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Olympic organizers pick B.C. partner to offset carbon emissions

Deal is first of a kind for Olympics and Paralympics

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Olympic organizers have partnered with B.C.-based Offsetters to make the 2010 Games carbon neutral.The deal makes the 2010 Winter Games the first in history to have an Official Supplier of Carbon Offsets.

John Furlong, chief executive officer for the 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), called it "a crucial step forward to meeting our goal to make the 2010 Winter Games as environmentally responsible as possible.

"In March, we announced to the world our target to neutralize up to 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from the Games. Today, we're delighted to say a British Columbian company with a growing national reputation as a leader in this field will be supporting our efforts to offset our carbon footprint from the Games through clean technology projects using B.C. know-how."

Under the agreement, Offsetters will provide VANOC with a portfolio of offset projects created through local expertise in new, clean energy technologies. The projects will reduce a minimum of 110,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thereby offsetting direct emissions from the Games by the same amount.

Vanoc and Offsetters will also work together with interested Games partners, sponsors and participants to offset an additional estimated 190,000 tonnes of indirect carbon emissions caused by activities such as air travel to the Games.

In turn, Offsetters will receive sponsorship rights in the carbon offsets Official Supplier category for the 2010 Winter Games and for the Canadian Olympic Team competing at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

"Working with leading B.C. clean technology companies - including Nexterra, Sempa Power, Lignol Innovations, Ballard Power and Powertech - we will create and verify a portfolio of clean technology offset projects that will neutralize direct emissions from the Games and contribute towards offsetting indirect emissions from air travel," explained Dr. James Tansey, president of Offsetters.

Some of the proposed offset projects include fuel cell technology in transit buses, energy efficiency systems, as well as biomass gasification and hydrogen fuelling stations to reduce industrial use of gasoline and electricity.

All projects in the 2010 portfolio will be high-quality offsets consistent with the standards applied by new B.C. provincial greenhouse gas regulations, and have been designed to meet or exceed the highest international standard for carbon accounting and offsetting.

"This unique sponsorship will allow the Games to obtain emission offsets while demonstrating innovation on climate solutions that generate jobs and other economic opportunities as a lasting legacy," said B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.

"VANOC's actions demonstrate what forward looking organizations can do to help reach B.C.'s target of a 33 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020."

Offsetters was co-founded in 2005 by Dr. James Tansey, an associate professor at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. The company works with businesses and organizations to calculate, track, reduce, and finally offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

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