Misleading CAPP ads

by BuryCoal on September 26, 2010

in Activism, Climate change, Oil sands

On several Ottawa streets, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has ads up arguing that improving technology is making the oil sands more environmentally benevolent. Some of the ads now have posters on them, pointing out how that message is misleading and how increased exploitation of the oil sands clashes with Canada’s moral obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions:

Hopefully, most Canadians will see through the blatant greenwashing of these ads.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

. September 27, 2010 at 10:46 am

CAPP has already rolled out part of a multi-media advertising campaign that features real oil sands employees, rather than actors. In one half-minute television commercial, shot amongst trees now growing in an area once occupied by a strip mine, Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Steve Guadet declares, in what appears to be spontaneous moment: “Oh, there’s two squirrels chasing each other for a cone over here.” It is an example of CAPP’s own emotional card.

In another spot, Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Eddie Lui walks around a lab, describing heavy oil as having the consistency of peanut butter. CAPP says these are concepts people understand. There’s no technical discussion of heavy oil’s viscosity. No stats on chemical levels or talk about a “fresh water cap” in man-made swaps.

The commercials are also on YouTube, reaching out to a younger generation, and two-minute spots will soon arrive on YouTube using clips that did not make it to TV.

Further, a cross-country tour is planned in September and November with stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, as well as Chicago, New York and perhaps Washington. Academics, business, energy and environmental leaders will be participating in the “National Oil Sands Dialogues,” and a white paper will flow out of these discussions, Ms. Annesley said.”

Tristan September 28, 2010 at 1:07 am

The most perverse thing is that these are surely paid for by oil sands revenues. I wonder if it would be useful to calculate the amount of carbon produced and territory destroyed just to fund their PR campaigns.

Milan September 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Those profiting from the world’s dependence on fossil fuels will certainly use their wealth to fight the regulation of greenhouse gases. That includes companies like Shell and Peabody Energy. It also includes states like Saudi Arabia and (so far) Canada.

. October 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm

” Say you’re an energy executive from Houston or Edmonton, Alberta, staying at the biggest hotel near the Canada tar sands, helping your company reap profits from the largest oil excavation project on the planet.

It’s dirty business—producing usable petroleum from the black muck here requires three to four times the greenhouse-gas emissions of conventional drilling, plus two to four barrels of water per barrel of oil, the remains of which are fed into tailings ponds.

So you’ll be glad to know that the hotel bathroom toiletries come in “eco” packaging—biodegradable shampoo and conditioner bottles and recycled-paper wrappers for the shower cap and shoe polisher. It’s the little things that add up, see? We all must do our part to protect the planet, starting with our toiletries.

At least I assume that’s the thinking. I was reminded of that creative logic when I visited a “reclaimed” forest near the miles and miles of open-pit mines. The public-relations efforts of tar-sands companies (which get much more attention in Canada than in the U.S.) center on a pledge to “reclaim” the tracts of boreal forest they’ve disrupted. But they’re not restoring what was previously there. They’re replacing the natural muskeg—a soupy, boggy wetland—with dry infill planted with seedlings, a very different landscape. No one’s figured out how to re-create muskeg.

But who am I to say what’s an ecological problem and what’s merely a marketing challenge? At the edge of the reclaimed forest, near a buffalo reserve, an unintentionally hilarious sign heralds “The Future: Lakefront Property.” After the waste ponds have reached a depth of 40 meters (workers build berms of waste sand to contain them), Suncor will top off the toxic water with five meters of clean water. That’s enough, the sign says, for a “diverse and productive ecosystem of plants and animals.””

Anon November 29, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Another batch of these ads just went up in Ottawa.

. March 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

The Hill Times’ top 100 most influential people in government and politics in 2011 >> Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers president David Collyer

With climate change and environment issues continuing to be a top policy issue for Canadians, David Collyer remains a key player in the debate. He has the government’s ear because he represents a key industry with a large stake in the outcome of the debate, and the current Conservative government is listening.

Milan July 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Ottawa is blanketed with a new batch of CAPP ads:

CAPP seems to be doing research on what concerns people about the oil sands and then finding superficial ways to respond to those concerns.

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