David Suzuki Foundation ... estimates
that the overall emissions [compared to previous Winter Olympics] will be reduced by around 15%.
[The David Suzuki Foundation] estimated that emissions from electricity at venues will be 12,000 tonnes ... [I]f
you remove venue electricity from the equation there would actually be a net INCREASE in ghg emission
compared to previous games ... other locations that have hosted the games [acknowledge] a much higher ghg
component to their electricity [than BC Hydro acknowledges] ... If these calculation[s] are right, it means that in
the sectors that VANOC was responsible for they actually managed to increase ghg emissions." Rob Baxter,
February 2010: http://www.straight.com/news/david-suzuki-going-olympic-green-medal – and scroll down for
the Baxter comment.
I emailed Rob Baxter in 2012 asking if he had new information, if he was confdent that his analysis of 2010 was
basically accurate. His reply (January 2013): “I haven't had any comments about my critique or reasons to change
my calculations. If anything it may have turned out worse than I anticipated. Both my calculations and those
Post-truth CO2e OF ELECTRICITY; NOTES (3h-3i)
from DSF [David Suzuki Foundation] were done before the games began. In the weeks leading up to the games
and during games diesel generators were used more than many people had expected.”
The David Suzuki Foundation ‘awarded’ the Vancouver 2010 Olympics a bronze medal for "eforts to reduce the
event's climate impact." http://davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2010/02/2010-olympics-earn-a-bronze-for-climate-action-says-david-suzuki-foundation/
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) reported:
"we actually had a zero net emissions program for electricity, a frst in Olympic Games history — due to green
power certifcates supplied by BC Hydro." p 43.
(3j) From the Globe and Mail, June, 2012: "The B.C. Liberal government is deeming natural gas a 'clean' source of
energy to clear the way for the development of a liquefed natural gas extraction project in northern British
Columbia, reversing a key environmental policy of the Gordon Campbell era. Premier Christy Clark said natural
gas will be classifed as a clean fuel when used to [produce electricity to] power liquefed natural gas extraction
plants in northern B.C. ... That is signifcant because [the Clean Energy Act of 2010] commits B.C. to get 93 per
cent of its electricity from clean [or renewable] energy sources [and this 2010 Act excluded natural gas from its
list of permitted clean energy resources.]
“We can do a regulation that allows us to clarify it so it works under our defnition, and, thereby, not afect our 93
per cent commitment to clean energy in B.C. that’s one of the requirements that afects how we buy and
produce power,' the B.C. Minister of Energy said." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-
For more:
And google: ‘clean’ gas Clark Balderdash
And for an editorial on a related subject, problematic carbon ofsets trading in B.C.:
(3k) Data of graphs from : Worldwide Electrical Production from Renewable Sources (2012 Edition), Chapter 1, p 7 -
http://www.energies-renouvelables.org/observ-er/html/inventaire/Eng/preface.asp Nuclear’s share of produc-
tion declined signifcantly between 2001 and 2011 (17% to 11.7%) while renewables - mainly hydro - increased
their share slightly (18.4% to 20.2%).
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (3i-3k)
4. Vancouver’s Fanciful Greenhouse Gas Number – What it Omits
Vancouver's municipal government has a stated intention of becoming the "greenest city in the
world by 2020.” (Note 4a) Presumably any organization sincerely seeking to be ‘greener’ will
want to base its actions upon facts and distilled facts – numbers – that efectively and accu-
rately convey reality.
The City government publication Vancouver 2020, signed by David Suzuki and other local lumi-
naries, includes a bar chart that suggests Vancouverites have a per capita responsibility for
about 4.75 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases annually while Seattle’s per capita responsibility
is about 12.5 tonnes, half the US fgure but about 250% higher than Vancouver’s reported per
capita number. Similar claims of stunning comparative greenhouse gas rectitude are made in
other Vancouver publications and are rarely elucidated. The only explanation of the compara-
tively low Vancouver number that I have seen: “Per capita [greenhouse house gas] emissions by
Vancouver residents … are substantially lower than other North American cities, thanks largely
to B.C.’s hydroelectric grid.” (Note 4b)
But Seattle’s electricity is roughly as hydro dependent as Vancouver’s and Seattle’s greenhouse
gas accounting, like Vancouver’s, ascribes minimal greenhouse gas consequences to electricity
consumption. (Note 4c)
Vancouver, unlike Seattle, ignores marine, rail, and aviation related greenhouse gases in its
accounting. These missing emissions, unmentioned in any commentary on Vancouver’s num-
bers that I have read, account for about a third – 2.6 tonnes -- of the supposed 7.7 tonne difer-
ence between the rather similar and geographically near cities declared per capita emissions.
