Photo credit: Green Energy Futures (Flickr Creative Commons)
Alberta Killing Fossil Jobs with Massive Regulatory Rollback, Notley Charges
The Jason Kenney government is under attack for killing fossil sector jobs in the midst of a brutal recession, after the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) suspended most environmental monitoring for the province’s oil and gas producers.
OCI: ‘Transformational Moment’ Is Last, Best Chance to Break from Fossils
The slow emergence from pandemic lockdown is the “last, best chance to plan for the economy we need to stay within 1.5°C and avoid the worst chaos of global warming,” declares a recent five-point call to policy-makers to cooperate in a rapid worldwide phaseout out of fossil fuels.
Pandemic Delays Climate Plan Update as Ottawa Mulls Green Recovery Options
A recent wave of policy advocacy aimed at shaping the Canadian government’s green economic stimulus package is beginning to generate media coverage of its own, with the Globe and Mail reporting this week on the “frenzy” now under way “to determine just how—and how much—the federal government’s strategy for economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown will be shaped by its climate change agenda.”
Better EV Policies Could Jump-Start $110 Billion in Canadian GDP
A shift in policy could jump-start Canada’s domestic EV market, generating nearly 800,000 jobs and $110 billion in GDP by 2040, according to a recent report co-authored by the International Council on Clean Transportation and the Pembina Institute.
Analysts Point to Green Recovery as Route to ‘Shovel-Worthy Decade’
From prominent international economists to an (almost as prominent?) Canadian think tank, there’s a widening consensus that green investment in projects that are “shovel-worthy” as well as “shovel-ready” will be the best way to restore economies ravaged by the coronavirus lockdown while simultaneously addressing the climate crisis.
Haley: Governments Need Long-Term Investment to Get Green Stimulus Right
Governments that hope to recapture the gains and avoid the pitfalls of the last big round of economic stimulus more than a decade ago should double down on decarbonization and energy efficiency programs—and take a careful look at the thinking of 1930s-era economist John Maynard Keynes for a guide to the best strategic investments, says Broadbent Institute Policy Fellow Brendan Haley.
Guilbeault, McKenna, Wilkinson Assigned to Chart Post-COVID Green Recovery
Federal cabinet ministers Steven Guilbeault, Catherine McKenna, and Jonathan Wilkinson have been handed responsibility for crafting “an economic recovery plan that aims to accelerate the green shift” as the immediate COVID-19 crisis subsides, La Presse revealed last week
‘Radical Agenda’ in Memo to Ministers Shows Fossil Fuel Lobby Losing Touch
The epic news conference in mid-April where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced C$2.4 billion in job creation funding for the country’s oil and gas workers, but not the $30-billion bailout the industry had demanded, was the second-worst moment in a very bad week for the fossil fuel lobby.
‘A Major Turning Point’: Trudeau Unveils $1.7 Billion for Abandoned Wells, Resists Fossils’ Bailout Demands
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled C$1.7 billion in new funding to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells and another $750 million to combat methane leakage, part of a $4-billion package for sectors affected by the coronavirus crash, while rejecting fossil industry calls to suspend climate action and regulations during the pandemic.
Fossil Lobby Demands Massive Deregulation in ‘Crass Attempt to Exploit Global Pandemic’
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) called on the federal government to suspend more than 30 environmental regulations, laws, and policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in a 13-page letter issued March 27 and released last week by Environmental Defence.
Use Pandemic Stimulus to Create Clean Energy Jobs, Canadian Associations Urge Ottawa
The federal government’s economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic must signal continuity in climate policy, provide “sufficient, sustained, and sustainable stimulus”, and use existing programs to quickly support clean energy solutions, a dozen leading energy transition associations said last week, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coordinated by Clean Energy Canada.
Alberta Demands Fossil Relief While Neglected Tech Firms Plan Their Exit
While Alberta blasts Ottawa for slow delivery of its fossil industry bailout package, the Jason Kenney government is hearing from high tech entrepreneurs who are preparing to leave the province over its steadfast refusal to build a more diversified economy.
56,000 Demand Retraining for Oil and Gas Workers, Funding for Renewables, as Fossils Push for Bailout
With the Canadian government still tight-lipped at week’s end on the bailout package it’s crafting for the country’s pandemic-ravaged fossil sector, 56,000 online petitioners demanded the government invest in the oil and gas work force, not shareholders, while new analyses showed how the right investments could position the country for a stronger, greener recovery.
COVID-19 Could Slash Emissions 5%, But Permanent Cuts Depend on Structural Change
The COVID-19 pandemic could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5% this year, producing the deepest reduction since the end of the Second World War. But analysts warn the advantage could be “vanishingly thin” without economic recovery packages that emphasize a shift off carbon.
Saxifrage: Canada Uses ‘Creative Accounting’ to Push Forest Emissions Off the Books
Canada is scrambling to push its managed forests off the climate accounting books as the climate crisis itself transforms the country’s vast resource from a net carbon sink to a carbon source, veteran data-cruncher Barry Saxifrage argues in a new explainer on his Visual Carbon website.
Keystone XL to Start Construction with $8 Billion in Financial Aid from Alberta
Calgary-based TC Energy is starting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska, after the Jason Kenney government announced a US$1.1-billion “strategic investment” and put up another $4.2 billion in loan guarantees to underwrite the fiercely-contested project.
Pembina Praises Ottawa for ‘Staying the Course’ on Carbon Price Increase
By sticking to its original plan to increase its floor price on carbon from C$20 to $30 per tonne April 1, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is sending a “positive signal to investors” and delivering the certainty needed to build a more resilient economy, the Pembina Institute said in a release yesterday.
Canada-Wide Poll Shows Wide Support for Albertans, ‘Warning Signal’ Against Industry Bailout
Canadians across the country, and of all ages and political stripes, support federal government assistance to an oil and gas sector facing record-low oil prices in the midst of a global pandemic. But there’s no indication in survey results released last week by Abacus Data whether anyone wants to see the money directed to Alberta fossil companies and their shareholders.
Kenney Seeks North American Oil Cartel to Counter Saudi Price Cuts
While the collapse of OPEC and the subsequent crash of global oil markets has Alberta Premier Jason Kenney musing about setting up a North American cartel to control prices, it isn’t at all clear that the Canadian government will back the idea.
Pandemic Response Should Mobilize Around Low-Carbon Solutions
With the coronavirus pandemic devastating the global economy and pushing world oil prices over a cliff, the federal government has two potential options in dealing with the oil and gas industry. It can give in to the predictable lobbying from fossil fuel interests, or it can use the virtual shutdown of the economy for industry mobilization. A post for Policy Options by Mitchell Beer
Fossil Bailout is ‘Hours or Days Away’, Morneau Pledges
A federal aid package for Canadian fossil companies is just hours or days away, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a Senate committee Wednesday, as the industry’s capital spending cuts hit C$6.5 billion and the price of western Canadian crude oil fell as low as US$9.09 per barrel.
The Interview: Green and Just Pandemic Recovery Would Help People Who Are Hurting, Stewart Says
Keith Stewart is senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada. He’s been focusing his pandemic response on directing government bailout funds to a green and just recovery, at a time when much of what “seemed natural and normal and inevitable about the way the world works” no longer does.
Proposed Alberta Coal Mine Expansion Evades Federal Review
Alberta’s proposed Vista thermal coal mine has tweaked its expansion plans to just below the dimensions that would trigger a federal review, opening Canada to charges of hypocrisy on the world stage.
Analysis: Fossil Bailout Not the Prescription for Canada’s Fiscal Health
Shovels or ladders?
That is the stark choice facing Justin Trudeau and Parliament as they consider aiding western Canada’s giant tar sands/oil sands producers, which can now sell their oil for only about US$10 per barrel. One year ago, the sales price was US$55. By Paul McKay.
Invest Bailout Dollars in People, Not Fossil Companies, Climate Campaigners Urge Trudeau
The federal government is under intensifying pressure to invest its widely-anticipated oil and gas bailout wisely, with a group of environmental, labour, and faith groups representing about 1.3 million people urging Ottawa to direct the funds to workers and families, not fossil companies.
Economic Shock from Coronavirus Points to Over-Reliance on Fossil Fuels, Need for Renewables
A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic points to a global economy that is over-reliant on fossil fuels and dangerously exposed to economic shocks that could be eased by a shift to renewable energy, a leading financial economist from the United Kingdom told Forbes magazine in a recent interview.
