Professor Mark Jaccard

May 10, 2013 14:56 ET

SFU Professor Mark Jaccard Invited by Parliament of European Union to Provide Expert Insights in European Fuel Quality Directive Policy Debate

Visit to Highlight Challenges Created by Canadian Oil Sands Expansion and Will Include Additional Meetings at the Hague and London's School of Economics

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 10, 2013) - SFU Resource and Environmental Management Professor and noted economist, Mark Jaccard will travel overseas this week after receiving a formal invitation from European Parliament to provide economic and environmental impact insights as part of the region's consideration of a Fuel Quality Directive policy. Joining Jaccard will be Dr. James Hansen, an internationally renowned climatologist who spent 40 years at NASA's Goddard Institute studying human impacts on the global climate condition.

The team has been requested to present both historical and current data to European Ministers, speak at a session in Parliament and will also make stops in The Hague and at the London School of Economics. These insights will add international context to the discussion as Europe continues to hotly debate implementing a Fuel Quality Directive that assigns specific values of carbon intensity to different fuels, including oil sands and incentivizes cleaner fuel options. This policy proposal has been aggressively opposed by the Canadian government and industry as it has the potential to impact future markets for Canada's oil sands products.

"Sadly, Canada's oil sands continue to make a name for our country, for all the wrong reasons," notes Jaccard. "This being said, Dr. Hansen and I are honoured to be asked to provide guidance to the European Union on such a critical policy decision. We hope to provide clarity not only on the current detrimental impacts and implications of allowing oil sands growth to continue unchecked, but how continuing to say yes, regardless of geography to our country's dirty, energy-intensive products will have global implications for others, long-term."

Dr. Hansen agrees, "In my nearly 40 years of extensive study of human impacts on climate change, nothing has been more concerning to me than the current the out-of-control pace and scale of expansion of the oil sands in Alberta. Canada's aggressive development plans in support of fossil fuels are pushing us closer to a tipping point from which we may not be able to step back from, instead of providing leadership and momentum that could reverse the damage and drive us towards a cleaner energy future."

Jaccard and Hansen depart Canada May 11 with first meetings set for Monday in Brussels. The team will present to European Parliament on May 14 and will speak at a public event at the London School of Economics May 16.

During the trip Jaccard will be updating his blog at where he recently posted a letter to Minister Joe Oliver, supported by eleven other climate scientists and energy experts about oil sands expansion concerns. Mark will also be providing trip commentary via Twitter @MarkJaccard


Biographies of Mark Jaccard and Dr. James Hansen

Professor Mark Jaccard

Mark has been Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, since 1986 - interrupted from 1992-97 while he served as Chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission. His PhD is from the Energy Economics and Policy Institute at the University of Grenoble.

Internationally, Mark is known for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Nobel Peace Prize in 2007), the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (co-chair of task force on sustainable use of coal in 2009), and the Global Energy Assessment (convening lead author for sustainable energy policy 2012). From 2006 to 2009 he was appointed by the Harper government to Canada's National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, which studied the implications for tar sands and other greenhouse gas emission sources of the Canadian government's proposal to reduce domestic emissions by 65% by 2050. In 2006, his book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, won the Donner Prize for policy. In 2008, he was named British Columbia Academic of the Year, and in 2009 was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. James Hansen

Dr. James Hansen has recently retired as Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City after over 40 years at the Institute. He is Adjunct Professor of Earth Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute. He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa, and obtained his PhD in physics in 1967. Since the mid-1970s, Dr. Hansen has focused on studies and computer simulations of the Earth's climate, for the purpose of understanding the human impact on global climate. He is best known for his testimony on climate change to Congress in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. In recent years Dr. Hansen has drawn attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed. Dr. Hansen was designated by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2006. In 2007 Dr. Hansen won the Dan David Prize in the field of Quest for Energy, the Leo Szilard Award of the American Physical Society for Use of Physics for the Benefit of Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility.

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