Carbon Intensive Carbon Neutrality

July 30th, 2017

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) really cares about the environment.  They strive for sustainability in everything done by you.  That’s you, mind you, not them.

They’re not going to lessen their own carbon footprint.  In practice, the CSA runs one of the most carbon intensive rackets around. 

According to CSA; “We contribute to driving and promoting social good on behalf of our stakeholders and the communities we service through our use of sustainable environmental and business practices, and the values we live each and every day.”

Yet the CSA spends a massive mound of money jet-setting their management around the world, every day.  Actually, its ninety-thousand dollars per business day.  That’s carbon intensive!  At CSA, carbon emissions on that scale are the “values we live each and every day.”

We thought it would be entertaining to calculate how much CO2 the CSA is emitting in their efforts to lower emissions.  Turns out its quite a bit.

We knew it would be quite a bit, of course, because we already knew CSA’s travel budget.  As we recently reported, the CSA is spending enough on travel to fly from Toronto to Chicago 75,898 times per year.  That’s 13 flights per hour, all day, every business day, for the whole year.

Each return flight to Chicago generates 226 kg CO2 (about 0.27kg / mile or 0.16 kg /km).  Given CSA’s airtime, that works out to 17,153 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. 

Of course, the duration of a trip affects the sum of emissions from that trip.  That is, the percent of airtime spent at cruise altitude as compared to take-off for instance, will alter the CO2 emissions per passenger mile.  Likewise, some places are more pricey per mile to fly to than others, so the same travel budget could result in higher, or lower, emissions depending on the destination.

For comparison, the CSA’s travel budget spent on airfares to Cleveland generates 4,749 tonnes of CO2 per year, whereas equivalent airfares to HongKong generates 110,235 tonnes per year (about 18.37 tonnes per hour).  HongKong, it turns out, is cheap per mile to fly to.  Except in CO2, where that cheapness is, shall we say, offset.

Speaking of offsets, the CSA is plenty exciting about offsetting their carbon.

“During one of the tougher budget years,” said one CSA employee, “when management was bemoaning their struggle to maintain revenue, CSA announced something really strange.  Although they felt the need to shed payroll, they somehow found the money to buy carbon credits.”  And they needed a lot of carbon credits.

“Ash was quite proud of how CSA became ‘carbon neutral’.  That’s quite a claim for a company with CSA’s travel budget.  On any given day, they probably had more people sitting in jet aircraft than the Royal Canadian Air Force!”

Indeed, it’s quite a show and sham.  Carbon offsets don’t negate or even reduce the CO2 emissions caused by CSA’s jet-setting antics, all they do is promise an equivalent good for the deliberate evil they’ve chosen.  But if they really believe that CO2 emissions are evil, then why do they cause so much of it?

In January of this year, the Prime Minister was roundly thrashed on CTV for emitting about 23 tonnes of CO2 during his infamous Aga Khan trip.  That’s more CO2 than the average Canadian emits in an entire year.  Actually, that’s double the emissions of the average European. 

The CSA emitted about 41,282 tonnes of CO2 in 2015.  Using CTV’s calculation, the CSA emitted CO2 equivalent to the total annual emissions of 1,795 people.  But CSA emitted that much just on travel.  All their other CO2 emissions would be on top of that.

One employee explained the CSA’s carbon fetish this way; “As revenue from the product certification business eroded, the search was on for a new source of revenue.  Fast-forward a few years, and CSA is an active player in the carbon game.  Imagine a contrived market in which an imaginary commodity has real value, but only to the extent that government (or its surrogates) can maintain the illusion.  Looks like a job for [our] shakedown dept.”

Insiders find the hypocrisy grating.  We were contacted a couple of months ago by one staffer who was quite fed-up with CSA’s fictitious standards-conjuring and certifications racket.

“The carbon business is a CSA cash cow” they said.  “Organizations pay CSA (one of the most travel-intensive businesses on the planet), to validate their carbon ‘neutrality’.  You can’t make this stuff up!  The facts are all in public view”.

Indeed they are, and embarrassingly.

A former CSA manager wrote us a long screed in response to the article on CSA’s Masturbation Standards.  “This goes to my previous point about their interest in the carbon credit business,” he said. “Carbon Scam Association?  These bizarre adventures reflect a certain amount of desperation to find new markets.  You can only rewrite the hockey helmet standard so many times before people catch on to the fact that a puck is a puck.”

And he had the perfect closer; “Things like this call into question the validity of everything CSA does.”