SNAPSHOT: Canada’s Contradiction: Low-Carbon Leader or Perpetual Petro-State?

Full Story: The Energy Mix

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Justin Trudeau/Twitter

2018 was the year Canada’s policy contradictions on climate and energy came home to roost, as the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to square its enthusiastic embrace of the Paris Agreement with its equally avid support for the country’s carbon-emitting fossil industry. With the federal election coming up in October 2019, and an equally momentous vote in Alberta scheduled for May, the story intensified through the year, and the fault lines became ever more obvious.

Trudeau’s determined effort to chart a middle course between fossil dependency and climate responsibility earned him angry rebukes from both sides of the line, with a growing number of columnists and analysts concluding that he can’t have it both ways. The single biggest story of the year was the federal government’s decision to give in to an ultimatum from Houston-based Kinder Morgan Ltd. and spend C$4.5 billion to buy taxpayers a 65-year-old pipeline. That decision produced a sense of utter betrayal from Indigenous and other pipeline opponents—while fossils, incredibly, still accused the government of showing inadequate support for their failing industry.

In the end, analysis showed Canada falling massively short of its Harper-era carbon target under the Paris accord and unable to hit the target if it continued to insist on scaling up oil and gas production. One assessment showed carbon pricing eliminating 90 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2022, but still leaving the country 90 megatonnes short of a Paris goal that Trudeau and Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna had described as a floor, not a ceiling, for Canada’s climate ambition. Other analyses said Canada needed a higher carbon price and a wider suite of policy tools to get the job done, and the federal “backstop” price on carbon was on track to add 100 megatonnes to Alberta coal emissions.

Yet the strongest assurances the government offered had to do with the certainty of new fossil projects. Even after Canada signed on to a new high-ambition declaration, McKenna declined to strengthen the country’s carbon target. Earlier in the year, she attributed the country’s emissions gap to economic growth and expressed her continuing commitment to the Paris target.

Then-natural resources minister Jim Carr’s energy transition advisory council anticipated a future of wind, solar, energy efficiency, and the world’s “cleanest” liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; British Columbia welcomed a C$40-billion LNG megaproject; three new B.C. LNG projects neared approval; and Energy Mix correspondent Greg Allen said a 1.5°C future would require Canada to phase out natural gas. A new Ontario cement plant was expected to emit one megatonne per year, analysis placed the social cost of carbon from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as high as $8.7 billion up front and $4.1 billion per year, and doctors asked Trudeau for an independent health assessment of Trans Mountain.

In November, Canada posted the G20’s highest per capita GHG emissions, as a study showed average global warming would exceed 5.0°C if the whole world followed Canada’s, Russia’s, and China’s lead.

Climate Action Network-Canada (CAN-Rac) said it was time for fossils to pull their weight on Canada’s climate commitments. CAN-Rac Executive Director Catherine Abreu and Environmental Defence National Program Manager Dale Marshall called for a more robust accountability mechanism for Canada’s Paris commitments, and Clean Energy Canada cited skepticism about post-carbon solutions as the new climate denial. “We didn’t have time for climate denial, and we have even less time for solutions denial,” asserted Executive Director Merran Smith and Policy Director Dan Woynillowicz.

Opinion research showed Canadians backing strong climate leadership despite concerns about cost, opposing fossil fuel subsidies by a two-thirds margin, and supporting Ottawa’s backstop price on carbon. The latter poll also showed a smaller gap between the views of Albertans and those of British Columbians than most pundits and politicians believed. Veteran climate advocate and organizer Tzeporah Berman received a vicious response, complete with death threats, when she accepted a speaking engagement from a branch of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Berman delivered an impassioned call for dialogue, foresight, and collaboration to help the province prosper in a post-carbon world. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley arranged to follow Berman’s speech with one of her own and came back with unicorns—literally. “We are better than this,” Berman said.

Pipeline to Tidewater: A False Narrative Props Up a Fading Industry

The battle over Canada’s energy future was driven in large part by the shaky proposition that a prosperous future awaited Alberta, if only the stars aligned to build new pipeline capacity to tidewater. As the year progressed, it became ever clearer that that storyline was false at worst, woefully incomplete at best.

The basic claim—repeated and repeated again by industry executives and Notley—was that the Alberta and Canadian economies were losing many millions of dollars per day because of the deep discount oilpatch producers had to offer for the Western Canadian Select crude oil they sell into world markets. Just get a pipeline built, they claimed, and a price differential in the range of C$50 per barrel would be cleared, or at least mitigated, bringing new benefits to the industry and the provincial economy that depends on it.

The intensity ratcheted up through the fall, as falling world oil prices drove the discounted Alberta market to the point of crisis. By mid-November, major tar sands/oil sands producers were berating each other for taking “windfall profits” by grabbing all the available pipeline space they could, and the “swashbuckling free marketeers” in the oilpatch were doing precisely what you might expect: losing patience with governments for not stepping in with a fully baked solution to their problems, warning of a new wave of western Canadian separatism, accusing/not accusing Ottawa of treason, even risking the appearance of insider trading by participating in a meeting with Notley to discuss measures to restrict production volumes. Cenovus Energy urged governments to impose production cuts to drive up fossil revenue, and Notley complied.

“The grade of oil that Alberta sells into world markets, Western Canadian Select, hit a rock-bottom price of US$13.46 per barrel,” The Energy Mix explained at the height of the industry’s mid-November hyperbole, “its lowest since Bloomberg began keeping track in 2008. They’re producing at a loss, and they want a solution right now. And they imagine that faster federal action to approve the intensely controversial Trans Mountain pipeline extension—a project that would be years away from delivering an ounce of heavy crude if construction restarted tomorrow—will somehow give them relief from today’s problem.

“They also imagine that they have anything less than the federal government’s full-throated support.”

Later, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers CEO Tim McMillan pivoted from complaints about pipelines and oil prices to an attack on Canada’s proposed new impact assessment act, Bill 69.

‘People Will Die’ to Get a Pipeline Built

But the harshest attacks from fossils and their supporters were reserved for campaigners on the front lines of the Trans Mountain fight. While Berman may have been the highest-profile target, she wasn’t alone. Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge casually and chillingly suggested that “people will die” on the protest lines at Burnaby Mountain, asserting that killing off a few “extremists” might be the price Canada would have to pay to get the Trans Mountain expansion built. British Columbia’s Dogwood Initiative reported that “the hate mail is piling up” after investment banker and former Dragon’s Den panelist Brett Wilson suggested pipeline protesters should be hanged for treason. Wilson later doubled down by offering to pay B.C. New Democrat legislators to cross the floor and support the project.

A more sober assessment by senior economist and former insurance CEO Robyn Allan showed it was Alberta’s inferior tar sands/oil sands product, not the lack of market access, that was driving down the price the province could charge for its product. Later in the year, analysts at BNN Bloomberg agreed that a new pipeline would not eliminate the price discount on a lower-quality form of crude oil that is tougher for refineries to process. A rating agency warned that Alberta was still relying on new pipeline-related revenue to balance its budget in 2023–24, and tar sands/oil sands operations were on track to break through Alberta’s lifetime emissions cap.

In an exclusive, six-part series for The Energy Mix, award-winning investigative reporter Paul McKay pointed to global competition as a fatal flaw in Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands export plans, traced the business partners Ottawa might have to sign on with to get the pipeline built, assessed the impact of new emissions controls for international shipping on Alberta production, calculated the starkly unfavourable math Canada had accepted by buying the pipeline, and made the case that Teck Resources’ proposed new tar sands/oil sands megaproject is a “dead mine walking.” Some observers speculated that Teck may not even plan to build the mine—it just wants a plausible enough appearance of that plan to set the stage for a Kinder Morgan–style bailout.

Analyst David Hughes said it’s poor strategy to sell off fossil resources at bargain basement prices, BNN Bloomberg debunked the myth that a new pipeline would clear the price discount for poor-quality Alberta crude, and Oil Change International’s Adam Scott called Alberta production cuts a vision of what a managed decline could look like. Veteran Vox.com climate columnist David Roberts gave a hat-tip to supply-side campaigns that fall one step outside the climate mainstream, after economists Fergus Green and Richard Denniss made a “cogent argument that the activists are onto something—that restrictive supply-side (RSS) climate policies have unique economic and political benefits and deserve a place alongside carbon prices and renewable energy supports in the climate policy toolkit.”