And Vancouver, whose cement comes from just outside its boundaries, assumes zero carbon
responsibility for that cement while Seattle produces cement within its boundaries. (Cement
production is a notorious emitter of greenhouse gases. Seattle’s declared 2008 per capita emis-
sions from cement manufacture were 1.3 tonnes or 25% of Vancouver’s claimed total per capita
emissions.) Again, no commentary I have read mentions that Vancouver’s CO2e numbers
would look rather diferent if Vancouver’s cement was manufactured in Vancouver.
And I suspect the per capita road emissions claimed by Vancouver are as trustworthy as that
city’s representations on the base of its iconic ‘steam’ clock. Vancouver’s claimed fgure for road
emission is 1.8 tonnes; Seattle’s fgure is 250% higher -- 4.5 tonnes. (Note 4d)
Excluded from both the Seattle 12.5 tonne fgure and the Vancouver fanciful 4.75 tonne claim
are embodied emissions in goods and services imported into those cities from outside city
boundaries – emissions that are a direct consequence of the purchasing power and purchasing
choices of the city residents but emissions that occur beyond city boundaries. (Note 4e)
Our Post-truth Culture & Greenwash -- Jon Petrie
Published: June, 2013
Ignoring embodied greenhouse gases in goods and services brought into a jurisdiction in any
calculation of greenhouse gases is, in my view, analogous to a supposed recovering alcoholic
telling his family and doctor that he is restricting himself to buying one beer after work in the
bar but not mentioning the nightly bottle of whiskey he buys and shares with buddy Jo in Jo’s
apartment. The alcoholic is technically telling the truth but, more importantly, he is grossly
misleading his immediate family and his professional health adviser.
Embodied emissions are present in almost every purchase. An average hamburger -- a quarter
pound of beef plus the usual trimmings -- purchased anywhere in the world costs in green-
house gas terms something like 5 kilograms of CO2e, or about twice as much CO2e as is immedi-
ately produced by burning a liter of gasoline.
(Hamburgers have high footprints because cattle
produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas - CO2e
is a common measure of greenhouse gas efects)
And an average liter of gasoline, before it is sold to a
fnal consumer, requires in CO2e terms -- to refne,
transport etc. – about the equivalent of burning a
quarter of a liter of gasoline. (Note 4f )
Embodied emissions (sometimes called life cycle
emissions or indirect emissions) of goods and
services are tricky to calculate and too frequently
totally ignored. The only B.C. estimate of embodied
emissions I have seen is buried in a footnote, not
fully spelled out, and apparently covers only private consumption. A reputable, pioneering,
and careful 2012 King County study – Seattle is in King County -- estimates that per capita
annual emission responsibility for imports less exports into King County is about 17 tonnes of
CO2e and that total per capita responsibility for CO2e within the County is about 29 tonnes
annually. And a 2011 Seattle study estimates emissions from net imports consumed by Seattle
residents as 14 tonnes per capita and total per capita Seattle CO2e responsibility as 25 tonnes.
(Notes 4g, 4h)
I have not seen a single reference in the Vancouver press, on the web sites of B.C. based climate
change organizations, or within Vancouver’s ‘greenest city’ publications to either of these two
salient studies of per capita CO2e responsibility compiled for jurisdictions geographically close
to Vancouver and with similar economies and consumption cultures.
My estimate of a lower limit for Vancouver, B.C.'s per capita non-electrical greenhouse gas emis-
sion responsibility is ~19 tonnes of CO2e -- to the ofcial fgure of about 4.75 tonnes add 12
tonnes for embodied emissions and 2.5 tonnes for port and aviation emissions. (Note 4i for
further explanation and back to note 3(h) (iii) for a startling estimate of emissions produced by
Vancouver’s departing fights.)