Analysts Foresee Record Drop in Oil Demand as COVID-19 Crisis, Fossil Price War Deepen
With the fossil price collapse continuing, oil falling below US$30 per barrel, and Saudi Arabia vowing to continue forcing prices down through May, analysts are predicting a “low and slow” recovery for the industry.
Oil War and COVID-19 Create Risk, Opportunity for Clean Energy
The end-to-end news coverage of the coronavirus emergency is producing a secondary wave of commentary and analysis on whether the global pandemic will derail the transition to fossil to renewable energy. The verdict so far: It depends.
Morneau Unveils Business Loans, Kenney Seeks ‘Unity’ as Coronavirus Crash Roils Alberta
Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled C$10 billion in new credit for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney called for greater “unity” and less partisanship, and Alberta fossils announced deep cuts in their 2020 spending plans as Canada began grappling with the double-hit of a coronavirus-driven economic slowdown and crashing global oil prices.
Climate Action Can Deliver Economic Stimulus After Coronavirus Crash: Abreu
With the rapid spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) driving an economic slowdown and triggering a steep drop in global oil prices, national governments are considering their options for economic stimulus—prompting analysts and advocates to wonder whether a new package of government incentives and subsidies will undercut carbon reduction goals or reinforce them.
Carbon Reductions, ‘Clean Growth’ Remain Top Priorities for Federal Budget: Morneau
While contingency planning for the coronavirus is gaining prominence as a focus for this year’s federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says carbon reductions and energy sector transformation will still be a major priority.
Alberta Increases Carbon Tax to Match Ottawa’s, While Manitoba Proposes Lower Rate
Despite continuing court action seeking to overturn the federal floor price on carbon, Alberta has announced an increase in its industrial carbon tax, while Manitoba looks to introduce a tax regime that still falls short of the federal one.
Time to Cut Fossils’ ‘Corporate Welfare’, Make Economy More Efficient, Author Argues
Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is a policy measure that could create some common ground between climate campaigners and libertarian free market advocates, self-styled independent journalist and public historian Taylor Noakes writes in a new opinion piece for CBC that had generated more than 3,700 comments as of Thursday evening.
Trudeau Calls for Year of Consultation on 2030, 2050 Climate Targets
The federal government is calling for a year of consultation before finalizing plans to meet a more ambitious carbon reduction target by 2030 and hit net-zero by 2050.
Coastal GasLink Agrees to Two-Day Construction ‘Pause’ as Wet’suwet’en-Crown Negotiations Begin
The company behind the contested Coastal GasLink pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in northeastern British Columbia has agreed to pause construction for two days to “facilitate” preliminary negotiations between hereditary chiefs and the governments of Canada and B.C.
Shift Fossil Subsidies Into Orphan Well Reclamation Jobs, Green MPs Urge Morneau
The federal Green Party caucus is calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to redirect fossil fuel subsidies to fund orphan well reclamation that would create jobs in the country’s fossil regions and ease the transition off oil and gas, iPolitics reports.
Petrosaurus Rex vs. Reality: Teck Mine Defeated by Low Price of Oil
Paleontology tells us the most fearsome Jurassic-era predators had no outer ears, and depended on a narrow range of sub-sonic vibrations to detect other earless, large, lumbering dinosaurs they could rip to shreds and render into raw-meat power lunches. They are now, of course, ancient history. In their place, evolution delivered far smaller, more agile mammals able to receive and process a wider range of warning signals. Enter Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who might aptly be classified as Petrosaurus Rex. An analysis by Paul McKay
Alberta Appeal Court Rejects Federal Carbon Price
The Court of Appeal of Alberta has declared the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme unconstitutional, calling it a “constitutional Trojan horse” that intrudes on provincial jurisdiction.
Teck Gives Up on Frontier Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mine
In a bombshell announcement yesterday evening, Vancouver-based Teck Resources has withdrawn the application for its C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine in northern Alberta, less than a week before the federal cabinet was due to accept or reject the contentious and carbon-intensive project.
Four Former Climate Negotiators Demanded Trudeau ‘End the Hypocrisy’, Reject Teck
Days before Teck Resources dealt the final death blow to its own tar sands/oil sands mine in northern Alberta, four former Canadian climate negotiators called on the Trudeau government to “end the hypocrisy” and reject the project, pointing out that Canadian fossil production is still projected to skyrocket in spite of the country’s promises to cut emissions.
Blockades Continue, Businesses Seek Compensation as RCMP Continues Patrols on Wet’suwet’en Territory
With the RCMP closing its outpost but continuing its patrols on Wet’suwet’en territory, Tyendinaga Mohawks facing a deadline to end their rail blockade in Ontario, and businesses demanding compensation for lost freight access, the community members at the heart of the fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline say they’re a long way from signalling an end to a growing country-wide protest.
Federal Budget Must Scale Up Energy Efficiency, Signal Long-Term Commitment, Analysts Urge
After Canadians voted for strong climate action in last fall’s federal election, and all the political parties represented in Parliament included energy efficiency in their platforms, the upcoming federal budget is an essential opportunity to slash pollution, create jobs, and make everyone’s lives more comfortable, Efficiency Canada argues in a recent opinion piece.
BREAKING: Federal Export Agency Considers ‘Highly Inappropriate’ Loan to Coastal GasLink
The federal Export Development Corporation is weighing what a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief calls a “highly inappropriate” loan to TC Energy, the company behind the contested Coastal GasLink pipeline, to help the company push the 670-kilometre project through unceded Indigenous land.
Ottawa ‘Very Hopeful’ Blockades Will End as RCMP Promises to Leave Wet’suwet’en Territory
RCMP in British Columbia decided Thursday to abandon the presence in Wet’suwet’en territory that has sparked railway blockades, economic disruptions, and nearly 1,000 layoffs across the country, leaving Public Safety Minister Bill Blair “very hopeful” that negotiations with hereditary chiefs over the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline can now proceed.
Wilkinson Links Teck Decision to Rising GHG Emissions from Alberta Oilpatch
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has put Alberta on notice that its rising greenhouse gas emissions will be a factor in the federal cabinet’s impending decision on the proposed Teck Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine.
Stewart: Cabinet Decisions on Wet’suwet’en Blockades, Teck Will Show What Ottawa Stands For
With crucial decisions coming up or in progress on the Wet’suwet’en blockades and the proposed Teck Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine in Alberta, Canadians are about to find out what the second-term Trudeau government in Ottawa really stands for.
And the answer to that question might turn on how the federal Liberals “decide to address a crucial imbalance in their political calculus,” writes Greenpeace Canada Senior Energy Strategist Keith Stewart, in an opinion piece this week for CBC News.
Liberal MPs Declare a No-Win, Canadians Split as Pembina Scorches Teck Project Review
With a federal cabinet decision on Teck Resources’ controversial Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine looming by the end of the month, some of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own caucus members are declaring the project a no-win proposition for the minority Liberal government, while polling shows Canadian voters split on the project.
Regg Cohn: Conservative Leadership Race Looks ‘Frozen in the Past’ on Carbon Pricing
When it comes to climate policy, the federal Conservative Party’s leadership race looks to be “frozen in the past”, write Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn, with no candidate daring to suggest carbon pricing as a policy plank—and only one erstwhile carbon pricing proponent willing to step forward.
Canada On Track to Hit Carbon Reduction Target for Grid Electricity
Be sure to sit down before you read this: Canada is in good shape to meet one of its national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, according to a report the federal government recently filed with the United Nations.
Climate, Trans Mountain, and Clean Energy Were Top Three Topics in Canadians’ Letters to Trudeau
The climate crisis, the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the clean energy economy took the top three spots on the list of issues Canadians addressed in their emails and letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019.
Policy Analysts Urge All-Party Cooperation on Climate Accountability
Now is the time for all parties in the House of Commons to cooperate on accountability measures to prevent Canada from missing its latest set of carbon reduction targets, four of the country’s leading climate policy analysts argued earlier this month in an opinion piece for the Hill Times.
Buying Trans Mountain Would End Badly for Brookfield, Analyst Warns
It would be a serious error for Toronto-based Brookfield Infrastructure Partners to invest in the Trudeau government’s troubled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a leading energy and finance analyst warned yesterday, after a news report identified Brookfield as a potential “dark horse” buyer for the project.