Some 50,000 people rallied in Montreal to demand provincial climate action, days before 6,000 protesters closed five London bridges in Extinction Rebellion’s first major action.

Alberta’s oil and gas royalties plummeted while production increased, even though the province’s fossil companies remained incredibly profitable through a sustained oil price crash. A few months of higher oil prices fueled optimism but not euphoria in the oilpatch before prices crashed again; labour-saving efficiencies wiped out thousands of Alberta fossil jobs; and declines in investment, jobs, and tax revenue pointed to the end of the tar sands/oil sands era.

The head of the Alberta Energy Regulator resigned after revealing the province could face up to $260 billion in unfunded oilpatch liabilities. The carbon liabilities facing the province’s five biggest fossils were calculated at $2 trillion. Équiterre said a spike in pipeline incidents showed up the industry’s safety claims as “meaningless marketing mantras,” and Albertans were set to bear the clean-up costs for 155,000 abandoned oil and gas.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer was looking forward to making carbon pricing a ballot issue in the 2019 federal election, but was expected to pay a price at the polls for opposing carbon pricing and supporting pipelines. The federal backstop price earned support from a conservative-led think tank, the Globe and Mail, a normally critical climate hawk, and public opinion for promising a carbon price rebate in almost every mailbox.

Ottawa was set to remit $420 million directly to Ontario climate initiatives after the Doug Ford government dismantled the province’s successful carbon cap-and-trade program, cancelled 758 renewable energy contracts, and stopped construction of the White Pines wind farm as it neared completion.

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Montreal Electric Bus Manufacturer Introduces E-Truck for Urban Deliveries

Montreal-based electric bus manufacturer Lion Electric Co. is introducing a new truck model, the Lion8, that will cover up to 400 kilometres (250 miles) on a charge and carry up to 11,350 kilograms (25,000 pounds) of cargo, primarily for urban deliveries.

Abreu Named to Top-100 List of Climate Influencers

The Apolitical platform’s latest list of the world’s top 100 climate influencers includes familiar faces like #SchoolStrike leader Greta Thunberg, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Pope Francis, and IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. And Climate Action Network-Canada Executive Director Catherine Abreu.

How Carbon Pricing Deals with Climate as an ‘Externality’

Morneau’s Pre-Election Budget Boosts ZEVs and Energy Retrofits, Extends New Fossil Subsidy

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled a pre-election budget yesterday that included a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, major new funds for building energy retrofits, and a budget boost for municipal infrastructure, but introduced a new fossil fuel subsidy while doggedly claiming a fossil subsidy phaseout is still on the government’s agenda.

New Laws Aim to Protect Environment, Not Stop Trans Mountain, B.C. Tells Appeal Court

British Columbia has the right to pass environmental laws to mitigate the harm that could result from the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it isn’t trying to stop the project outright, provincial lawyer Joseph Arvay told the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this week.

NB Power Invests in Hydrogen Research for Carbon Reduction, Grid Resilience

New Brunswick Power is trying to position itself as the world’s first hydrogen-powered distributed electricity grid after investing C$13 million in what Greentech Media describes as a “mysterious hydrogen production technology” under development by Florida-based Joi Scientific.

1.4 Million Students in 128 Countries Make March 15 #schoolstrike a Global Phenomenon

More than 1.4 million students in more than 300 cities across 128 countries and all seven continents skipped classes to demand climate action at an estimated 2,229 events in more than 40 languages on Friday, March 15, as The Guardian reported that 16-year-old Youth Strike for Climate founder Greta Thunberg had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

‘Outstanding’ U.S. Appeals Court Ruling Delays Keystone XL by One Year

TransCanada Corporation’s $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline faces another year of delay after a U.S. appeal court denied its “urgent” motion, backed by Donald Trump’s state department, to lift an injunction blocking pre-construction activities.

B.C. Faces $3-Billion Tab for Inactive Oil and Gas Wells as Fracking Boom Gains Momentum

British Columbia now has more than 10,000 inactive oil and gas wells, and the cost of cleaning them up stands at C$3 billion and rising, according to a new report by the provincial auditor general that also tracked a seven-fold increase in “orphan” wells whose owners are bankrupt, insolvent, or can’t be found.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Canadians Want EVs to Replace Internal Combustion

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians and three-quarters of British Columbians would like to see electric vehicles supplant internal combustion as the mainstream choice for car buyers, according to opinion research released last week by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data.

Canadian Fossil Nets Another $90M ‘Clean’Tech Subsidy

New LNG Man Camp Opens in Kitimat

Alberta UCP Candidate Calls Climate a ‘Pretty Good Thing’ for Some People

Ottawa Decides Against Linking Officials’ Pay to Green Performance

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Transition Task Force Urges Financial, Training Support for Workers Caught in Coal Phaseout

A “pension bridging program” for workers who retire early, special provisions for employment insurance and wage top-ups, and funding for private health coverage, education, skills-building, and relocation for new employment are among the recommendations from the task force the Canadian government commissioned last year to map out a just transition for workers in the country’s coal industry.

Climate Hero Darcy Belanger, Canadian Youth Delegates Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Crash

It isn’t every day that someone sets out to build an international environmental treaty with their bare hands. That’s what Darcy Belanger, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Parvati.org, was trying to achieve when he boarded Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to attend this week’s United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Marshall: Plugging Methane Leaks Should Be a ‘No-Brainer’ for Canadian Fossils

Even if Canadian fossils are intent on obstructing even the most basic national response to climate change, the least they could do is get behind methane emission reductions that cost them less than C$10 per tonne and deliver $9 billion in economic benefits, Environmental Defence climate program manager Dale Marshall argues this week in The Hill Times.

58 Small, Mid-Sized Cities Receive Federal Staffing Grants for Climate Action

Asphalt Removal Helps ‘Soften’ Cities

Hot Garbage Grifters: SNC-Lavalin’s Plan to Turn Nuclear Waste into Long-Term Gold

If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and built…A special report by Paul McKay.

Courtenay Becomes 20th B.C. City to Send Accountability Letter to Major Fossils

British Columbia municipalities campaigning to have oil, gas, and coal companies cover their fair share of the cost of local climate impacts celebrated a milestone last week, when the City of Courtenay became the twentieth community to send accountability letters to 20 major fossils, West Coast Environmental Law reports.

Surging Canadian, U.S. Fossil Production Puts Paris Targets at Risk

Growing production in Canada and the United States has added the equivalent of another Russia or Saudi Arabia to global oil and gas markets in the last decade, pointing to a “growing disconnect” between fossil production and the urgency of the climate crisis, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told an audience in Ottawa late last month.

Impact Assessment Act Faces ‘Major Senate Surgery’ as Industry Lobby Ramps Up

Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, is “poised for major Senate surgery” as time runs out for passage of a final bill before Parliament shuts down for the federal election this fall.

MEG Energy Cancels Tar Sands/Oil Sands Expansion, Cites Line 3 Delay

Calgary-based MEG Energy Corporation is blaming a one-year delay in completing the controversial Line 3 pipeline for its decision to shut down expansion of its Christina Lake tar sands/oil sands project in northern Alberta.

Kingston Becomes First Ontario City to Declare Climate Emergency

Kingston has become the first Ontario community to declare a climate emergency, after city council adopted a resolution Tuesday “for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from climate change,” the Whig-Standard reports.

Quebec Cap-and-Trade Revenues Exceed $3 Billion as Carbon Market Withstands Ontario Withdrawal

A new infusion of C$215 million has pushed Quebec’s cumulative carbon cap-and-trade revenues above the $3 billion mark, at just the moment when Ontario has cancelled its carbon pricing program and Alberta’s Jason Kenney is vowing to do the same if he wins the provincial election later this year.

Kenney Would ‘Roll Back the Clock’, Cost Albertans More by Cancelling Solar, Wind Subsidies

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney’s pledge to phase out subsidies for solar- and wind-powered electricity would “roll back the clock” and could cost Alberta more in the long run, according to Warren Mabee, director of the Queen’s University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.

NEB Sees Oil Decline in 2019 as Allan Warns of Stranded Assets in Alberta’s Future

The National Energy Board says Canada’s oil production is set to drop this year for the first time in a decade, and economist Robyn Allan warns that’s just the start of the transition challenge facing the Alberta economy.

