While the Liberal Party stays mum on the cost for carbon offsets it purchased to “green” the use of not one, but two jet planes for incumbent PM Justin Trudeau’s 2019 campaign, the company that sold the offsets could only offer a glimpse into a hefty price tag.
“I can’t divulge those costs,” said Bullfrog Power spokesperson Greg Dyrgas. “I asked them if the Liberals wanted me to but they said refer any questions to them.”
But The Post Millennial was able to learn a few things.
For starters, buying offsets for a jet plane is not cheap, about $220 for each hour Trudeau’s 737-200 series cargo plane is in the air, and slightly less per-hour for his primary plane, a somewhat more fuel efficient 737-800.
And secondly, offsets the Liberals purchased will go toward a landfill project near Windsor Ontario that captures methane – whose heat-trapping power in the atmosphere is 30 times that of CO2 – in order to flare it.
“At an uncapped landfill, that methane is just venting all the time and it’s a lot more powerful than CO2,” Drygas explained. “In this case, it goes into the pipes and goes to a centralized point where it is flared. So you get about 95 percent reduction in the amount of CO2 equivalents and that’s where you generate the offset.”
The Essex County landfill is currently the only domestic project that Bullfrog sells carbon offsets for, and Drygas said there are three international projects but did not provide details about those.
According to Drygas, single passenger offsets cost between $40 and $50 for a roundtrip flight between Vancouver and Halifax, regardless of the type of plane, or in the case of the Liberal Party, a bulk purchase of $24/ton of CO2 emissions based on fuel consumption.
“Essential inputs to the formula are kilometres, leading to the amount of jet fuel and the algorithm will use some sort of average jet. It wouldn’t necessarily go down to a Boeing versus Airbus etcetera,” Drygas said.
“So it basically comes down to how far you’re flying and there’s a fair amount of fuel that is used in taxiing and takeoff and that leads to the fuel number, multiplied by the amount of CO2 per litre of jet fuel.”
A litre of gasoline produces around 2.3kg of CO2, diesel is about 2.6kg and jet fuel is somewhere in between, said Drygas; “closer to diesel”.
Based on this information and plane specifications, if the 737-200 were carrying its standard 119 passenger load, based on $50/passenger individual offsets, aggregate costs for the coast-to-coast roundtrip would be $5950 and $8100 for the 737-800 which can carry a full load of 162 passengers.
If it is rated by fuel consumption, as Drygas noted was the Liberals preference, to cover the same round trip for the 737-200 (cargo plane) would ring in at $3100.44 and $2543.52 for the newer, more fuel-efficient 737-800 that Trudeau travels in.
Now keep in mind these calculations are for just one, Vancouver-Halifax roundtrip flight on either plane, employing passenger and fuel consumption metrics and on top of charter costs. According to Paramount Business Jets, renting a 737-800 jet will run you about $21,250/hour.
“The ideal is use less energy to begin with…that’s what we’ll always tell customers,” said Drygas. “Really the offsets are for energy there is no green alternative for today. And that’s why flights are the most common use for offsets.”
The Toronto Sun reported last week the Liberal campaign’s cargo plane is “considered one of the least efficient and worst polluting airliners in current service.”
It raises questions why the Liberal party, which claims humanity is facing an existential crisis due to climate change, needs a second plane and carbon offsets, not actual reductions to the atmosphere, is adequate.
Asked about the relationship between Gerald Butts – Trudeau’s campaign manager and former top aide – and Bullfrog co-founder Tom Heintzman, Drygas dismissed the photo of the pair circulating on social media as proof Heintzman was “getting a kickback”.
“That’s from the (2012) World Wildlife Fund CN Tower stair climb – I think everyone who climbed the tower that day has a picture with Gerald Butts,” he said.
“So if somebody’s saying, ‘Tom’s getting kickbacks because the Liberals are buying carbon offsets,’ well Tom hasn’t had a financial interest in more than six years in the company, so he wouldn’t benefit in any way from what is by the way, a very, very small purchase in the context of our business.”
While Heintzman isn’t getting a kickback, taxpayers ultimately take on Trudeau’s dual jet plane usage and the carbon offsets he purchased to the tune of up to 75 percent worth of tax credits all political donations receive.