Freeland Holds ‘Bridge-Building’ Session with Western Municipalities
A new group of municipal leaders from western Canada held meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly earlier this week, during a day-long task force gathering in Leduc, Alberta organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Trans Mountain Construction Cost Rises 133% to $12.6 Billion
The projected cost to complete the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has skyrocketed to C$12.6 billion, driving the total price tag above $16 billion when the expense of buying the project on taxpayers’ behalf is taken into account.
Big-City Mayors Call for Predictable, Long-Term Transit Funding
Canada’s big-city mayors are pushing for predictable, long-term mass transit funding and immediate dollars for climate change programming when Finance Minister Bill Morneau issues his climate-focused budget next month.
Ottawa Mulls Alberta ‘Aid Package’ as Province Angles for Teck Mine Approval
With an end-of-month deadline looming for a cabinet decision on Teck Resources’ proposed Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine, Ottawa was preparing an “aid package” to cushion the blow for Alberta if it rejects the company’s plan, Alberta said it wasn’t interested in a federal “handout”, and Teck itself was facing stiff financial headwinds that were entirely unrelated to the C$20.6-billion megaproject.
Updated Climate Risk Plan Will Withdraw Disaster Aid for New Homes in Flood Plains
Canadians building or buying new homes in areas at high risk for flooding will no longer have access to federal disaster relief under a new insurance plan set to take effect in the next three years, The Energy Mix has learned.
Teck Mine a ‘Pretty Easy No’, Liberal MPs Tell Trudeau in Raucous Caucus Meeting
Liberal Members of Parliament are taking a loud stand against Teck Resources’ C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine proposal, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receiving an “earful” at a caucus meeting Wednesday, Huffington Post Canada reports.
Nova Scotia Senator Calls for National Inquiry on Net-Zero Pathways
Nova Scotia Senator Mary Coyle is urging her Red Chamber colleagues to launch in inquiry into the pathways for Canada to meet a net-zero target for carbon and other greenhouse gases.
Appeal Court Rejects First Nations’ Trans Mountain Challenge
The Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Coldwater First Nations vowed yesterday to continue their fight after the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously rejected their challenge to the federal cabinet’s re-approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Wilkinson Wants More Detail After Teck Promises Net-Zero by 2050
Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says he’s waiting for more detail before deciding whether Teck Resources’ promise to make its operations net-zero for emissions by 2050 will influence cabinet’s decision on the company’s C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine proposal.
Canada to Enact Single-Use Plastics Ban in 2021
The Trudeau government will move ahead with a ban on single-use plastics next year, after a federal science report found more than enough evidence that plastics pollution causes harm, with 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage ending up as litter in 2016.
Cabinet Could Delay Teck Decision, as Company Says Mega-Mine May Never Be Built
Maneuvering around Teck Resources’ controversial Frontier tar sands/oil sands proposal is heating up, with Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson saying Cabinet review of the project may be delayed, while Teck CEO Don Lindsay says it’s “anyone’s guess” whether his company will build the C$20.6-billion project if it’s approved.
Freeland Pushes for Quick Vote on Trade Deal with Big Concessions to Fossils
The Trudeau government is making it a top legislative priority to ratify a trade agreement with the United States and Mexico that is under fire in the U.S. for its concessions to oil and gas companies.
41,500 Petition Signatures Urge Wilkinson, Federal Cabinet to Reject Teck Frontier Mine
Climate campaigners delivered a petition with 41,500 signatures to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s North Vancouver constituency office Friday, demanding the federal Cabinet reject Teck Resources’ proposed C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands megaproject in Alberta.
Wilkinson Tips Early Moves on Just Transition Act, Tougher 2030 Carbon Target
The second-term Trudeau government is considering kicking off its legislative response to the climate crisis with a new Just Transition Act, adjustments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and new carbon reduction measures aimed at exceeding its Harper-era goal of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030, iPolitics reports, citing an interview late last week with Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
Ottawa Won’t Offload Trans Mountain to First Nations While Legal, Political Risk Remains
The federal government won’t try to sell off the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the new Indigenous owners it hopes to attract as long as the project is beset by legal and political risk, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said last week.
Morneau Cites Climate as ‘Central Focus’ of 2020 Federal Budget
The climate crisis will be a “central focus” of the 2020 federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told students at Toronto’s Ryerson University Monday, during a kick-off event for this year’s pre-budget consultations.
Wilkinson Weighs Teck Tar Sands/Oil Sands Megaproject Against Net-Zero Carbon Pledge
Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says he’s grappling with how Teck Resources’ C$20.6-billion tar sands/oil sands mining megaproject fits in with Canada’s climate commitments, with a decision on the controversial project expected in the first three months of the year.
17 of 37 Cabinet Ministers Receive Climate Action Goals in Mandate Letters from Trudeau
Seventeen of 37 federal cabinet ministers received instructions to address some aspect of the climate crisis, and National Observer says Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson emerges as “an especially active and influential figure in cabinet,” in the long-awaited mandate letters published Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
House of Commons Motion Backs a Green New Deal for Canada
The first motion filed in the reconstituted House of Commons calls for MPs to endorse a Green New Deal for Canada.
Decision on Teck Frontier Mega-Mine Will Test Canada’s Climate Action Commitment
The massive Teck Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine in Alberta is emerging as an early test of the re-elected Trudeau government’s climate commitment, with a cabinet decision due in February and campaigners gearing up to oppose a megaproject that would run through 2067 and increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by six million tonnes per year.
Ottawa Won’t Confirm Trans Mountain Timeline or Budget as Cost Estimate Balloons to $12 Billion [Petition]
Despite the Trudeau government’s assurance that the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the national interest, and will turn a profit for the taxpayers who became its involuntary owners last year, new disclosures show the project could run out of cash in the next few months and cost more to complete than Ottawa estimated, National Observer reports.
Wilkinson Throws Cold Water on Carbon Credits for LNG Exports
Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is raising major flags about the fossil industry’s hope of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to earn carbon reduction credits under the hotly-contested Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and aiming to meet Canada’s Paris targets without resorting to international carbon trades.
Ottawa Approves Alberta Tax on Industrial Carbon Emitters
The federal government has approved Alberta’s new C$30 per tonne tax on industrial carbon emitters, a move that “avoids escalating a fight between Ottawa and the Prairie province but does nothing to end the battle over the consumer-based carbon tax, which the federal Liberals say will still come into effect in Alberta on January 1,” the Globe and Mail reports.
Carbon Pricing ‘Isn’t the Only Tool in the Toolbox’: Wilkinson
Carbon pricing is just one part of a complete climate plan, and it will be at least two years before the Canadian government decides whether to extend the federal floor price beyond C$50 per tonne after 2022, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told The Canadian Press last week.
Wilkinson Vows Tougher 2030 Emissions Target as Throne Speech Promises Net-Zero by 2050
A 2050 deadline to achieve net-zero emissions, a price on carbon in every part of the country, and new initiatives on energy-efficient buildings, zero-emission vehicles, “clean, affordable power”, and climate change adaptation are major elements of the legislative program the incoming federal government laid out in the Speech from the Throne delivered in Ottawa yesterday by Governor General Julie Payette.
McKenna Pledges Fast Action on Infrastructure Through a ‘Climate Lens’
Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna donned a hard hat for her first major speech in her new portfolio this week, telling the Federation of Canadian Municipalities she plans to get money out the door and shovels in the ground on projects that are all undertaken through a “climate lens”.
Ecofiscal Commission Urges $210/Tonne Carbon Tax as Canada Falls Behind on 2030 Target
Canada will need to quadruple its carbon tax to C$210 per tonne by 2030, enough to raise gasoline prices by about 40¢ per litre, if the government relies solely on pricing to hit its 2030 emissions reduction target, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission concludes in its final report issued this week.
Ottawa Offers Flexibility on Fossil Regulation as New Cabinet Gets to Work
Alberta’s energy minister declared herself “very encouraged” by her first meeting with her federal counterpart, Ottawa’s Western liaison opened the door to watering down federal environmental protection regulations, and Quebec environmentalists second-guessed the decision not to appoint one of their own as environment minister as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s newly-appointed cabinet got down to work last week.
Guilbeault to Heritage, McKenna to Infrastructure, Wilkinson to Environment as Climate Rises to Top of Federal Agenda
Veteran climate hawk and newly-minted Montreal MP Steven Guilbeault is expected to be named heritage minister, former environment minister Catherine McKenna takes over the infrastructure and communities portfolio, and climate action is set to emerge as a government-wide priority, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduces his second-term cabinet this morning in a ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Trans Mountain Subsidies Hit $320 Million in First Six Months of 2019
The Trans Mountain pipeline took home C$320 million in direct and indirect subsidies in the first six months of the years that were not clearly disclosed to the taxpayers who now involuntarily own the project, the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a report released this week.