Confront Climate Crisis, Embrace New Energy Sources, Obama Urges in Calgary and Vancouver

Former U.S. President Barack Obama called for urgent action on climate change earlier this week in back-to-back speeches in Calgary and Vancouver.

Central Alberta Fracking Site Shuts Down After Reporting 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has ordered Calgary-based Vesta Energy Ltd. to suspend fracking activities at one of its drilling sites after a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit central Alberta early Monday morning.

Consultant Touts ‘Virtual Pipelines’ to Build Customer Base for LNG

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers are beginning to depend on “virtual pipelines” to move their product to customers located beyond their countries’ regular pipeline grid, consultant Nicholas Newman writes in industry newsletter Rigzone.

Manitoba Train Derailment Spilled One Million Litres of Crude

Alberta Appoints Whittingham to Energy Regulator

SNC-Lavalin and Trans Mountain: Two Sides of a Counterfeit Coin

In an analysis for The Energy Mix, award-winning investigative journalist Paul McKay traces the parallels between the SNC-Lavalin scandal that has transfixed Canada’s capital and the Trudeau government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline in spite of its avowed commitment to climate action. “As nature abhors a vacuum,” he writes, “democracy abhors a stacked legal deck.”

Enbridge Delays Line 3 Pipeline by One Year as State Regulatory Battle Continues

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has announced a one-year delay in completing its controversial Line 3 pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, less than a month after newly-elected Minnesota Governor Tim Walz pledged to appeal the project’s regulatory approval in his state.

Ocean Warming Leads to Declining Fish Stocks, with Developing Regions Hardest Hit

Ocean warming has delivered a significant decline in sustainable fish catches over the last century, but holding average global warming to 1.5°C would help protect future catches worth billions of dollars per year, according to two new studies.

UK Official Calls for ‘Grown-Up Conversation’ on Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground

A senior government official from the United Kingdom, one of Canada’s staunchest allies on international climate action, is calling for a grown-up conversation on the need to keep fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

Fenton: Canadian Green New Deal is NDP’s Best Shot at ‘Federal Relevance’

With a large share of Canadian voters anxious for more government action on climate change, an adapted version of the Green New Deal might be the New Democratic Party’s best hope of recovering voter support in time for this year’s federal election, 350.org organizer Cameron Fenton argues in a post for National Observer.

Future of Canadian Auto Manufacturing Hinges on Electric, Autonomous Vehicles

Governments will have to pivot their industrial development support to electric and autonomous vehicles if they want Canada to have a future as an auto manufacturer, according to an analysis released last week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Environmental Groups Fight Controversial Licence Renewal for East Coast Oil Explorer

Five environmental groups represented by Ecojustice were in court last week, trying to stop the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) from extending an offshore drilling licence for the Old Harry prospect, near the marine border between Newfoundland and Quebec.

One Company’s Orphan Wells Could Cost B.C. Taxpayers $90 Million

Toronto Heat Pump Retrofits Reduce Building Energy Consumption 32%

NDP Leader Singh Faces Demands for Tougher Climate Stance After Backing LNG Canada Megaproject

Fresh from his by-election win in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South Monday evening, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh can expect to face pressure for more robust policy on climate change after supporting the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas megaproject.

Mi’kmaq Water Protectors Headed to Court Against Gas Company Injunction

Mi’kmaq protesting a controversial project to transform underground salt caverns near Halifax into natural gas storage tanks say a recent court injunction forbidding further protests at the project site, purportedly in the name of public safety, is nothing more than a deliberate act of corporate intimidation.

Make Climate the Ballot Question in Canada’s October Election, Analyst Urges

Climate change as a ballot question could make this year’s federal election in Canada “the most important of our lives,” writes Gideon Forman, climate policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation, in a post for the Ottawa Citizen.

NEB Sidesteps ‘Significant’ Impacts, Recommends Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval

Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending federal cabinet re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite its likely “significant” environmental and climate impacts, prompting multiple Indigenous and environmental opponents to vow the project will never be completed.

Coalition Uses Saskatchewan Carbon Case to Stress Governments’ Intergenerational Duty

Saskatchewan’s long-shot effort to defeat the federal government’s floor price on carbon has turned into a venue for one intervenor to argue for Canada’s obligation to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.

Alberta Oil-By-Rail Plan Could Block Grain Shipments, Farmers Warn

Alberta grain farmers are expressing serious concern about the province’s three-year, C$3.7-billion plan to ship oil by rail.

Canada’s Forests Emit More Carbon Than They Absorb, But Ottawa Spins a Different Story

A mid-February analysis on CBC gets at one of the most persistent myths in Canadian carbon accounting—that the country’s forests absorb more carbon than they emit, or in some erroneous versions of the story, soak up so much carbon dioxide that there’s no need to worry about the rest of the country’s emissions.

Australian Grid Turns to Toronto-Based Hydrostor for Compressed Air Storage

Pro-Pipeline Convoy Delivers Toxic Mixed Message as White Nationalists Take Centre Stage

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer welcomed pro-pipeline protesters to Parliament Hill and white nationalist Faith Goldy told Indigenous protesters to go back where they came from as the United We Roll protest descended on Ottawa Tuesday and Wednesday.

NEB Rules Against Climate Impact Review for Trans Mountain Pipeline

The National Energy Board (NEB) has turned down Stand.earth’s request that it undertake a review of the climate impacts of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as it did for the equally contentious Energy East pipeline in 2017.

B.C. Budgets $902 Million to Fully Fund CleanBC Climate Plan

The British Columbia government is getting strong positive reviews for a provincial budget that allocates $902 million over three years to fully fund its CleanBC climate program.

Petro-Canada Announces Canada-Wide EV Charging Network

Petro-Canada has unveiled plans to install more than 50 electric vehicle fast-charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway between British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Alberta Spends $3.7 Billion for Three-Year Tanker Car Lease

Alberta will spend C$3.7 billion over three years to lease 4,400 tanker cars from CN and CP Rail, in order to ship up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by rail, Premier Rachel Notley announced Tuesday.

Canada’s $180-Billion in Infrastructure Investment Must Emphasize Low-Carbon Opportunities

The C$180 billion Canada is set to invest in infrastructure over the next decade represents a massive opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions, two senior policy advisors from Clean Energy Canada argue in a post last week for Policy Options.

Canadians Cite Climate as Top Global Issue, But Confusion Reigns on Impact of Human Activity

While a large proportion of Canadians identify climate change as the most important global issue, they’re still confused about whether it’s caused by human activity or natural cycles, according to the latest polling by Vancouver-based Insights West.

Steelhead LNG Pullout Leaves First Nations Proponents ‘Deeply Disappointed’

Coastal GasLink Suspends Work After Unist’ot’en Recover Ancient Artifacts at Man Camp Site

Construction of the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline was suspended late last week after members of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation found two Indigenous artifacts on the site where the company is currently building a work camp near Houston, British Columbia.

Study Reveals Unreliable, Inconsistent Assessments of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Impacts

Inconsistent science has marred the credibility of dozens of past environmental impact studies of the Alberta tar sands/oil sands, according to a new assessment published in the journal Environmental Reviews.

Métis Receive 50% Stake as Alberta Announces Three New Subsidy-Free Solar Farms

Alberta will double its solar capacity and save C$3.9 million per year after commissioning 94 megawatts of new generation under a 20-year contract with Canadian Solar Solutions and Conklin Metis Local 193, which has a 50% equity stake in the project.

IESO Transmission Request Would Boost Ontario Hydro Imports from Quebec

A request last week from the independent agency that runs Ontario’s electricity grid could open the door for the province to import inexpensive, renewable electricity from existing hydroelectric facilities in neighbouring Quebec.

Poll Shows Little Public Awareness, Balanced Perspective on Federal Impact Assessment Act

Despite a months-long effort by the fossil industry and its supporters to gin up opposition to the new federal Impact Assessment Act, pollsters say Bill C-69 has yet to emerge as a “highly controversial” national concern.

Canada Drags on Promise to Phase Out Fossil Subsidies

Ottawa is being accused of dragging its feet on its 2016 promise to phase out “inefficient” fossil subsidies by 2025, two years after then-auditor general Michael Ferguson concluded the Trudeau government had failed to identify the non-tax subsidies it actually pays out to the oil and gas industry.