Post-truth -- Petrie
Dècoratlvè carLon larlng anu uècoratlvè
loatlng ènLoulèu carLon - Granvlllè ¦slanu
This ~19 tonne lower limit rises to 25 tonnes if Vancouver's electricity consumption is valued at
its marginal greenhouse gas opportunity cost of about 700 grams per kwh rather than at the
post-truth BC Hydro fgure of ~23 grams per kwh. (Note 4i)

For sources: notes 4 (a), (b), (g)
Post-truth -- Petrie
0 30 20 40 10
Vancouver’s “Greenest City 2020”
CO2e reduction target: ~1.5
Vancouver’s fanciful claim: ~4.75
Lower limit of Vancouver’s actual
CO2e responsibility per Petrie: ~19
(Calculation employs 30 grams
of CO2e per kwh for electricity)
Seattle’s CO2e per a 2011 study: ~25
(Study employs zero grams per
kwh for electricity consumption)
King County per 2012 report: ~29
(Seattle is in King County, report
employs 220 grams CO2e/kwh)
How GREEN is my City -- Per Capita CO2e in Tonnes
(4a) “Greenest City 2020 is a bold initiative … Through a set of measurable and attainable targets, we will put
the city on the path to sustainability, and make us the greenest city in the world by 2020”
https://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/a-bright-green-future.aspx Vancouver’s web addresses are sometimes
unavailable directly. Employing the above URL in late 2012 resulted in Vancouver's "Oh no ... does not exist"
page. Employing the search function on that page for "bright green future" resulted in the URL desired.
Curiously, a similar search on the “Oh no ...” page employing "Vancouver 2020 bright green future" turned up no
(4b) The bar chart: p 24 of http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/bright-green-future.pdf (For problems accessing
Vancouver’s web addresses and possible solutions see note 4a.)
For “thanks largely to B.C.’s hydroelectric grid” p 13: http://vancouver.ca/fles/cov/greenestcity-quickstart.pdf
(4c) For Seattle electricity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_City_Light and
(4d) Vancouver's publications claiming "greenest" are heavy on pictures but light on data. The 1.8 tonnes of the
text is deduced from a pie chart which indicates 37% of total emissions are from vehicles -- 37% of the 4.75
tonne per capita claim is 1.8 tonnes. See p 18: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Greenest-city-action-plan.pdf
For the Seattle numbers: table 1, p 2 and table 2, p 4:
Vancouver's total heavy duty vehicle emissions of 125,000 tonnes of CO2e are strikingly lower than Seattle's
1,229,000 tonnes for medium and heavy weight trucks. (The cities have similar populations.) Vancouver claims
2% of its road emissions are from tractor trailers. Bowen Island, B.C., a residential community near Vancouver,
claims 9%. For Vancouver's heavy duty vehicle emission p 18, pie chart:
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Greenest-city-action-plan.pdf And for Seattle's medium and heavy weight truck
emissions: table 1, p 2 http://www.seattle.gov/environment/documents/2008-community-inventory-fullreport.pdf
For Vancouver tractor trailers emissions:
And Bowen Island’s:
(4e) “[R]esident” in the footnoted sentence and elsewhere in the text refers not just to human beings but also to
organizations. When a Seattle library orders computers, computers are normally manufactured either to fll the
order or to replace inventory -- the manufacture of a high end computer results in about 800 kilograms of CO2e.
(For computer’s CO2e costs: Mike Berners-Lee, How Bad Are Bananas, p 124)
(4f) Hamburger equals ~5 kg CO2e: http://openthefuture.com/cheeseburger_CF.html For CO2 immediately
produced by burning a liter of gasoline: http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080415010249AAmG1sS
For a liter of gasoline's carbon cost before it is burnt see: http://www.newfuelsalliance.org/NFA_PImpacts_v35.pdf
p 61, table 21, “Emissions for Diferent Crude Oil Production Scenarios” (g/CO2e/MJ) -- 74 from tail pipe and ~35
for tar sands oil ~21 average before the tail pipe emission -- and that 21 is 28% of the 74 of the tail pipe
emissions. And for more google : Globe “Behind the Debate” “Oil Sands” “May 2013”
For a short article on the concept, importance, and measurement of embodied emissions:
For a technical study of embodied emissions in Canadian imports:
For a UN report that deals with embodied emissions and which includes this statement: “[W]e see a strong
correlation between wealth and energy use as well as greenhouse gas emissions from fnal consumption.
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (4a - 4f )
The overall expenditure elasticity of CO2 is 0.81 (i.e. a doubling of income leads to 81% more CO2 emissions).” p
11 http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/DTIx1262xPA-PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report.pdf
(4g) The footnote reads: "Indirect [embodied] emissions for domestic sources only are about 1.9 times
direct emissions, [adding embodied carbon contained in non-Canadian goods consumed in B.C. households]
would increase the multiple to 2.8 times direct emissions." (Note 4 in By Our Own Emissions
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/fles/uploads/publications/reports/docs/CCPA_BC_ghg_emissions_distribution.pdf )
The study estimates B.C. direct per capita private emissions as 3.5 tonnes. Employing the numbers in the
footnote suggests embodied emission in B.C. private consumption are around 10 tonnes per capita (2.8 times 3.5
tonnes equals 9.8 tonnes). Add corporate and government embodied emissions to this 10
tonne number and total per capita B.C. embodied emissions becomes approximately 15 tonnes. The cited study,
as I understand it, ignores emissions attributable to B.C. residents’ international fying.
