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Canadian airlines feel the pressure of flight-shaming and the 'Greta effect' – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
Swedish may not be the lingua franca of the aviation world, but ask any airline executive about the term “flygskam” and they’ll likely know exactly what it means.

Flygskam — Swedish for “flight shame” — is a growing environmental movement that highlights the flight sector’s carbon footprint, putting pressure on Canadian carriers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while managing the cost of passenger guilt.

“It does seem like a switch has flipped,” says airline expert Seth Kaplan.

“For a while, there was this very incremental recognition of the urgency (of climate change), and then over the past year or so all this has really gotten into the spotlight — aided by Greta Thunberg.”

The Swedish teenage activist, who travelled by racing yacht to a climate summit in New York to avoid flying and its attendant emissions, has focused attention on aviation’s role in global warming, with consequences for travel companies.

The CEO of SAS, one of Scandinavia’s largest carriers, has attributed declining passenger numbers in Sweden to flight shaming. Meanwhile the country’s main train operator, SJ, said it sold 1.5 million more tickets in 2018 than the previous year, thanks to what’s been dubbed the “Greta effect.”

Other European countries are experiencing the same phenomenon. Germany saw a similar decline in domestic flights in 2018, along with a corresponding increase in rail travel.

To combat this trend, airlines are turning to carbon offsets, where they invest in projects such as wind farms and tree planting to compensate for plane-produced carbon dioxide.

Such measures could cost airlines billions, Citigroup Inc. said in a research note last October. The banking conglomerate forecasts that carbon offsetting economy-class flights will cost US$3.8 billion per year within five years.

Carriers could absorb the expense or pass it along to consumers via a higher ticket price, but airlines will struggle in the long run if increased costs deter travellers from flying, Citi said.

If airlines foot the bill themselves, “the cost of carbon offsetting all leisure consumption could be as much as 27 per cent of airlines’ profits by 2025,” wrote analyst Mark Manduca.

Offsetting corporate travel — which Citi defined as business-class seats — will cost another $2.4 billion, reducing airline profits by a further 17 per cent, the report said.

Commercial aviation accounts for about two per cent of global carbon emissions — a far smaller share than that of cars (estimates range between about 15 per cent and 20 per cent) or coal-generated power (30 per cent). “But it emits carbon in a very visible way,” Kaplan said.

“You look up in the sky and you see airplanes flying.”

In Europe, where the European Commission has called for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, airlines have taken big steps in response.

EasyJet announced in November it would begin to offset emissions immediately, a move that they claim makes them the first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights.

British Airways followed suit and began offsetting all flights within the United Kingdom as of Jan. 1

New York-based JetBlue unveiled plans to go carbon-neutral on all domestic flights starting in July, the first major U.S. carrier to do so.

Canadian airlines have also made efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, albeit less ambitious ones than their European counterparts.

“Using fuel-efficient aircraft is our best hedge against rising fuel costs and improves our carbon footprint,” WestJet Airlines Ltd. spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said in an email. “We are proud to have one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in North America.”

Air Canada has committed to carbon-neutral growth starting this year, meaning Canada’s biggest airline plans to cap net emissions, regardless of expansion.

Other efforts by the airline include more fuel-efficient aircraft and biofuel investment, said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

However, the proliferation of budget carriers and a robust tourism sector is resulting in more emissions even as aircraft become increasingly fuel efficient.

A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that airplane emissions are increasing as much as 50 per cent faster than forecast by the United Nations, whose aviation body predicts aircraft fuel consumption will more than double by 2045.

Europe’s keen awareness and aggressive efforts around climate change may justify a little “tagskryt” — “train-boasting” in Swedish — but travellers on a densely populated continent have a built-in advantage.

“There’s no high-speed rail network here like there is in Europe. The cities are not as closely located as they are in Europe or in Japan. And if I have to go to meetings in Montreal or the West Coast of the United States, flying is my only option due to time and cost concerns,” said Brandon Graver, the Washington D.C.-based airline researcher behind the clean transportation council study.

A lack of investment in high-speed rail by governments in North America is also to blame, experts say, with flights between Montreal and Toronto more appealing in the absence of bullet trains.

Even if Canadian airlines were to proclaim carbon neutrality, its effectiveness remains up in the air.