Ottawa Pays Out $600M for Suncor’s Mideast Adventures

Saskatchewan Announces 23 Solar, 15 ‘Carbon-Neutral’ Fossil Projects

$7.5-Billion Atlantic LNG Project Poised for Final Decision

Ontario Introduces Carbon Tax After Railing Against Carbon Taxes

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is introducing a carbon tax on large emitters that exceed a yet-to-be-established provincial standard, after launching a lawsuit against the federal floor price on carbon and deliberately gutting the province’s most affordable pathways to a sustainable economy.

Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080

Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.

Supreme Court’s Redwater Decision Could Make Credit More Costly, Less Available for Canadian Fossils

Lenders are paying attention to the recent Supreme Court decision holding bankrupt fossils responsible for cleaning up the production sites they abandon. The result may be tougher loan terms for new oil and gas projects.

Alberta Oil Curtailment Drives Down Crude By Rail

Alberta’s plan to boost the price Canadian heavy crude by eliminating a glut via mandatory production curtailments has created an unintended consequence that has some fossils crying foul: It’s driven prices high enough to make it tougher for producers to ship oil by rail.

Suncor Shifts Fort Hills Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mine to Autonomous Trucks

More CO2 Won’t Boost Tree Growth

Stewart: CAPP is Asking Albertans to ‘Vote for Climate Destruction’

Albertans this spring and Canadians this fall should not be fooled into voting for climate destruction just because Big Oil wants them to, Greenpeace Canada Senior Energy Strategist Keith Stewart writes in an opinion piece for iPolitics.

Retired B.C. Lawyer Risks 28-Day Sentence to Invoke Necessity Defence for Pipeline Protest

A retired lawyer from Vancouver is risking a 28-day prison sentence to test the necessity defence as a legal strategy to block fossil projects that would drive up the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Health Professionals Point to Cumulative Impacts of Wildfire Smoke

Experts who attended a wildfire workshop hosted by the British Columbia Lung Association last week in Vancouver are sounding the alarm about the health threats posed by wildfire smoke.

Gap in Low-Carbon Construction Skills Costs Ontario $24.3 Billion Per Year: CaGBC

A gap in low-carbon construction skills—from construction trades to designers, architects, and engineers—is costing Ontario C$24.3 billion in annual economic activity and another $3.7 billion per year in lost tax revenue, while impairing the province’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) concluded last month.

Twitter Trolls Try to Roil Pipeline Debate, and CBC Trolls Greenpeace Canada Campaigner

Twitter trolls played a minor role in amping up public divisions on pipeline policy in January 2017, when Donald Trump signed an executive order clearing the way for construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Hydro-Québec Floats $40 Million for Maine Transmission Line

Toronto’s Annual Inventory Shows GHG Reductions, Future Challenges

Three Injured, One Critically, in Alberta Wood Pellet Plant Explosion

Trans Mountain’s Fee Plan for Fossil Customers Represents $2-Billion Taxpayer Subsidy

Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for another $2-billion fossil fuel subsidy if the National Energy Board accepts the latest request from the federal Crown corporation that now operates the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, economist Robyn Allan reports in a National Observer exposé.

Moving Energy Efficiency to the Tax Base Would Raise Ontario Power Costs, Increase Emissions, Efficiency Canada Warns

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is at risk of driving up electricity costs, stifling energy innovation, and driving up the need for peak electricity supplied by carbon-emitting natural gas plants if it follows through on a plan to fund energy efficiency programs through the tax base, rather than consumers’ power bills, Efficiency Canada warns in a new policy brief.

Lake Warming Above 1.5°C Means Less Winter Ice, More Summer Algae

The number of lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere likely to remain ice-free in winter, and correspondingly clogged with algal blooms in summer, would more than double at 2.0°C average global warming and quadruple at 3.0°C, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Ottawa-Bound Pipeline Convoy Organizers Splinter Again

Critics Scorch Ottawa City Budget for Climate Inaction

Americas Install 11.9 GW of New Wind in 2018

BC Hydro Racks Up $5.5 Billion in Future Ratepayer Costs

Developers Announce New Solar Farms in Fort Chipewyan and Calgary

Alberta has two new solar farms in its immediate future, following an announcement by First Nations and Métis in Fort Chipewyan and a planning decision this week by the City of Calgary.

Climate-Health Plan Demands Federal Action on Century’s ‘Greatest Public Health Challenge’

Five national health organizations have issued an urgent call for federal politicians of all stripes to recognize climate change as “the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century”, and to conduct themselves accordingly.

Union Pitches Postal Stations as Local Green Hubs

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is trying to sell Canada Post on a plan to connect neighbourhood post offices to a greener, more just future by expanding their services to include community banking and electric vehicle charging stations.

Suncor Loses $280M in Fourth Quarter, Blames Alberta Supply Curtailment

Notley’s Tantrums Won’t Pull Alberta Out of Fossil-Induced Slump

‘Silent Majority’ of Canadians Wants Faster Climate Action

A silent majority of Canadians wants faster government action on climate change, but that momentum has been stymied by poor communication and messaging, a University of Waterloo marketer told CBC last week.

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Edmonton Company’s New Technology Turns Windows Into Transparent Solar Panels

A company in Edmonton is working on technology to turn windows into transparent solar panels, with a boost from Alberta carbon tax revenues.

Kuwaiti Partner Funds $4.5B Propane-to-Petrochemical Plant in Alberta

BC Hydro Awarded $90M in No-Bid Contracts for Site C

Trans Mountain Expansion to Drive Up Revelstoke Gas Prices

Imperial Cuts Oil by Rail, Blames Alberta Production Curtailment

Opponents Jubilant as Port of Vancouver Cancels 2015 Coal Transfer Permit

The Port of Vancouver has cut off a potential gateway for thermal coal from the United States with a decision to cancel its permit for a coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks, following adamant opposition from residents of Surrey and New Westminster.

Supreme Court Holds Bankrupt Fossils Responsible for Cleaning Abandoned Sites

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling that holds bankrupt fossils responsible for cleaning up their abandoned oil and gas wells will produce lasting impacts across western Canada, but may not completely address the massive environmental liabilities the companies leave behind, according to initial reporting and analysis of the decision.

Ottawa May Have Paid $1 Billion Too Much in Trans Mountain Buyout, Parliamentary Budget Officer Concludes

The federal government may have paid up to C$1 billion more than it should have when it bought the Trans Mountain pipeline last year, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux concludes in a report released late last week.

Canada Falls Farther Behind Its Paris Emissions Target, with Fossils the Primary Driver

Carbon pollution from Canada’s fossil industry and some questionable assumptions about carbon credits are driving projected greenhouse gas emissions more than 100 million tonnes beyond the country’s 2030 target under the Paris Agreement, according to an analysis of the federal government’s latest emission calculations.

Oilfield Services Giant Sees Future in Renewables

The world’s third-biggest oilfield services provider is looking to expand its offerings for wind and solar energy suppliers, as it begins to contemplate a future world without hydrocarbons.

Media Take Notice as Canadian School Strikes Gain Momentum

School strikes across Canada are beginning to gather momentum and media attention, with student leaders from Vancouver, Sudbury, and Fredericton receiving weekend radio coverage and CBC Toronto documenting an event where student Zoe Keary-Matzner, 12, issued a late slip to Premier Doug Ford and an absent slip to Environment Minister Rod Phillips.

Fort McMurray Adopts 75-Kilometre Ban on Fly-In/Fly-Out Work Camps

Staring down fierce opposition from tar sands/oil sands companies, councilors from Fort McMurray and the surrounding region have voted to impose a moratorium on fly-in/fly-out work camps that critics increasingly identify as benefiting only the fossils’ bottom-line, while extracting steep costs from surrounding communities.

Climate-Driven Food Shortages Could Prompt U.S. to Annex Canada, Bill Nye Somewhat Suggests

Food shortages brought on by climate change might eventually prompt the United States to annex parts of Canada, Bill Nye the Science Guy kind of, sort of suggested in an interview last week on MSNBC.

Athabaska Chipewyan Push Back on Syncrude Expansion

Analyst Paints National Grid as ‘Clean Win’ for Canada

Saskatchewan Opens 20-MW Wind Farm

Yukon Carbon Tax to Deliver First Rebates This Fall

B.C.’s ‘Uncounted Forest Emissions’ Exceed 400 Million Tonnes Over Two Years

British Columbia’s “uncounted forest emissions” of climate-warming greenhouse gases in 2017 and 2018 were more than three times higher than the province’s emissions from all sources in 2016 and exceeded 400 million tonnes, according to an analysis released this week by Sierra Club B.C.