Canadian Fossils Log 11,452 Federal Lobbying Contacts in Eight Years
An astronomical 11,452 lobbying contacts from 46 fossil companies between 2011 and 2018—an average of more than six per regular work day over an eight-year span—amounted to “strategic, organized, and sustained lobbying” that helped to explain “the past and continuing close coupling of federal policy to the needs of the fossil fuel industry,” according to an analysis released earlier this month by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
Party Leaders Lay Out Climate, Energy Priorities in Private Meetings with Trudeau
The divisions and potential points of agreement in a minority parliament are beginning to emerge as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way through a series of private meetings with federal party leaders before the House of Commons reconvenes December 5.
Green Budget Coalition Urges Ottawa to Acknowledge Cost of Climate Impacts
Next year’s federal budget must acknowledge the hundreds of millions of dollars Canadians are already paying due to climate change and its impacts, the 22-member Green Budget Coalition says in a set of recommendations released last week.
Green Economy, Climate Change Emerge as Key Priorities for Trudeau Government
The green economy and climate change are shaping up as a key focal point for the re-elected Trudeau government, with seven cabinet portfolios set to play “key roles in helping Canada adapt to the rapidly expanding global green economy and create jobs in clean energy,” the Globe and Mail reports, citing sources familiar with the government’s emerging priorities.
Get Started Now on Deeper Emissions Cuts, Climate Organizations Urge Federal Parties
The four federal parties that went out to voters this fall with strong climate policies had better get started on implementing those policies right now, a coalition of Canadian climate organizations asserted Friday.
Fossil Lobbyists Aim for Wider Influence with Minority Parliament Set to Take Office
With a new minority government about to take office in Ottawa, the fossil lobby is getting to work, aiming to extend its influence to smaller parties in the House of Commons that may have received less of its attention when Justin Trudeau’s Liberals held a parliamentary majority.
Minority Government Could Deliver Climate Action, But Time to Change the Front-Line Conversation
A week after the climate crisis emerged as the big winner in Canada’s federal election, politicians and opinion writers are beginning to probe the prospects for climate action in a period of minority government—and the extent to which the Liberals’ choices over the next several months will determine Justin Trudeau’s legacy as prime minister.
Critics Look for More Detail, Deeper Cuts After Nova Scotia Pledges Net-Zero by 2050
Nova Scotia has unveiled plans to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, and is holding the door open to set additional climate targets over the next year.
Liberal Minority: Trudeau Fights Campaign with Climate at the Centre, and Wins
Canada’s Climate Change Election delivered a Liberal minority government last night, returning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to power with 157 seats in a 338-seat parliament and fractionally more than 33% of the popular vote as of early Tuesday morning.
With Climate on the Agenda, Advocates Call for Legislated Targets, Fossil Industry Phasedown
As election results rolled in last night in downtown Ottawa, climate hawks assessed the results of the first campaign in Canadian history where climate change was at the top of the political agenda. Now, they say the next step is to hold a reconfigured parliament accountable for the domestic action and international commitments that will make the country a world leader in responding to the climate crisis.
Net Zero Actions and Practices
The Interview: Canada Can Create Jobs, Set a ‘Signpost’ for the World in Shift to 100% Renewable Electricity, Hornung Says
Robert Hornung has been president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association since 2003. Last week, CanWEA and the Canadian Solar Industries Association announced they are merging to form the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, with Hornung at the helm. He talked to The Energy Mix about a massive moment of opportunity for solar, wind, and storage, and the importance of speaking with a common voice.
Global Cycling Revolution Finding Deep Roots in Toronto
With bike shops reporting thriving sales across Canada and around the world, cycling advocates are pushing hard to ensure that post-pandemic cities include more cycling infrastructure—an evolution that has a lot of public support, even in traditionally car-smitten suburbs.
Ontario Foresters Complete 80% of Annual Planting Despite Pandemic Restrictions
A different kind of essential service is becoming a good news story during the pandemic, with tree-planting activities in Ontario hitting about 80 to 85% of their target for the year in spite of logistical snags due to physical distancing.
Major Cities Urge Green, Resilient Recovery with ‘No Return to Business as Usual’
There’s no going back to “business as usual” after the COVID-19 pandemic when that previous path had the world on track for at least 3.0°C average global warming, the mayors of more than three dozen major cities declared in a statement of principles released earlier this month.
Edmonton Lays Plans to Reboot, Diversify Local Economy
A new agency unanimously approved by city council in Edmonton, Alberta will oversee the creation of a post–COVID-19 economy—equipped with a C$11-million budget and an advisory table that adds foreign investment, trade, and tourism interests to the usual oil and gas voices.
Ramp Up Training, Break Down Market Barriers to Boost Zero-Carbon Buildings, CaGBC Urges
Canada’s building industry “still has work to do” to acquire the skills and knowledge it’ll need to deliver zero-carbon buildings at scale, even based on the country’s current greenhouse gas reduction target of just 30% by 2030, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) concludes in a report issued last week.
High School Transit Training Offers Independence, Confidence to Young Riders
Youth, schools, and communities all stand to gain from a public transit initiative in Kingston, Ontario that is empowering young riders, making (pre-COVID) field trips less costly and more climate-friendly, and encouraging life-long transit ridership.
New Alliance Looks to Geothermal to Get Alberta Oil Rigs Back in Use
In what the Globe and Mail calls “a rare united front between environment and energy,” Alberta’s shattered oil drillers are looking to the emerging geothermal industry as a place to get idled rigs back in production and begin a shift to post-carbon energy.
The Interview: Energy Retrofits Can Drive Economic Recovery, But Financing and Logistics Are Key, Torrie Says
Ralph Torrie is a senior associate with the Sustainability Solutions Group, partner in Torrie Smith Associates, and one of Canada’s leading energy and carbon modellers. He’s been focusing on mass, deep energy retrofits as a cornerstone of a green economic recovery, the financing, training, and logistical approaches that will get the job done, and a “very human response” that might be the catalyst for action.
The Interview: Post-COVID Recovery Becomes Added Lens for Climate, Energy Efficiency Programs, Dunsky Says
Philippe Dunsky is President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, a 35-person Canadian firm specialized in accelerating the clean energy transition. In early April, he circulated a sampling of the energy efficiency, clean energy, electric mobility, and climate action plans his firm is continuing to support through the pandemic, with members of his Montreal-based team conducting their work from home. He talked to The Mix about what a future of rapid decarbonization could look like post-coronavirus.
Canadian-Designed Sensors Helping to Build ‘Smart’ Cities
Once used solely to light commuters’ paths after dark, streetlights can now serve as “technology pillars” for smart city development and maintenance around the world, thanks to a Halifax-based roadway lighting company.
Mid-Density Cities Can Meet Community Needs While Containing Sprawl, Ryerson Report Concludes
An institute at Toronto’s Ryerson University is diving right into the looming debate over urban density in an age of pandemic.
Renewables Agency Urges $110-Trillion Green Infrastructure Investment to Supercharge Recovery, Boost Resilience
Governments around the world can “supercharge their recovery, become more resilient to crises, and save trillions of dollars,” while setting sights on deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050, by directing stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to green infrastructure, Forbes magazine reports, citing a new release this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Saskatchewan Analysts See Energy Retrofits, Renewables as ‘Very Practical’ Path to Economic Recovery
As oil prices plummet and coronavirus-hit economies reel, analysts and experts are urging aggressive investment in labour-intensive renewable energy projects and efficiency retrofits as a responsible, cost-efficient, and “very practical” path through—and beyond—the pandemic.
The Interview: Community Values Must Inform Post-COVID Rebuilding, Yano Says
Sherry Yano is Manager of Community Renewable Energy at the David Suzuki Foundation. She talks about the fault lines in society revealed by the COVID crisis and the values that lead to action on environment and social justice.
Canada Needs Stronger Policy to Tap Into $150 Billion in EV Sales, 1.1 Million Jobs by 2040
Unless the federal government bolsters their policy support for zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, Canada will fall short of its vehicle electrification targets, put only three million ZEVs on the road rather than 15.6 million, and gain only a fraction of the C$150 billion in economic activity and 1.1 million jobs that could be on offer by 2040, according to two analyses released earlier this month.