“There’s been a lot of talk lately that, ‘Look, it’s nice to go and plant trees, but it’s not truly a one-for-one offset — that there’s not enough tree-planting in the world you could do to truly offset the impact of emissions,”‘ airline expert Kaplan said.

Nor do carbon offsets address the issue of fossil fuel dependence, according to a recent paper by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute.

“It’s not the silver bullet … to reducing their emissions, but it’s one option of many — while others would call them modern-day indulgences where you’re paying for your sins,” Graver said.

“We’re hopeful that industry and governments together can come together and come up with a climate goal, an actual action that is beyond just lip service.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020.

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GTA gas prices may fall 11 cents on Sunday – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, November 27, 2021 3:38PM EST

Canadians should experience the fastest drop in gasoline prices in nearly 13 years on Sunday as fears about a virulent new COVID-19 variant are expected to provide a break of 11 cents per litre at the pumps.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said the national average price could drop to about $1.32 per litre but begin to rise again midweek.

“(Sunday) represents the single largest decrease at the pumps we’ve seen going back to 2009,” he said in an interview.

Global crude oil prices plunged Friday over fears about a new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that prompted Canada to ban entry for foreign nationals who travelled through southern Africa.

The January crude oil contract fell 13.1 per cent or US$10.24 on Friday and currently stands at US$68.15 per barrel.

The decrease came as U.S. stock markets closed early Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Sunday and Monday are going to be the best days for Canadians to fill up, including British Columbia,” McTeague said

Even residents of flood-ravaged B.C. will save on the province’s high gasoline prices despite facing rationing because severe flooding has shut both the Trans Mountain pipeline and the province’s lone refinery.

Drivers of non-essential vehicles can only purchase up to 30 litres per visit to a gas station in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky area, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.

East Coast residents won’t reap the immediate benefits of Sunday’s price drop because its regulated regional system averages price movements. That provides price predictability but blunts price discounts.

Despite the upcoming decrease, national gasoline prices have surged nearly 43 per cent in the past year as the reopening of the global economy from pandemic lockdowns prompted a recovery in crude prices.

McTeague suggested Canadians shouldn’t get too comfortable with the energy savings. He said prices are expectd to increase as OPEC and its allies, who are meeting on Monday, will likely refuse to increase production any further. Energy traders realize that Friday’s decrease was overdone and “flies in the face of fundamentals,” he added.

“My sense is that the decreases that we saw were a little exaggerated and overbought, and for that reason I think we might see a little bit more balance come back to the markets and fundamentals by Wednesday,” McTeague said.

“Unless there’s further unsettling news of greater and further lockdowns, I would expect that oil prices are probably going to recover US$3 to US$4 a barrel by Monday or Tuesday, which means by Wednesday or Thursday we could be looking at increases in the order of four or five cents a litre.”

McTeague said some gasoline savings will continue for a couple of weeks, but he foresees crude climbing back to about US$90 a barrel, which would translate into prices in Canada exceeding $1.50 per litre.

Impending carbon tax increases will further boost prices.

A tax of 2.5 cents per litre, including HST, will take effect on April 1, 2022. It will be followed in December by the clear fuel standard that will add another 18.1 cents per litre including HST, said McTeague.

Adding to the inflation pressure is the Canadian dollar which is less valuable than when it was at par the last time crude prices were around US$80. That reduces the purchasing power for all kinds of products, including energy and food.

The Canadian Automobile Association said that as of early Saturday morning, Manitoba had the lowest average pump price of $1.35/L, followed closely by Alberta at $1.377, while Newfoundland and Labrador was the highest at $1.583 with British Columbia at $1.558.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

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Oil crashes more than US$10 as new COVID variant roils markets – BNN

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Oil prices suffered one of the largest ever one-day plunges, crashing more than 11 per cent on Black Friday as a new coronavirus strain sparked fears that renewed lockdowns will hurt global demand.

The crash, the 7th largest ever for Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, may prompt the OPEC+ cartel to re-consider its policy when it meets next week, with the group increasingly leaning toward pausing its output hikes.

The sell-off was amplified by low liquidity on a festive day in the U.S., the breach of several technical supports and Wall Street banks rushing to dump oil futures to protect themselves against positions in the options market.

The development apparently wrong-footed many in the oil market who had been comforted by low inventory levels and demand that had rebounded to 2019 levels, said Rebecca Babin, senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth Management.