Halifax Declares Climate Emergency, Aims for Net Zero Carbon Before 2050

The Halifax Regional Municipality became the third major city in Canada to declare climate change an emergency, after regional council unanimously adopted a motion yesterday that gives city staff a year to come back with an updated action plan.

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EDC Withdraws Backing for Coal Projects, Continues Propping Up Oil and Gas

Export Development Canada will no longer fund new thermal coal projects, but will still support oil and gas companies looking to take on new projects in other countries.

TransCanada Tries to Offload Majority Share of Coastal GasLink Pipeline

TransCanada Corporation is trying to sell off a majority share of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the controversial, C$6.2-billion project that has faced sustained opposition from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in northwestern British Columbia.

Trans Mountain’s ‘Amateur Hour’ Work Destroys River Habitat, Endangers Salmon

Federally-owned Trans Mountain Corporation’s “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek river crossing in Chilliwack, British Columbia has destroyed habitat and will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon that are part of the diet of the endangered southern resident killer whale pod off the west coast.

Ottawa Won’t ‘Cut Corners’ on Trans Mountain Review, Sohi Says

With the National Energy Board set to report February 22 on the marine impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said last week the government won’t take any shortcuts in its review of the project—even though he understands how badly Alberta oil and gas workers want to get construction under way.

Explainer: How Arctic Warming Pushes Much of North America Into a Deep Freeze

With eastern Canada and the eastern and midwestern United States in the midst of a brutal cold snap, meteorologists are expecting the polar vortex to occur more frequently. And they’re connecting the deep freeze to Arctic warming brought on by climate change.

Zero-Emission Vehicle Program Spends Nearly Half Its Funds on Natural Gas Refueling

The program Canada has touted as fulfilling its commitment to putting more zero-emission vehicles on the road has spent nearly half its money on natural gas refueling stations, an analysis by National Observer concludes.

Ground Election Coverage in Climate Science, Not the Horserace, Adams Urges Media

With Canada’s federal election less than nine months away, veteran journalist and public opinion researcher Paul Adams is out with some advice for reporters covering the campaign, while public engagement specialist Don Lenihan questions Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans to pitch the transition to a green economy.

Calgary Indigenous Youth Summit Spotlights Renewable Energy Careers

Coastal GasLink Destroys Traplines as Federal Minister Blames Indian Act for Conflict

Construction crews working on the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline are bulldozing traplines in Wetsu’we’ten territory in northeastern British Columbia, the community is warning, in violation of the Wildlife Act and in spite of an agreement between hereditary chiefs and the RCMP that called for no interference with traplines or other traditional practices.

More Fossils Caution Fort Mac on Man Camp Restrictions

Alberta Wants $1.6B to Upgrade High-Load Road Corridor

Six Pipelines, Assorted Tax Breaks Lead Fossil Wish List as Alberta Election Approaches

Government support for six new tar sands/oil sands pipelines and four major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, along with assorted tax cuts and regulatory breaks, led the wish list the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released Tuesday in advance of the provincial election coming up in Alberta this spring.

‘Planetary Health Diet’ Would Cut Emissions, Protect Biodiversity by Halving Red Meat Consumption

The world’s first-ever science-based “planetary health diet” is calling for a “new global agricultural revolution” in which red meat and sugar consumption is cut by half, and vegetable, fruit, pulse, and nut consumption double, in order to avert 11 million deaths per year, curtail the devastating climate impacts of industrial agriculture, and protect biodiversity.

McQuaig: GM Canada Closure Should Prompt Federal Buyout, Shift to EV Production

The impending closure of the General Motors auto assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario creates an opportunity for the federal government to step in, buy the facility, and shift its production to electric vehicles, columnist Linda McQuaig argues in a recent post for the Toronto Star.

JPMorgan, Bank of Montreal Lead List of 21 Banks Backing Coastal GasLink Pipeline

JPMorgan Chase, the Bank of Montreal, Deutsche Bank, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are the four most important banks backing TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.) in its effort to build the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline, according to research released this week by the Rainforest Action Network.

Lack of Climate Disclosure Puts Canadian Pensioners, Investment Funds at Risk

Canada needs a three-year plan to mandate better disclosure of climate-related risks in corporations’ annual reports, Ottawa-based cleantech analyst Céline Bak concludes in a study released last week by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Fossil Threatens to Move Workers Out of Fort McMurray Over Restrictive Work Camp Policy

Tar sands/oil sands producers and elected councillors in Fort McMurray got into a heated debate earlier this week over a proposal to move more of the work force out of the “man camps” surrounding the community.

TBT: What If Canada Had Spent $200 Billion on Wind Instead of Fossils?

In June 2018, international environmental journalist Stephen Leahy asked a provocative question: What if Canada had invested $200 billion in wind energy over the last two decades, rather than pouring it into the tar sands/oil sands?

Albertans Paying the Price for Delinquent Oil Wells

Rossland, B.C. Commits to 100% Renewables

North Stormont Wind Farm Clears Regulatory Challenge

Toronto Stock Exchange Joins Global Green Finance Network

Include Climate Impacts in Trans Mountain Review, IPCC Authors Urge NEB

New fossil projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will make it far tougher to meet the 1.5°C global warming target that is essential for averting the worst effects of climate change, a Canadian climate scientist told the National Energy Board this week.

Steelhead LNG Proposes Fracked Gas Pipeline from Chetwynd, B.C. to Vancouver Island

The Steelhead LNG liquefied natural gas project is studying a pipeline route from Chetwynd, in northeastern British Columbia, to the Kwispaa LNG facility it plans to build on Vancouver Island.

Canadian EV Strategy Stalls Out Amid Federal-Provincial Wrangling

Ottawa’s plans for an ambitious electric vehicle strategy appear to be stalling out, months after it was supposed to be released, due to difficulties reaching agreement with provincial and territorial governments on the scope of the strategy.

Beer: If Fossils ‘Don’t Need Handouts’, Let’s Do Something About Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Federal Opposition leader Andrew Scheer’s mid-December claim on behalf of Canadian fossils that “we don’t need handouts” was a great invitation to rescind the billions of dollars in subsidies the industry happily takes from federal and provincial coffers, The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer argues in a post this week for Policy Options.

Victoria Supports Class Action Lawsuit to Hold Fossils Accountable

Victoria has become the first city in British Columbia to support a class action lawsuit calling on fossil companies to cover their fair share of the costs municipalities will incur as a result of climate change.

Fact Check: No Support from Economists for Ford’s Claim that Federal Carbon Price Will Trigger a Recession

Economists are steering clear of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s wild, apparently unsubstantiated assertion earlier this week that the federal government’s floor price on carbon will trigger a recession. And it appears that the report his office cited to back up the statement draws the opposite conclusion.

60% of Canada’s Food Production is Wasted, Leading to 56.6 Megatonnes of Emissions

Nearly 60% of all food produced in Canada each year ends up nourishing no one at all, but is instead either lost or wasted, according to a report published last week by Toronto-based Second Harvest.

CN, Alberta First Nation Plan Pilot Plant to Produce ‘Bitumen Pucks’

CN Rail and the Heart Lake First Nation northeast of Edmonton are planning to build a pilot plant this year to produce “bitumen pucks”, a solid tar sands/oil sands bitumen product that would float on water, could be delivered without pipelines or oil tankers, wouldn’t require diluent, and could increase fossil producers’ profits by C$15 per barrel.

NEB Sees ‘Hidden Potential’ in Canadian Electric Truck Market

Vancouver City Council Declares Climate Emergency, Seeks Faster Push to Net Zero Emissions

Vancouver City Council voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to declare a climate emergency and gave city staff 90 days to “come up with new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set new climate change targets,” Global News reports.

Ottawa Unlikely to Unload Trans Mountain Before Federal Election, Despite Some First Nations’ Interest

The federal government will almost certainly retain ownership of the Trans Mountain Pipeline beyond this year’s federal election, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in separate media interviews earlier this week, even with a group of First Nations expressing strong interest in bidding for the troubled project.

10 Arguments for Carbon Pricing: ‘Don’t Throw Any Tool Out of the Toolbox’

After a multi-year fight for political acceptance, carbon pricing is suddenly under attack from all sides of the political spectrum. Lyn Adamson, co-chair of Toronto-based Climate Fast and member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has 10 reasons not to abandon a key tool in the climate action toolbox.