Post-Pandemic Employment Will Hinge on Green Energy as Fossil Jobs Slide
With projected oilfield job losses of 30% by the end of 2020, the fossil sector is likely to remain highly embattled after the threat of COVID-19 has abated, with little ability to create new jobs. But the job-intensive green energy sector could be set to flourish, particularly if policy-makers include some variant of a Green New Deal in their plans for secondary stimulus packages, a new analysis shows.
Renewables Delivered Nearly 75% of New Electricity Last Year, But Investment Must Double by 2030
Solar, wind, and other forms of renewable power supplied nearly three-quarters of the new electricity generating capacity installed in 2019, but annual investments will still have to double by 2030 to keep pace with the climate emergency, according to a new report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
New Pembina Head Linda Coady Sees Pandemic Relief, New Corporate Attitudes as Drivers for Low-Carbon Future
Collaboration, common ground, economic stimulus, and future resilience were the watchwords last week as Linda Coady, former chief sustainability officer at Enbridge Inc., signed on as the new executive director of the Calgary-based Pembina Institute.
‘Now Is the Time’ for Food Security Planning, Dauncey Urges
With the pandemic posing an increasing threat to food security, policy-makers need to be thinking hard, and quickly, about how to protect the supply chain—from farm to store to table—with timely attention to building greater long-term resilience into the systems that sustain our food supply, Canadian author and climate hawk Guy Dauncey writes in a recent post.
Community Gardeners Object After Ontario Deems Food Production ‘Recreation’ During Pandemic [Sign-On]
With tens of thousands across the province relying on community gardens for affordable, local food, the Ontario government made a big mistake when it included them in its list of recreational activities to be shut down in the effort to #FlattenTheCurve on the coronavirus pandemic, a non-profit food security group warns in a release this week.
Canadian Cities Stepping up with Sustainable Land Use
Affordability, equity, quality of life, and climate resilience are emerging as key objectives in sustainable land use practices being developed by municipalities across Canada—and those objectives are actually being achieved thanks to a strong evidence base, robust community engagement, and close working relationships within and between public and private sector partners.
Benefits of Telecommuting May Outlast Virus Outbreak
Work-from-home policies being implemented around the world in an urgent effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 could create a significant long-term boost to climate action plans, both by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building future resilience.
Electricity Generation Cuts Emissions 2% in 2019, But Faster Coal Phaseout Needed
Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation fell 2% last year, the biggest annual drop since at least 1990, driven by reduced coal use in the European Union and the United States, according to a report released Monday by climate think tank Ember.
Quebec to Double Climate Spending Through 2026, But Details Still to Follow
The Quebec government released a budget yesterday that doubles spending on climate change to C$6.2 billion over six years, beginning in 2021, using surplus power from provincial utility Hydro-Québec to drive a 37.5% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. But details of the plan are still months away, and two major environmental groups say it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
Torrie: Mass, Deep Energy Retrofits Put Net-Zero Emissions Within Reach
A program of mass, deep energy retrofits to dramatically increase the efficiency of Ottawa’s existing building stock must be at the centre of the city’s plan to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, veteran energy modeller Ralph Torrie told a packed house at Ottawa’s Impact Hub late last month.
CCPA: B.C. Must Plan for Managed Decline Before International Fossil Markets Scale Back
British Columbia may be running out of time to plan for a managed decline of its fossil fuel industry, given the prospect that the Asian governments the province is counting on to buy its products may soon be making their own transition to a green economy, warns a new report issued this week by the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
Saskatchewan Announces $10 Million Fund to Help Coal Communities Diversify
Saskatchewan is making good on a Throne Speech promise last fall to direct C$10 million to coal communities to help them diversify into new economic development opportunities.
Edmonton Diner Adds Carbon Footprint Rating to Menu
An Edmonton diner has begun estimating the carbon footprint of the various meals on its menu, using calculations produced by the non-profit Northern Climate Stewardship & Sustainability Society.
Drawdown’s Latest ‘Tools of Possibility’ Show Path to 1.5°C, with 1,570 Billion Tons of Emission Cuts by 2050
Humanity can prevent or draw down 1,570 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 2050 to approach a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming, or 992.77 billion tons to settle around 2.0°C, by adopting a menu of 82 practical solutions ranging from onshore wind to utility-scale solar, from reduced food waste and plant-rich diets to tropical forest restoration and clean cookstoves, according to the 2020 update of the popular Drawdown list.
Ontario Climate Hawks Join City Council to Oppose Fracked Gas Pipeline Through Hamilton [Sign-On]
The City of Hamilton and Ontario climate organizations are mobilizing against a 10-kilometre pipeline that would carry fracked gas from the United States and increase the province’s reliance on carbon-heavy natural gas power plants.
Windsor Aims for Deep Energy Retrofits in 80% of Homes by 2041
The City of Windsor is closer to adopting a deep retrofit program to slash energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in 80% of its housing stock by 2041, following a unanimous standing committee vote last week.
New Research Institute Supports ‘Burgeoning’ Canadian Electric Bus Sector
Powered by C$4.7 million in federal and industry funding, seven mostly post-secondary institutions in Ontario are forming North America’s first research cluster providing research support to zero-emission buses (ZEBs) powered by batteries or fuel cells.
Canadian Pension Board Becomes Lead Shareholder in India’s Biggest Renewables Company
The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is about to become the largest shareholder in ReNew Power, India’s biggest renewable energy company, a business with 3.1 gigawatts of wind and 1.9 GW of solar generation currently in operation.
Fast-Growing BlackRock Investment Fund to Exclude Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Thermal Coal
Asset management giant BlackRock is promising to exclude tar sands/oil sands and thermal coal projects from of its fastest-growing sustainable investment funds.
Hold the Line on Urban Sprawl, Local Campaigners Urge Ottawa City Council
Holding the line on the City of Ottawa’s urban boundary is an essential first step if the community hopes to do its part to get the climate crisis under control, local green space advocate Daniel Buckles wrote in a recent Ottawa Citizen op ed.
Halifax Takes Top Honours in National Climate League 2019 Standings
Halifax took top honours in four categories and eight Canadian municipalities were singled out for recognition last week as the National Climate League released its coveted Season 2 standings.
Alberta Solar Farm, Canada’s Biggest, Nets $500 Million from Danish Infrastructure Fund
Canada’s biggest solar farm, the 400-MW, 1,900-hectare Travers Solar Energy Project in Alberta, has received a C$500-million cash infusion from Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners that will allow Calgary-based Greengate Power to start construction at the site near the village of Lomond in Vulcan County.
Three-Year Federal EV Incentive Burns Through Half Its Budget in Eight Months
It’s only taken the Canadian government eight months to burn through nearly half of its three-year budget for electric and zero-emission vehicle rebates, leaving the funds at risk of running out by year-end and Transport Minister Marc Garneau considering whether to extend the program to meet the demand.
Smart Thermostat Start-Up Sees Gain for Newfoundland-Labrador Grid
Record $196.5M Fine in Dieselgate Scandal Points to ‘New Era of Environmental Protection’
A record-setting C$196.5-million fine levied against Volkswagen after it pleaded guilty to dozens of charges in the epic Dieselgate scandal, heralds a “new era of environmental protection,” according to judge who heard the case.
Ex-Alberta Liberal Leader Declares Tax Revolt Over Deadbeat Fossils’ $173M Debt to Rural Municipalities
A former opposition politician in Alberta is calling for a tax revolt after Premier Jason Kenney sided with deadbeat fossils against the rural municipalities they’re depriving of C$173 million in local tax revenue.
‘Words Make Worlds’: Holthaus Issues Call to Imagine, Create a Radically Positive Future
As the climate crisis deepens, we must be “radically imaginative,” telling ourselves and each other stories of fiercely visionary, loving, and productive collective actions that will help end the climate emergency, veteran meteorologist and climate hawk Eric Holthaus writes in The Correspondent.
Efficiency Group Points to Electric Trucks as Next Frontier
Canadian Start-Up Nets $2M to Develop Longer-Lasting Zinc Battery
Chetwynd, B.C. ‘Renewable Hydrogen’ Plant Gets $200M Cash Injection from Macquarie
A new C$200-million “renewable hydrogen plant” is about to get off the ground in Chetwynd, British Columbia with a boost from the green energy arm of Australian infrastructure investment giant Macquarie Capital.
High-Fives in PEI After Officials Announce $68-Million Solar+Storage Project
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey shared a “small victorious high-five” in Summerside, PEI last week after announcing construction of a C$68-million, 21-megawatt solar farm with 10 MW of battery storage.