“It was a lack of downside that had us continuing to think nothing bad could happen,” she said. “No one was thinking we could get a variant that we’re not familiar with and it could have meaningful impact.”

Embedded Image

The price drop capped a dramatic week for the oil market, which started when U.S. President Joe Biden challenged OPEC+ by tapping the country’s strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to bring gasoline prices down. China, India, Japan and South Korea all joined the American effort.

Oil traders and analysts were divided about whether the flash crash was an excessive reaction to the COVID news. Damien Courvalin, oil analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, called the drop an “excessive repricing” and ventured OPEC+ will respond pausing its production increases by three months.

High gasoline retail prices prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to seek ways to ease the pressure on consumers, leading to Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. also set to tap inventories. Still, oil rose on the day that the move was confirmed, suggesting traders had already priced in the new supply, or that they were underwhelmed by the supply response.

OPEC+ had warned previously it would reconsider a potential output increase if other nations went ahead with a reserve release. UBS Group AG said Friday that OPEC+ could choose to pause its current planned output hike of 400,000 barrels a day, or even cut production.

Prices

  • West Texas Intermediate for January fell US$10.24, or 13.1 per cent, from Wednesday’s close to settle at US$68.15 a barrel in New York. The decline was the largest since April 2020.
  • There was no settlement Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday and all transactions will be booked Friday
  • Brent for January settlement tumbled US$9.50 to settle at US$72.72 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange

Friday’s oil selloff was likely exacerbated by a lack of trading activity during the U.S. holiday period, coming a day after Thanksgiving, and as the New York market closed early. 

“It’s a sign the market got carried away from itself and that we still remain very vulnerable to COVID-19,” said John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital LLC. 

Aside from the headline prices, crude traders also watched several other notable shifts in the market. WTI crude futures closed below its 200-day and 100-day moving averages, signs of technical weakness. The extreme pressure on the U.S. benchmark meant its discount to Brent expanded, reaching the widest since May 2020. 

The picture wasn’t much brighter in oil-product markets, the part of the oil complex most directly affected by end-user demand. Diesel plunged, particularly in Asia, as the market began to price in a potential renewed hit to economic growth.

“This is a huge overreaction in terms of the market,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “This is the market pricing in the worst possible scenarios.”

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Shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday deals in Ottawa – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Shoppers rushed to the stores in Ottawa on Black Friday, hoping to get the best deals of the year heading into Christmas. 

Some have even come from other countries for these sales like Elizabeth Elnakla, who is here from Scotland visiting her daughter Reem Almaqla. 

Elnakla is what you might call, a Black Friday newbie. 

“This is my first Black Friday. I’m super excited, it is so busy,” says Elnakla. 

She’s looking to snag all the deals she can before she heads back home in three days.

“Shopping back home, I live in a small town called Dundee and it’s not very large,” says Elnakla. “So the shopping is never crazy. It’s quite quiet.”

Last year, many were stuck doing their Black Friday and Boxing Day shopping online. This year, back to the in-person busyness.

Tanger Outlets

“We missed Black Friday last year,” says Almaqla, who wanted to show her mom what Black Friday was all about. “I just want her to go through this experience. To see what Black Friday is like here.”

Tanger Outlets in Kanata was packed for Black Friday sales all week, but nothing like today. 

“There’s nothing like a good sale, right? We all love the deal,” says shopper Josie Mousseau. “It’s just nice being outside in the fresh air. At least you get a little bit of an escape with your mask. You can take it off occasionally whereas when you’re confined to a mall, you really can’t.”

Monika Mehl describes the amazing deal she got on a Michael Kors purse. 

“I got it for 70 per cent off, and then an additional 15 per cent off. And because everything totalled over $300, I got another 10 per cent off.”

Stores at Tanger opened at 7 a.m. Friday. Maria Argyriou left Montreal at 5 a.m. to make sure she got here on time. 

“We went to all the sports stores and they’re all basically 50 per cent off,” says Argyriou.

Montreal is known for its shopping, but she wanted to try her luck in Ottawa.  

“There’s a lot of people [in Montreal]. Here there’s less people, and we can get better deals,” says Argyriou.

With lineups at dozens of stores, shoppers stood in line for up to 30 minutes, braving the rain and cold to get deals only available once a year.

All day, bags of items flew off the shelves. And with supply chain issues this year, many of these shoppers know that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“So you better get your shopping done honey,” laughs Mousseau.

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