Buck: Albertans Are Frustrated, but Pipeline Protesters Aren’t Singling Them Out

A singular focus on pipeline politics and carbon pricing may be distracting from all the other steps Canada must also take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions—but oil and gas isn’t the only focus for groups working against climate change, and no one is trying to single out or target just one Canadian province, writes Joshua Buck, Alberta climate program manager for Environmental Defence.

Mexico, Quebec Ink Power Import/Export Deal

Canada, First Nations Push Back on Trump’s Arctic Refuge Drilling Plan

The federal government, the Yukon and Northwest Territories governments, and several First Nations are pushing back on the Trump administration’s plans to open Porcupine caribou calving grounds to oil and gas drilling, in violation of international agreements set up to protect the territory.

Fishing Operators Point to Fossils’ Seismic Tests After Plankton Populations Fall 50% in Five Years

Fishing operators in Newfoundland and Labrador are urging a federal-provincial regulator to stop seismic testing by oil and gas companies off Canada’s east coast, after new federal research revealed a 50% drop in plankton populations over the last five years.

Fossil-Funded Pipeline Convoy Folds, Leaving Supremacist-Affiliated Yellow Vests in Charge

One of the two dueling convoys sending pro-pipeline protesters to Ottawa has folded. The announcement Monday by fossil-funded Canada Action leaves the route along the eastbound Trans-Canada Highway open to Yellow Vests Canada, a group that seems at least as interested in arresting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “treason” and vilifying ex-U.S. president Barack Obama and billionaire philanthropist George Soros as it is in seeing new pipelines built for the Alberta oilpatch.

Quebec’s Support for Failing Cement Plant Shows Risk for Notley in New Refinery Plan

Before Alberta Premier Rachel Notley sinks public funds into a new, multi-billion-dollar private oil refinery, she’d best read up on a cement megaproject on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula that went 40% over budget and has now become the province’s single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, veteran public affairs specialist Alan Freeman writes for iPolitics.

U.S. Refinery Issues, Not Just Pipeline Access, Drive Alberta’s Oil Price Woes: NEB

Falling Fossil Employment Drives Down Calgary Office Values

Pipeline Investment ‘Goes Palliative’ in Wake of Unist’ot’en Blockade

Two separate news outlets are declaring the end of pipeline investment in Canada, while several focus in on the differences in jurisdiction between elected and hereditary First Nations chiefs, in the wake of last week’s RCMP raid and subsequent “peaceful resolution” of the Unist’ot’en blockade along TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline in British Columbia.

Two Separate Convoys, Arrival of White Supremacists Cloud Alberta Fossils’ Pipeline Protest

The vaunted protest convoy that fossil interests in Alberta and Saskatchewan are vowing to send to Ottawa in February is still more than a month away. But organizers are already at pains to distinguish between “legitimate” (and often fossil-funded) protesters, and an upstart group modeled on the gilet jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement in France, to which a collection of anti-immigration white supremacists appear to have latched on for the ride.

Internal Combustion Growth is ‘Over’ in China, Spelling Trouble for Global Oil Markets

The rise of electric cars in China spells trouble for anyone planning to sell fossil fuels into an increasingly volatile global market, U.S.-based author and journalist Gregor Macdonald told CBC last week.

Federal Government Earmarks $25 Million for Geothermal, $10 Million for Deep Water Cooling

The federal government unveiled two new renewable energy grants last week, earmarking C$25.6 million to help develop a geothermal power plant in Estevan, Saskatchewan and $10 million for Toronto-based Enwave, North America’s biggest district energy provider.

Uxbridge Farmer Replaces Noisy, ‘Noxious’ Diesel Tractor with Electric Prototype

A farmer in Uxbridge, Ontario has traded in his old, noisy diesel tractor for one of 10 electric prototypes developed in 2018. On top of a healthier, more pleasant ride while he works, he makes money when his new 10-kilowatt solar array sells surplus power back to the provincial grid.

Ottawa, Saskatchewan Sign Equivalency Agreement for 2030 Coal Phaseout

UN Committee Calls for Halt to Site C Over Indigenous Rights

Alberta Plans New Refinery to Ease Oil Supply Glut

Hamilton Non-Profit Turns Renovations Into Jobs for Youth At Risk

‘Peaceful Resolution’ to Unist’ot’en Blockade Allows Access, Not Construction, Chiefs Say

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation blocking access to TransCanada’s hotly-contested Coastal GasLink pipeline construction site have agreed to allow the company’s workers access through the Unist’ot’en protest camp near Houston, British Columbia, after the Nation’s five hereditary chiefs negotiated a deal to prevent a second RCMP raid on their territory.

Canada Finally Joins International Renewable Energy Agency

Canada has finally joined the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), bringing an end to discussions that have been under way at least since early 2017.

2017 B.C. Wildfires Were Seven to 11 Times Worse Due to Human Climate Influence

Climate change was a factor in the wildfires that swept through 12 million hectares of southern British Columbia in 2017, and will likely make future outbreaks more common, according to a study published late last year in the American Geophysical Union’s Earth’s Future journal.

TransCanada Plans June Construction Start for Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada Corporation is hoping to start construction on the Keystone XL pipeline in June, with the aim of bringing it online in early 2021.

Future-Proof B.C. LNG with Hydrogen, Consultant Urges

Negotiations Seek ‘Peaceful Solution’ at Unist’ot’en After RCMP Arrest 14 Blocking Coastal GasLink Pipeline

Negotiations were under way between RCMP and hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation Tuesday night, aimed at finding a “peaceful solution” to a standoff that led to 14 arrests when police dismantled the first of two checkpoints set up to stop TransCanada Corporation’s Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.

Scheer Walks Back Commitment to Canada’s Paris Agreement Target

Federal Opposition leader Andrew Scheer has shifted his position on implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, backing away from an earlier commitment to unveil an environment plan that includes steps to meet Canada’s targets under the global deal.

Ontario Climate Plan Undercuts Cities’ GHG Reduction Efforts, Fails on Green Jobs

The Ontario government’s new climate change plan undercuts cities’ ability to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while failing to set the stage for a green jobs strategy for Canada’s biggest province and industrial heartland, according to separate posts last month by Julia Langer of The Atmospheric Fund and Liliana Camacho of Toronto-based Horizon Advisors.

Vancouver Island Losing Rainforest Faster Than Amazon

Canadian Fossils Plan New Coalition to Build ‘Compelling’ Narrative for LNG Development

A new fossil coalition is forming up to build a “compelling” narrative for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Canada, and industry publication JWN Energy is right in the thick of the organizing effort.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraction_of_petroleum

Calgary Artist Sets Up ‘Adoption Agency’ for Abandoned Oil Wells

In an incredible show of generosity to start the year, a Calgary-based artist has launched a non-profit adoption agency to help out the thousands of “orphaned” oil wells that litter the Alberta landscape.

Nobody Hurt, Operations Suspended in Donkin Coal Mine Collapse

Vancouver Passive House Sets New Green Standard, Cat Door Included

LNG Canada Megaproject Leaves Massive Emissions Gap in B.C. Climate Plan

The positive directions in British Columbia’s new climate plan will be offset by the greenhouse gas emissions from the C$40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas megaproject, particularly if both phases of the project are built, data analyst Barry Saxifrage concludes in a post for National Observer.

Cut Red Tape, Make Rooftop Panels the Cheapest Power Source, Solar Industry Urges Ontario

The Canadian solar industry is urging the Ontario government to trim or eliminate red tape that is driving up the cost of connecting rooftop panels to the electricity grid.

Western Canadian Glaciers Could Decline 80% in the Next 50 Years

Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon could lose up to 80% of their mountain glaciers over the next half-century, as rapid warming brings a combination of less snow and accelerated melting, according to one of the two lead authors behind Canada’s first-ever State of the Mountains report.

Vipond and Keough: Alberta Can’t Win by Postponing the Transition Off Carbon

With climate change setting the house on fire (literally or metaphorically), it’s in Alberta’s best interest not to demand more lighters, Calgary emergency physician Joe Vipond and sustainable design professor Noel Keough argue in a year-end opinion piece for the Calgary Herald.