For the King County fgure of 29 tonne: p 5 and 6
The Seattle 25 tonne fgure: p 37 http://www.seattle.gov/environment/documents/CN_Seattle_Report_May_2011.pdf
(4h) I did in 2010 attempt to engage the supposed environmental activist and then Vancouver councillor David
Cadman about the absences in Vancouver B.C.’s CO2e numbers. Mr. Cadman was not interested in engaging and
said more or less: “The Kyoto protocols allow for these absences.”
I emailed in 2011 the Vancouver based David Suzuki Foundation a condensed version of this section of the main
text and suggested that in not criticizing the highly misleading Vancouver's CO2e fgures the foundation was
implicitly endorsing them. Someone at the foundation replied:“Thanks for the heads up. We are involved in
various CoV initiatives that attempt to reduce [CO2e] emissions within the city. These are important fgures to
know. I have liaised with some colleagues from the City and asked them for clarifcation on their ... methodolo-
gies. I'll provide a response from them if they have one. ...” My 2012 communications with the Suzuki Foundation
left me with the impression that no serious request for clarifcation was ever made.
4i) The estimate of a lower limit of Vancouver, B.C.'s per capita CO2e responsibility assumes that Seattle’s 2.1
tonne per capita estimate of aviation emissions and its .5 tonne for port and rail emissions is a lower limit for
these same emissions from Vancouver sources. (Table 2,
http://www.seattle.gov/environment/documents/2008-community-inventory-fullreport.pdf ) Oddly the Seattle
embodied emissions report cited in note 4g contains a bar chart (p 37) indicating Seattle’s per capita aviation
emissions are about one tonne but a footnote (p 9) implicitly proposes a two tonnes per capita fgure. Maybe
the higher number includes the “forcing efect” (see note 3(h) (iii)) and the lower number does not. (“Forcing
efect” numbers employed in CO2e studies are frequently not revealed. In late 2012 the David Suzuki Foundation
didn’t know if their CO2e numbers for the 2010 Olympics emissions had included a “forcing efect” multiple --
the compiler of the numbers was no longer with the Foundation.)
Figures of electrical consumption are curiously absent from Vancouver's web sites. A New York City web site
reports Vancouver, B.C.'s per capita consumption is 8,800 kwh. At 700 grams CO2e per kwh, a low fgure for coal
generated electricity, 8,800 kwh ‘costs’ about six tonnes of greenhouse gases. The New York web site:
http://nytelecom.vo.llnwd.net/o15/agencies/planyc2030/pdf/greenhousegas_2011.pdf See table p 2. Please
note that per capita electricity consumption within a jurisdiction is total consumption divided by population, a
rather diferent measure than annual average electrical consumption within homes in a jurisdiction, a fgure that
was given earlier. Again a reward if you can show these calculations are fundamentally wrong or are readily
available elsewhere -- see note 1b.
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (4f - 4i)
5. Conclusion (and the words "climate holocaust")
The uncritical acceptance of (1) Vancouver’s ludicrously low CO2e number, (2) BC Hydro’s
greenwash of the carbon cost of its electricity, and (3) claims that a non-rotating wind turbine
produces power for 400 homes is evidence of something rather wrong in the culture. Perhaps
many of us, unconsciously, “have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world”
to avoid recognition that our ‘advanced’ consumer societies are doomed without radical
restructuring. (See note 1a for source of this post-truth quote) Like the mythological ostrich
we do not want to know that our air miles and the embodied carbon in the goods and
services we consume are likely to result within three generations in climate holocaust and a
resulting catastrophic disruption of this planet’s ecology.

Aiding and abetting or implicitly condoning the miseducation of the general public about
greenhouse gas emissions and the holding out of false hopes of easy solutions through minor
adjustments and ‘green’ power in the face of likely mass death, is, to me, a moral crime. We
have a duty to face unpleasant facts. Experts on ‘sustainability’ and ‘climate change’ can possi-
bly hide behind some technical legalistic language and perhaps justify in their own minds the
greenwash numbers they endorse actively or by silence. But their post-truth greenwash
numbers do radically mislead as to the nature of our problem. We do all live under the same
roof and that roof is increasingly trapping too much heat.