TerraForm Buyout Would Lift Toronto-Based Brookfield Renewable’s Asset Base to 22 Gigawatts
Toronto-based Brookfield Renewable Partners is pitching a US$1.5-billion offer to buy out the remaining shares of TerraForm Power Inc., a move that would boost its global portfolio of renewable energy and energy storage assets from 18 to 22 gigawatts.
LED Retrofit Cuts Lighting Costs 94%, Points to Fast ROI for Commercial Buildings
An LED lighting replacement project at a manufacturing plant in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata cut lighting costs 94% while providing better illumination, delivering the equivalent of a one-day return on investment after factoring in federal and provincial incentives.
Teck Buys B.C. Solar Project for $2 Million
Cenovus Sets ‘Aspirational’ Net-Zero Target, Pledges 30% Carbon Intensity Cut by 2030
Alberta tar sands/oil sands fossil Cenovus Energy is promising to cut its carbon emissions per barrel produced 30% by 2030, reclaim 1,500 decommissioned oil wells by the same year, hit “net zero” emissions by 2050, and expand its work with Indigenous businesses by C$1.5 billion.
Canada’s New Building Code Aims for ‘Culture of Thinking About Resiliency’
Canada’s updated national building code this year is set to begin addressing the climate crisis for the first time, with further refinements to follow in revisions scheduled every five years.
Harbour Air Completes First Test Flight for Battery-Powered Seaplane
With allusions to the Wright Brothers’ first test flight in 1903, Harbour Air Seaplanes completed its first all-electric flight in Richmond, British Columbia December 10 with CEO Greg McDougall at the controls.
District Energy Systems Gain Ground Despite High Up-Front Cost, Low Gas Prices
Community-based district energy systems are spreading across Canada despite steep up-front costs and tough competition from cheap natural gas, with innovative examples popping up in Vancouver, Yellowknife, Charlottetown, and more than 2,600 other places in between.
Engineering Study to Map Out High-Speed Rail from Quebec City to Toronto
Via Rail and the Canada Infrastructure Bank have set a March 31, 2021 deadline for final engineering for a high-speed passenger rail line along the Toronto-Quebec City corridor.
Cut Carbon by Giving Citizens More Transportation Choices, Veteran City Planner Urges
A key step in getting Canadian urbanites out of high-emitting cars is to shed the notion that roads are natural habitat for cars alone and redesign city streets to give citizens more transportation choices, former Toronto chief planner and mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat argues in a Globe and Mail op ed.
Energy Efficiency Scorecard Shows B.C. Leading, But All Provinces with Room to Improve
British Columbia leads, Saskatchewan along with Newfoundland and Labrador lag, and no province receives a score above 58 points on a 100-point scale in the first annual provincial energy efficiency scorecard released yesterday by Efficiency Canada.
‘New Kind of Protected Area’ Would Store Carbon, Conserve Nature’s Ecological Services
Rapid climate change should be the catalyst for Canada to embrace “a new type of protected area” devoted to sequestering carbon, argues Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, in an opinion piece for the Toronto Star.
Solar Farm to Deliver Better Electricity Access, Annual Revenue to B.C. First Nation
The six communities of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in British Columbia are looking ahead to better electricity access and C$175,000 in annual revenue after completing construction of a solar farm west of Williams Lake that is expected to generate 1.5 gigawatt-hours per year for the BC Hydro grid.
Canada’s ‘Rich Carbon Sink’ Peatlands Need Urgent Protection, Story Map Shows
Northern peatlands—the richest carbon sinks on the planet and epicentres of biodiversity—are in urgent need of protection from human development, the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada asserts, in a detailed “story map” that outlines why and how these “enormous carbon storehouses” must be preserved, with Indigenous peoples leading the way.
Emissions Holding at 92% of Pre-COVID Levels Prompt Calls for Systemic Change
The skies are largely plane-free, and streets across the globe are suddenly alive with pedestrians and void of cars—yet there will be a mere 8% drop in global emissions this year. Analysts are taking that dissonance as a stark reminder than the climate crisis will only be solved by system-wide structural change, not individual best efforts.
Arctic Ocean Study Documents Rapid, Unprecedented Change
From melting ice to spiking acidity, from stagnating thermoclines to troubled food chains, frighteningly rapid changes are under way in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, while a lack of long-term data leaves scientists and Indigenous peoples uncertain about how to respond.
Canadian Fossils Headed for ‘Deep, Deep Collapse’ After Oil Price Dips to -$37.63 Per Barrel
Oil traders and fossil executives whose livelihoods rise and fall on the price of oil were in a state of collective shock earlier this week, as plummeting demand due to the coronavirus pandemic drove ricocheting prices well below zero for the first time ever.
Ontario Records Big Emissions Spike After Axing Cap and Trade
The national greenhouse gas inventory report that Canada filed with the United Nations last week showed a big increase in Ontario, after several years of steady decline, Toronto-based Environmental Defence reported in a blog post earlier this week.
Canada Records 15-Megatonne Emissions Hike in 2018, Wiping Out 13 Years of Gains
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15 million tonnes between 2017 and 2018, driven by vehicle emissions, oil and gas extraction, and manufacturing, and essentially erasing 13 years of small reductions dating back to 2005.
NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014
Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.
Air Pollution, Lack of Clean Water Increase Infection Risk for Poorer Communities
Chronic health problems—often owing to high levels of pollution—and poor access to clean water are putting poor, Indigenous, and non-white communities across the world at greater risk of infection and hospitalization in the face of COVID-19.
Unregulated Tar Sands/Oil Sands Emissions May Undercut Canada’s Methane Reductions
Although Canada can still meet its 2025 deadline to reduce methane releases from conventional oil and gas production by 40 to 45%, those gains could be wiped out by methane increases in tar sands/oil sands operations that aren’t subject to regulation, a new report concludes.
Prince George School Evacuated after Latest Canadian Train Derailment
In yet another Canadian freight train derailment, 27 cars left the tracks near Prince George, British Columbia last week, forcing the evacuation of a local elementary school and leaving a nearby creek contaminated with petroleum coke.
New Quebec Gas Pipeline, LNG Terminal Would Emit 1.8 Billion Tonnes Over 25 Years
A controversial gas pipeline and liquefaction project in Quebec’s Saguenay region that could produce 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon pollution over 25 years is just three weeks away from entering hearings before the province’s environmental review agency, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).
Analysis: Teck Mine Would Have Produced 45 Million Tonnes of Emissions Per Year
If Justin Trudeau’s cabinet had approved the controversial Teck Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine this week, it would have given its blessing to a project that would dump 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent (CO2e) into the atmosphere, 11 times more than the company acknowledged, according to analysis completed in the days before the company’s dramatic decision to withdraw its project application.
Pembina: Emissions 70% Above Global Average Put Tar Sands/Oil Sands on ‘Collision Course’
Carbon emissions per barrel that are still 70% above the global average, and still on the rise, are putting Alberta tar sands/oil sands producers on a “collision course” with Canada’s climate targets and with changing expectations in global markets, the Pembina Institute reports in a study released Wednesday.
CAPE Documents Health Effects of Fracking, Calls for Immediate Ban
Birth defects, cancer, neurological issues, and psychological effects are among the documented impacts of natural gas fracking, prompting the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) to call for a ban on the practice in a literature review released this week.
New Canadian Climate Institute Warns of ‘Harsh Realities’ Ahead
The new Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC), an independent think tank that begins life with C$20 million in federal funding over five years, is warning of the harsh realities and global economic shifts the country will face as the climate crisis evolves.
‘Normal Weather Doesn’t Exist Anymore,’ Says Veteran CBC Climatologist Dave Phillips
From an overheating Arctic to a frigid B.C. Lower Mainland and Maritimes, from a parched (then drowning) Prairie region to an epically deluged Eastern Canada, the fingerprints of the climate crisis were all over the extreme weather events experienced by Canadians in 2019, says legendary Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips.
Canadian Food Prices Set to Rise $487 Per Family, with Climate a Major Cause
The average Canadian family will pay $487 more for food next year, and the authors of the country’s annual food price report are pointing to climate change as a major cause of the increase.
Climate Change Puts 100% of Arctic Bird Species at Risk, But Fast Action Can Stem the Impact
Should humanity fail to keep average global warming below 2.0°C, 100% of all Arctic bird species and 98% of those that make their homes in the northern boreal forest will be at high risk of extinction.