Canadian Defence Chief Cites Natural Disasters as Major Security Threat

The increased frequency of major natural disasters is one of the biggest security threats Canada will face in 2019, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance told Global News in a year-end interview.

Alberta MP Accused of Misleading Grade 7/8 Students on Climate Science

North Van Mandates EV Charging for All New Home Parking Spots

U Waterloo Scientist Touts CO2-Absorbing Material to Cut Power Plant Emissions

Alberta Pans New $1.65-Billion Fossil Lifeline from Ottawa

Provincial politicians and fossil lobbyists are panning the federal government’s latest concession to Alberta oil and gas producers, after Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr announced C$1.6 billion in industry support at an event in Edmonton yesterday.

Alberta Procures 760 MW of Wind in Five New Projects, Three with First Nations

Alberta is procuring 760 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes, and creating an estimated 1,000 jobs by investing C$1.2 billion in five new green energy partnerships, three of them involving First Nations.

Don’t Make Carbon Tax a ‘Political Bargaining Chip’, Chamber of Commerce Urges

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has endorsed revenue-neutral carbon pricing as a way for the business community to “play its part in the fight against climate change,” and is expressing concern about the policy being used as a “political bargaining chip,” CBC reports.

Jaccard: Carbon Taxes are ‘Good Policy, Bad Politics’ When Regulations Do Most of the Work

One of Canada’s leading climate economists and modelers is out with a Globe and Mail opinion piece that questions the decades-old narrative that positions carbon pricing as the cornerstone for effective climate policy.

International Climate Action Must Include Limits on Fossil Fuel Supply

Constraints on fossil fuel supplies are needed alongside effort to reduce demand if the countries that participated in COP 24 earlier this month hope to gain control of the climate crisis, geographers Philippe Le Billon of the University of British Columbia and Berit Kristoffersen of Arctic University of Norway write for Policy Options.

Western Canadian Oil Price Rally Unlikely to Last

Ontario Doesn’t Inspect Pipelines, Prompting Auditor General Risk Warning

The Hard Work Starts Now as COP Delivers Incomplete Rule Book, Low Ambition

After two weeks of marathon negotiations ended with a deeply equivocal, incremental response to the global climate crisis, COP 24 in Katowice, Poland ended where it began: with a wide spectrum of delegates and other climate specialists declaring that the hard work begins now.

Global Wind Industry on Track to Grow 680 Gigawatts Over 10 Years

The global wind industry is on track to deliver more than 680 gigawatts (680 billion watts) of new capacity over the next decade, according to two recent reports by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Alberta Fossils Boycott Whistler Conference After City Flags Climate Costs of Fossil Extraction

Several Alberta fossils are boycotting a CIBC investor conference in Whistler, British Columbia, and the bank is considering moving its annual event elsewhere, after Mayor Jack Crompton asked Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to commit to pay for its “fair share of the costs of climate change being experienced” by the weather-dependent ski resort town.

CNRL Aims to Cut Costs with Driverless Truck Field Test

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) will spend C$75 million by late 2020 to field test driverless haulers at its Jackpine tar sands/oil sands mine in northern Alberta, Chief Operating Officer, Oilsands Scott Stauth told investors earlier this month.

Most Canadian Cities Have Failed to Assess Climate Risk, Study Shows

Most Canadian cities have failed to assess the threats they’ll face as climate change makes weather disasters more frequent and severe, according to a new study in the journal Climatic Change.

CBC Reveals Three Construction Fires at Parry Sound-Area Wind Farm Site

Gender Equality Puts Climate Objectives Alongside Development Goals

Tuesday, December 11 was Gender Day at COP 24, a chance to underscore what gender equality means for effective climate action, and to identify what more can be done to unleash the power of half the world’s population.

Rising Fossil Emissions, Continuing Subsidies Undercut Canada’s Climate Performance

Canada’s lavish support for the oil and gas industry is the “elephant in the room” that prevents it from being a true climate leader, Environmental Defence National Program Manager Dale Marshall said this week in Katowice, during the release of a report on Canadian fossil subsidies produced by Environmental Defence and Stand.earth.

Foundations, C40 Cities to Help Montreal Deliver on 2050 Carbon Neutral Target

The David Suzuki Foundation, C40 Cities, and the Trottier Family Foundation have formed a two-year partnership with Montreal to help it meet Mayor Valérie Plante’s goal of making the city carbon neutral by 2050.

Canada Sets Coal Phaseout Rules with Relaxed Emissions Target for Coal-to-Gas Conversions

Canada has published a set of regulations that largely eliminate coal-fired power generation by 2030 and have received praise from the Pembina Institute as “a historic step in protecting public health and sending a signal for clean energy investments”.

Warming Boosts Landslide Risk on B.C.’s Mount Meagher

CaGBC Celebrates Canada’s First Certified Zero-Carbon Commercial Building

Community Ownership Reduces Backlash Against Wind

Grand Forks, B.C. Prepares for Winter After Epic Flooding

Greta Thunberg Brings School Strike to COP 24, Inspires Action from Canada to Australia

The founder of Sweden’s Skolstrejk för klimatet (School Strike for the Climate), 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, is rapidly emerging as one of the most memorable faces and voices of this year’s United Nations climate conference, just months after launching a protest against her government’s lax response to the climate crisis.

B.C. Climate Plan Lays Out Rapid Shift from Fossil Energy to Electricity

Higher carbon prices and measures to shift individuals and industry off fossil fuels are key pillars of CleanBC, the new climate action plan unveiled last week by the provincial government in British Columbia.

Ottawa Set to Lose Money on Trans Mountain Purchase as Morneau Accused of Obscuring Costs

Canada’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan Ltd. may be costing taxpayers more in interest charges than the high-touted revenue it receives from existing pipeline operations, according to an exposé last week by National Observer.

Canadian Governments Introduce Four New Fossil Subsidies on Eve of UN Climate Conference

Just a week before delegates gathered in Katowice, Poland for this year’s United Nations climate change conference, Canadian governments introduced four generous new subsidies for the country’s oil and gas industry, writes Patrick DeRochie, program manager, climate and energy at Toronto-based Environmental Defence.

Ontario Receives Failing Grades for Climate Plan, Misses Business Case for Environmental Commissioner’s Office

The Doug Ford government is receiving failing grades for the scantly-detailed climate plan released late last month by Environment Minister Rod Phillips, while a former senior official argues a strong business case for the Office of the Environmental Commissioner (OCE) after Team Ford decided to shut the office down.

Montana Judge’s Keystone XL Ruling Triggers New State Department Review

The U.S. State Department is undertaking a new review of the Keystone XL pipeline, virtually dashing TransCanada Corporation’s hopes of beginning construction on the US$8-billion megaproject in February.

B.C. First Nations Urge Coastal Tanker Ban

B.C. Regulator Halts Fracking to Investigate Northeastern Earthquakes

Thousands March in Montreal Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

New Quebec-New York City Power Line to Start Construction in 2020

BREAKING: Canada Commits to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts in 2020

Canada will adopt tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets when the Paris Agreement takes effect in 2020, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said yesterday, just days before her departure for this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice.

Trudeau Defends Pipeline Decision, Lectures Project Opponent at AFN Chiefs’ Assembly

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lectured a Trans Mountain pipeline opponent on respect and “process” yesterday, in an unscripted exchange during the Assembly of First Nations special chiefs’ assembly in Ottawa.

Reguly: Trudeau Wins ‘Hypocrisy Sweepstakes’ for Supporting Fossils After Signing Paris

Globe and Mail European Bureau Chief Eric Reguly is branding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a winner in the climate hypocrisy sweepstakes, in a blistering opinion piece that puts the PM’s climate advocacy side by side with his government’s full-scale support for bitumen pipelines and liquefied natural gas megaprojects.

Today’s King Tides Could Become Vancouver’s ‘High Tide of 2050’

Parts of Vancouver’s iconic sea wall were temporary submerged last Thursday, after a king tide raised False Creek water levels 50 centimetres above normal. For city sustainability specialist Angela Danyluk, the moment was a sign of things to come.

IEEFA Sees Failure in Four North American CCS Projects

There’s no sign that the North American fossil industries’ attempts to develop viable carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology are paying off, and less justification than ever to keep up the effort, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a report released last month.