The use of the words "climate holocaust" above and early in this essay is well considered. I
have an academic article out on the meanings and history of the word “holocaust.” (See note
5a) A full apprehension of our likely destination if we continue on the same path – climate
holocaust -- requires powerful words, honest data, and active condemnation of post-truth
discourse. And an allusion to the Jewish Holocaust might help focus some minds on moral
(continued on next page)

Our Post-truth Culture & Greenwash -- Jon Petrie
Published: June, 2013
The basic moral lessons of the Jewish Holocaust as enunciated by an eminent Jewish historian
to the German parliament: "... thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and
thou shall never, but never, be a bystander." (Note 5b)
(Note 5c for additional details and references)
Post-truth -- Petrie
2000 2000 2010 2010
5a) ‘Nuclear holocaust,’ sometimes without the modifer ‘nuclear,’ was in common usage in the early 1960s to
reference a feared future nuclear war and that usage preceded and probably helped accelerate common
employment of ‘Holocaust’ in the sense of the mass murder of European Jewry. The word ‘holocaust’ before the
1960s was employed by well known writers and publications to reference disasters both large and small. Two
examples: “It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson's body a little way
of in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925, chapter VIII, last
paragraph) And: "'Battleship row’ was a holocaust, and the waters of Pearl Harbor were covered with oil …” (New
York Times, 6 December 1942, p. 69:3 [an anniversary report])
The Israeli Holocaust Museum states on its web site: "The term Holocaust is defned by ... Webster's ... as a
large-scale sacrifce or destruction, especially of life, especially by fre." See:
http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/resource_center/faq.asp ("What was the Holocaust")
For a short summary of the word's history see: http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?topic=01
and then #2 FAQ, “... origin...” Jon Petrie is cited on both of the above web pages. For a web version of the Jon
Petrie academic journal “word holocaust” essay referenced by both museums:
(5b) For the Yehuda Bauer quote: http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?topic=06#16 (#16 in
the series of questions).
(5c) “From 2000 to 2010, global coal production rose 66%, from fve billion [short tons] per year to over eight
billion tons per year” http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=3350 And: “2000 4.9 billion short tons,
2010 8.0 billion short tons.” http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?product=coal&graph=production A short
ton is ~.9 of a metric ton, commonly written as “tonne”. My graphs employ tonnes, i.e. metric tons.
For a graph of fossil fuel CO2 emissions showing year to year changes and my source for the 2000 and 2010
numbers: http://www.skepticalscience.com/iea-co2-emissions-update-2010.html Another source gives slightly
higher numbers for 2000 and 2010: “In 2010, total global CO2 emissions had increased 30% since 2000 to 33.0
billion tonnes” p 12 http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/news_docs/C02%20Mondiaal_%20webdef_19sept.pdf Perhaps
these last fgures include emissions resulting from land use changes and/or non CO2 greenhouse gases
converted to CO2 equivalent.
For a graph of the declining share of non-carbon energy in total world energy production 2000-2010
http://blogs.shell.com/climatechange/2011/11/emissions/ (The blog should be read.)
Post-truth -- Petrie NOTES (5a - 5c)
About the author:
Jon Petrie, born in the UK, believes in the British intellectual tradition of amateur scholarship, scholarship that is
not beholden to preconceived ideas or constrained by habits of collegial deference, deference that is reinforced
by social and power relationships. Works of scholarship, Jon thinks, should be judged on their internal consis-
tency, command of the facts, and originality of ideas -- not on the supposed expertise, personality, or celebrity
status of the author.
Jon has an academic article out on the word 'holocaust' cited in this text. In the distant past he sold freelance
journalism articles to the London Economist and the San Francisco Chronicle. Also in the distant past, to acquire
a stake that would allow him to pursue a business career, he worked as a construction labourer in the power-
house of the largest of the BC Hydro dams.
Jon thanks Michele Charbonnier, Frank Harris, Greg Helten, and Randy Helten for editorial suggestions, and bows
to Art Wilson who believed his own eyes rather than a press release (see note 2g).
Author contact - see note 1 (b)
No copyright claimed but if circulating the essay please acknowledge both CityHall Watch and Jon Petrie.
First published: http://www.scribd.com/doc/147478414/Our-Post-Truth-Culture-and-Greenwash
[This edition of July 11, 2013 incorporates on p 9 information not available in the June edition]
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Post-truth -- Petrie
Published: June, 2013