Public Opinion and Co-Benefits
Campaign for a Resilient Canadian Recovery Signs 2,100+ Allies [sign-on]
More than 2,100 Canadian companies and organizations have signalled their support for a post-pandemic economic recovery plan grounded in the principles of sustainability and resilience and driven by projects that “aren’t just shovel-ready, but shovel-worthy.”
Green Recovery 23% More Popular than Climate Action in Public Polling
Canadians are much more likely to support specific green job and recovery measures than they are to back a more general call to address climate change through post-pandemic economic stimulus, according to polling last month by Ipsos Canada that revealed a 23% difference in the response to the two questions.
Fossils Expect Permanent Losses, Renewables Keep Growing as Pandemic Crashes Global Energy Demand
The permanent reductions in conventional energy demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic will change the oil and gas industry forever, leaving renewables as the only energy form resilient enough to keep growing, according to separate assessments released last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Europe’s biggest fossil, Royal Dutch Shell.
71% of Global Survey Respondents See Climate, COVID-19 Crises as Equally Important
More than 70% of citizens in 14 countries around the world believe climate change is as serious a crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly two-thirds want post-pandemic recovery efforts to prioritize climate action, according to survey results released last week by the IPSOS opinion research agency.
Alberta Pension Fund Manager AIMCo Loses $4 Billion on Bad Fossil Investments
A bad bet on fluctuating oil prices cost Alberta’s public pension funds more than C$4 billion last month, after the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) bought into a collection of contracts that never paid off in a stock market upended by falling oil prices and the global pandemic.
Ontario Asks Court to Dismiss Youth Climate Case [Petition]
The Ontario government is asking a judge to dismiss a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case filed last November by seven youth climate litigants, claiming the matter shouldn’t be decided in court.
The Interview: Climate Action Builds Resilience Against Wider Range of Crises, Abreu Says
Catherine Abreu is Executive Director of Climate Action Network-Canada. She talks about the strengths and resources the climate community brings to the global health crisis, and the wider importance of building genuine relationships and resilience.
COVID Denial Mirrors Climate Attitudes Based on Demographics, Voting Preference
Older, right-leaning Canadian men are far more likely than their fellow citizens to consider the threat of COVID-19 to be exaggerated, and they’re proving more reluctant to practice recommended prevention measures like scrupulous handwashing and social distancing, according to recent research by the Angus Reid Institute.
The Interview: Pandemic Recovery Can Boost the Economy, Attack Emissions, Increase Climate Resilience, Nagata Says
Kai Nagata is Communications Director at Dogwood in British Columbia. Since the pandemic began, he’s been pointing out that every dollar spent on the government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline is a dollar diverted from pandemic response—and that in any health emergency, none of us is safe unless all of us are safe.
‘Remarkable’ Conservation Gains Show Oceans Could Be Fully Restored by 2050
A series of isolated but remarkable examples of biological resilience show that conservation efforts could fully restore the glory of the world’s oceans within 30 years if countries redouble their efforts to make it happen, according to a major international review published yesterday in the journal Nature.
Cleanse the Air to Help #FlattenTheCurve, Doctors Urge
While physical distancing and handwashing (have you washed your hands recently??) are essential strategies to #FlattenTheCurve on the coronavirus pandemic, governments can also reduce the load on the health care system by keeping the air as clean as possible, three public health and respiratory medicine specialists from British Columbia argue in a post for the Globe and Mail.
COVID-19 Produces Lessons Learned on Climate, Biodiversity
While the direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic receives the lion’s share of public and media attention, there’s been a steady drumbeat of news and analysis on the similarities between the coronavirus and the climate crisis—and the lessons from today’s crisis that will be applicable when the focus shifts back to climate.
Youth Climate Campaigners Show Empathy, Ingenuity in Face of Pandemic Crisis
As COVID-19 explodes around the world, youth climate activists are responding with empathy and ingenuity, moving en masse from the streets to the web, determined that the necessity of social distancing will not impede the equally urgent fight for carbon reductions.
Air Quality Gains Due to Coronavirus Slowdown Could Save More Lives than COVID-19 Claims
First in China, now in Italy, satellite data are pointing to a predictable but still dramatic connection between the coronavirus and climate emergencies—as countries curtail economic activity in a bid to slow the growth of a global pandemic, they’re also reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, at least temporarily.
Buffett Fund Backs Out of Quebec LNG Project as Hearings Begin, Community Opposition Mounts
U.S. investment legend Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway industrial conglomerate has decided not to sink C$4 billion into Canada’s next controversial fossil pipeline, the GNL Québec pipeline and liquefied natural gas terminal in the Saguenay region, just as environmental hearings and grassroot opposition to the project begin gearing up.
Peer Pressure Can Drive Down Emissions, Combat Climate Despair: Cornell Economist
Just as it helped drive the precipitous decline in America’s tobacco use over the past 30 years, peer pressure is a potentially powerful—and critically underused—weapon in the fight to draw down greenhouse gas emissions, according to Cornell University economists Robert H. Frank.
As It Happened: Pressure Was Building Against Teck Mine Proposal as 41 Nobel Laureates Weighed In
With the federal cabinet still on track last week to decide whether to approve the C$20.6-billion Teck Frontier megaproject, 41 Nobel laureates urged the government to reject the project, a columnist argued that any decision was better than postponing the issue, and the company that ultimately pulled the plug on its own proposal was already considering exiting the tar sands/oil sands entirely.
Hapless Fossil ‘War Room’ Being Targeted by Climate Hawks, Alberta Claims
The Jason Kenney government in Alberta is amping up its grievance meter another notch, with the claim that environmental activists are targeting the fossil energy “war room” his government is funding with C$30 million in taxpayers’ funds.
Skyrocketing Price Drives Down Public Support for Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
Public support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion tips toward opposition when Canadians learn that the cost of the controversial project has ballooned to C$12.6 billion, the Angus Reid Institute reports this week based on a new opinion survey.
100 Teck Protesters Occupy Guilbeault Constituency Office
About 100 student demonstrators occupied the downtown Montreal constituency office of Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault Friday afternoon, calling on the former Greenpeace activist and the rest of his cabinet colleagues to refuse approval for Teck Resources’ controversial Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine.
Parliamentary Budget Officer Sees Most Households Coming Out Ahead from Federal Carbon Price
Most households in provinces subject to the federal government’s backstop price on carbon will get more money back in rebates than they pay out in taxes, though less than Ottawa projected last year, the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded in a new analysis released this week.
Demands for Climate Action Put Pressure on Conservatives in Canada, Australia
From Canada to Australia, the resistance to climate action generally associated with conservative governments may be showing early signs of burning to the ground—though CBC isn’t minimizing the challenges the next Conservative Party of Canada leader will face reconciling the urgency of the climate crisis with a largely westernized political base.
Scott and DeRochie: Coastal GasLink Buy Undercuts Pension Fund’s Duty to Alberta Retirees
Buying a 65% stake in the C$6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in northeastern British Columbia was the wrong way to invest Alberta’s public pension fund, Adam Scott and Patrick DeRochie of Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health argue in an op ed last week for the Edmonton Journal.
Global Business Leaders Cite Climate as Decade’s Biggest Risk
Global business and political leaders have declared climate change the decade’s biggest risk, in the latest edition of an annual survey issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Stop Indigenous Evictions at Coastal GasLink Site, B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Urges
Canada must stop the eviction of Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc protesters blockading the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia, guarantee that no force will be used against them, and prohibit the use of lethal weapons on the site, B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender said Friday.
Surging Canadian Renewables Stocks Deliver ‘Pleasant Side Benefit’ to Ethical Investors
Shares in three Canadian renewable energy companies surged in 2019, producing a “pleasant side benefit” to investors who may have signed on for the good of the planet by “delivering gains that mock the fossil fuel-clinging political leadership in Washington,” the Globe and Mail reported in mid-December.
Fossils Brace for Scrutiny as Carney Warns Half of World Oil Reserves Could Become Worthless
Canadian fossils ended the year bracing themselves for closer scrutiny after departing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney declared that half of the world’s oil and gas reserves could become stranded assets, leaving millions of peoples’ investments “worthless”.
Green-Themed Christmas Pageant Triggers Outrage in Saskatchewan Oil Town
The angry backlash against a green-themed Christmas pageant at a small-town Saskatchewan public school revealed the fear-filled defensiveness produced by a precarious western Canadian fossil economy—while offering unsettling proof of the “social power” Big Oil holds over vulnerable people still dependent on the industry for a paycheque.
75% Say Carbon-Free Transition Helps Canada Over Long Term
Three-quarters of Canadians see the shift to less carbon-intensive energy as a necessary transition that will help the country over the long term, even if it raises the cost of living, according to a new Abacus Data survey conducted for Vancouver-based Clean Energy Canada.
Businesses See Climate Action Emerging as Job Creator, Economic Driver: Pittis
Overheated claims that climate action will cost millions of jobs are quickly giving way to the realization that the transition off carbon will produce an employment boom, CBC business columnist Don Pittis reports in a post-Throne Speech analysis.
Former Oilpatch Roughneck Traces Hardships of Fossil Employment, Urges Better Deal in Carbon-Free Transition
The boom and bust nature of a fossil-fuel based economy, together with the callous greed of those at the top, means a “pretty brutal, pretty unforgiving” existence for oilpatch workers, self-described “oilpatch brat,” one-time roughneck, and oil and gas anthropologist Rylan Higgins writes in a recent CBC op ed.
Doctors Urge Rapid Decarbonization to Avert Life-Long Health Impacts of Climate Change
The increase in extreme weather and air pollution due to climate change is seriously harming human health, and a world of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods, and extreme heat will produce life-long health risks for a child born today unless countries move swiftly to curb carbon pollution, according to the latest annual climate and health update published this week by the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet.
Two-Thirds of Canadians Want Federal Action on Climate Crisis
Two-thirds of Canadians want the country’s response to the climate crisis to continue or accelerate under Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government, and nearly 60% were dissatisfied with the Conservative Party’s climate platform in the recent federal election, according to polling results released last week by Clean Energy Canada.
Climate Community Declares the Win as Polling Shows Climate Concern Driving Vote
The Canadian climate community is taking a victory lap and getting ready for the hard work ahead, after this week’s federal election largely delivered on the hope that the climate crisis would emerge as a key issue setting the composition of the country’s new government.
On the International Stage
Guterres Urges Marshall Plan Moment to Save the Sick, Heal the Planet
With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting humanity with its biggest challenge since the Second World War, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is calling for a six-point, Marshall Plan-style response to rebuilding the global economy—and building back in a way that slows climate change.
The Interview: COVID Demands Global Investment to Build Back Better, McArthur Says
Shaughn McArthur is Policy and Influence Lead at CARE Canada, and has been a leading voice for Canadian civil society at the last several United Nations climate change conferences. He’s been looking at the way the global focus on the pandemic has drawn attention away from the climate emergency—and how action on COVID can bring both crises together.
BREAKING: U.S. Judge Rejects Essential Construction Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline
Construction along hundreds of water crossings along Keystone XL pipeline route was thrown into doubt late yesterday, after Montana District Court judge Brian Morris threw out a key permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Without Net Zero Plans, Pandemic-Driven CO2 Decline a ‘Pit Stop’ to Climate Ruin
Forecasters are predicting that coronavirus disruptions will lead to the largest annual drop in carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded—but multiple data challenges make any such estimates extremely tentative, and without post-pandemic recovery efforts that prioritize and accelerate the zero-carbon shift, the plunge in emissions will prove nothing more than a brief pit stop on the road to climate ruin, analysts warn.
Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows
The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
Adow: The West Must Pay Its Debt If the World Is to Win the Climate Fight
Writing with “a clarity born not from abstract understandings but from visceral experience,” Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Power Shift Africa, urges the West to act with integrity and deep compassion, and pay the profound and ever-growing “climate debt” it owes the developing world.
IEA Chief Sees ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Climate Action Through Economic Stimulus
The coronavirus pandemic presents a momentous opportunity for governments and financial leaders to build climate action into the economic stimulus packages they introduce to stabilize their faltering economies, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week.
Countries Are ‘Way Off Track’ from Meeting Climate Targets, Latest UN Assessment Warns
Ocean and surface temperatures last year were the highest on record, average global temperature was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, the Earth lost more ice than it gained for a 32nd year in a row, and sea levels hit an all-time high, prompting United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to declare humanity “way off track” from getting climate change under control in his foreword to the World Meteorological Organization’s latest annual climate assessment.
EU Considers Border Adjustment Charge to Penalize Carbon-Intensive Imports
The European Union is poised to fast-track some form of border adjustment to protect its domestic industries from international competitors in countries with less stringent carbon reduction policies.
New Trade Deal May Help U.S. Ship Coal to Asia Through Canadian, Mexican Ports
The Trump administration is looking for support from Canada and Mexico under the newly-signed U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to help it circumvent state-level bans on coal shipments to Asia from western U.S. states.
UN Human Rights Panel Calls for Pause on Trans Mountain, Site C, Coastal GasLink
The committee that monitors a United Nations convention to end racial discrimination is calling on Canada to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Site C hydro megaproject, and the Coastal GasLink pipeline until they receive approval from all affected First Nations.
COP 25 Becomes First to Use ‘F Words’ to Call Out Fossil Fuels
Disastrously as COP 25 turned out for anyone expecting coordinated action on a mounting global emergency, two of the world’s leading climate campaigners are pointing to a shift in language and emphasis that could echo through future UN climate conferences for years to come. For the first time, report Catherine Abreu and Jamie Henn, institutions and UN diplomats up to and including Secretary General António Guterres used the “F words”—fossil fuels—to name and call out the major cause of the climate crisis, and of the chronic dysfunction in the hallways and back rooms of the COP itself.
Jurisdictions with Net Zero Plans or Aspirations Now Produce 40% of Global GDP
About 40% of the world’s economic activity, totalling US$34.6 trillion, now takes place in jurisdictions that have adopted or proposed plans to bring their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 or before, according to analysis released last week by the UK’s Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
‘Disgraceful’ COP 25 Shows Big Emitters ‘Betraying People Across the World’
After running 44 hours beyond its scheduled end time, this year’s United Nations climate conference dissolved in failure, frustration, and anger Sunday morning, with a large bloc of countries and an exhausted climate advocacy community blaming the world’s biggest emitters and the fossil fuel interests behind them.
Thunberg, 15 Other Youth Call Out Canadian, Norwegian Fossils for Violating Children’s Rights
With #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg and 15 other youth campaigners in Madrid calling out Canada and Norway for violating children’s rights and urging them to wind down their oil and gas production, Norway’s top fossil lobbyist is openly fretting about the “intense” nature of the debate around his industry’s climate impact.
Canada Pledges Net Zero by 2050 as Major Emitters Dig In to Block COP 25 Progress
Canada earned praise for promising to legislate a 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions, but big emitters like Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, and China were called out for blocking progress, as COP 25 moved into a crucial round of high-level negotiations this week in Madrid.
Need to Get It Right: Article 6 Could Trigger Faster Carbon Cuts or Massive Greenwashing
It could make or break the success of the Paris Agreement. It’s a notably complicated section of an international accord that is already arcane and nuanced by real-world standards. And as negotiations passed their midpoint Friday, many participants at this year’s UN climate conference, COP 25, said they would rather postpone final drafting of Article 6 than settle for a bad decision.
Throne Speech in Ottawa, COP Negotiations in Madrid Raise Pressure on Canada for Climate Action
With a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne taking place tomorrow in Ottawa, and United Nations climate negotiations under way in Madrid, the Trudeau government is under sustained pressure to make climate action a priority at home and do its fair share internationally to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.
‘Vanguard vs. Laggards’: Spain Presses COP 25 Delegates for Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts
As this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP 25, got under way in Madrid, initial news coverage pointed to a division between the plodding, formal negotiating process and the broader, global urgency of getting 195 countries together to find common ground on a more urgent response to the climate crisis.
Fossil Production Plans, Subsidies Put Countries Far Beyond 1.5°C Paris Target
The world’s governments are on track to produce more than twice as much oil, gas, and coal as the amounts that would enable them to hold average global warming to 1.5°C, according to a first-ever production gap report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme and five senior environmental research NGOs.
Fossil Production, Inefficient Buildings Make Canada a Global Climate Laggard
Canada shows up as one of the world’s biggest climate laggards in the Climate Transparency consortium’s annual Brown to Green report, with energy-inefficient buildings and fossil-intensive Alberta and Saskatchewan accounting for much of the country’s failure to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, National Observer reports.
World’s Biggest Fossils Must Cut Output 35% by 2040 to Hit 1.5°C Warming Target
The world’s seven biggest fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, must cut their oil and gas production 35% by 2040 to avoid driving average global warming above 1.5°C, according to a new analysis published last week by UK-based Carbon Tracker.