Climate Emergency, Community Devastation ‘Redefine the Politics’ as COP 24 Begins

The annual United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) got under way yesterday in Katowice, Poland, amid urgent calls for action in response to a year of back-to-back climate emergencies and repeat warnings that the window of opportunity for pathways to 1.5°C average global warming is just a dozen years from closing.

Squamish Nation, Woodfibre LNG Sign $1.1-Billion Impact Benefit Agreement

The Squamish Nation in British Columbia is signing a C$1.1-billion impact benefit agreement with the Woodfibre LNG liquefied natural project, following what the Squamish Chief describes as a “tight 8-6 decision” in favour of the deal.

Notley Announces Mandatory Production Cuts to Drive Up Alberta Oil Price

Alberta will mandate an 8.7% reduction in oil production volumes, or 325,000 barrels per day, in the hope of driving up the price of the crude oil and tar sands/oil sands bitumen it sells into world markets, Premier Rachel Notley announced late Sunday.

One-Third of Canadians Still Question Human Role in Climate Change

One-third of Canadians still question whether climate change is caused by human activity, even though nearly two-thirds of United States Republicans now acknowledge that climate change is taking place, according to two recent polls released by the Angus Reid Institute in Canada and Monmouth University in the U.S.

Brooks: Canada Must Plan for Oil and Gas Exit Rather Than ‘Urging Companies Onward’

Canada urgently needs an exit strategy from oil and gas, rather than allowing the industry and its massive environmental liabilities to continue growing, Environmental Defence Programs Director Keith Brooks argues in a Globe and Mail opinion piece.

Fort St. John-Area Earthquake ‘Very Likely’ Caused by Fracking

Northern B.C. Pipeliner Files Injunction Against Indigenous Protesters

CAPP Sees Fossil Development in Tandem with Indigenous Reconciliation

Public Housing Upgrades Cut Energy Bills, Pollution

Ontario Opts for Higher Carbon Emissions, Offers ‘Scant Details’ on New Climate Plan

The Doug Ford government set out a new carbon reduction target for Ontario that is 30 million tonnes less stringent than the one it replaces, with yesterday’s release of a climate plan that critics say is short on detail and only commits to an 8% emissions cut over the next 12 years—the time span still available for humanity to set plans in motion to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.

Climate Health Impacts Kill 2.1 Million World-Wide, 7,142 in Canada in 2017

Chronic exposure to the air pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions kills 2.1 million people world-wide and 7,142 in Canada per year, according to the second edition of an annual countdown on climate change and health produced by The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.

GM Plant Closure Shows Industry Transition Catching Canada, Ontario Flat-Footed

The more than 2,500 workers at General Motors’ 65-year-old auto assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario were among the casualties earlier this week when the company announced it was cutting 15% of its salaried work force and closing five plants across Canada and the United States, plus two more overseas to be named later. But the broader coverage pointed to a growing industry transformation that seems to have caught both Canada and Ontario flat-footed.

Dubitsky: Lost Opportunities Show Cost of Canada’s Moribund Cleantech Manufacturing Strategy

While General Motors is tying its decision to close its Oshawa, Ontario manufacturing facility to the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles, GM is not the only casualty of Canada’s inaction on clean transportation policy.

B.C. to Argue for Shared Federal-Provincial Role in Ontario, Saskatchewan Carbon Lawsuits

British Columbia is intervening in two separate court cases launched by Saskatchewan and Ontario, both aiming to undercut federal authority to establish a floor price on carbon pollution.

NEB’s ‘Redo’ Could Land Trans Mountain Project Back in Court

The National Energy Board’s “redo” of its failed review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is taking on the same look and feel as the process that drove the Federal Court of Appeal to shut down construction on the controversial project, writes attorney Eugene Kung argues in a post for National Observer.

SeaRose Oil Platform Still Not Stabilized as Biologists Warn of Wider Wildlife Impacts

Nearly two weeks after Husky Energy’s SeaRose offshore oil platform spilled 250,000 litres of crude oil into the Atlantic Ocean, about 350 kilometres off St. John’s, Newfoundland, the company still can’t guarantee that more oil won’t leak out—and biologists say the worst may still be ahead for nearby bird species.

Quebec May Miss GHG Reduction Target, Legault Warns

New Markham Development Uses Ground-Source Heat Pumps in All 300 Homes

Quebec Youth Launch Class Action Lawsuit Against Canada’s ‘Inadequate’ Climate Plan

A group of five youth and young adults led by Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) has applied to the Superior Court of Québec for leave to launch a class action lawsuit against the Canadian government, challenging the country’s limited response to climate change on behalf of all Quebeckers aged 35 and under.

Fossil Advocate Advises Industry to Declare ‘National No-Hydrocarbon Day’ Next July 1

In what reads like an overheated Atlas Shrugged moment, a fossil advocate is advising the Canadian oilpatch to “take a page from the CUPW playbook” and declare a rotating strike to get fast attention from the federal government.

Wider Emissions Gap Shows ‘Countries Are Not Doing Enough’, UN Agency Reports

The gap between countries’ greenhouse gas reduction plans and their promises under the Paris Agreement is even wider than previously believed, according to a major report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ahead of the annual UN climate conference opening next week in Katowice, Poland.

May Proposes All-Party ‘War Cabinet’ to Address Climate Crisis

Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to set up an all-party “war cabinet” to address the “ultimate existential threat” of climate change.

National Securities Regulator Would Improve Canada’s Climate Risk Disclosure

A Supreme Court decision earlier this month could open the door for a more unified approach to sustainable finance and low-carbon growth, by allowing Canada to set up a single, national regulator for publicly-traded securities.

Holthaus Urges ‘Global Endangered Species Act on Steroids’ to Protect World’s Wildlife

In the wake of the “gut punch” of a report last month by World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) that confirmed a shocking acceleration in the rate of wildlife extinction globally since 1970, veteran meteorologist and Grist climate columnist Eric Holthaus is arguing that legislation has been—and needs urgently to remain—a powerful shield for the Earth’s non-human inhabitants.

Fossil Activity Undercuts Canada’s Marine Protection Strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Climate Panel to Seek Practical Steps to Meet, Possibly Exceed Canada’s 2030 Target

Proven, practical measures to reach or even push beyond Canada’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets will be the focus for the federal government’s new climate change advisory panel, co-chair Steven Guilbeault told The Energy Mix in an exclusive interview Sunday.

Indigenous Opposition Blocks TransCanada Gas Line in Mexico

Indigenous opposition has put at least a temporary hold on a TransCanada Corporation gas pipeline from Texas to central and western Mexico, just a couple of years after the Calgary-based pipeliner made it clear it planned to expand its operations in Mexico in the face of regulatory action and community pushback at home.

Alberta Needs a Plan B Before Fossil Economy Collapses, Globe and Mail Columnist Warns

Alberta’s lack of a Plan B to prepare for the looming collapse of the fossil fuel economy received a stern response last week from Globe and Mail national affairs columnist Gary Mason.

Ontario Taps the Brakes on High-Speed Rail Plan

The new Ontario government is taking a second look at a plan to build a multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail corridor that would connect Toronto to London by 2025 and Windsor by 2031.

Alberta Fracking Operations Encroach on B.C. Farmland

Alberta Carbon Levy Pays for $200M in Small Renewables Projects

New Data Show Quebec No Longer Dependent on Saudi Oil

Seabirds Face ‘Agonizing Death’ as Newfoundland Offshore Oil Spill Becomes Impossible to Clean

Newfoundland and Labrador has no hope of cleaning up from its worst-ever oil spill, after stormy waters off the east coast broke up at least two ocean oil sheens to the point that 250,000 litres of toxic material can no longer be recovered.

B.C. Introduces 2040 Deadline for 100% ZEVs, but National Mandate Still Lacking

British Columbia has announced a 2040 deadline for all new cars and trucks sold in the province to be zero-emission, but the overall impact of the province’s move may be limited by the lack of a national electric vehicle mandate.

Ontario Prepares New Climate Plan Based on Australia’s Failed Emissions Fund

Although the announcement isn’t due for another week or more, the Ontario government is coming under fire for considering a new climate plan based on a failed policy experiment in Australia, even as it continues to take heat for gutting a past program that was working just fine.

200 MNAs and Past Candidates, Massive Petition Response Press Quebec Government for Climate Action

While newly-elected Premier François Legault muses about offering “the deal of the century” to neighbouring provinces and states interested in buying some of Quebec’s surplus electricity, his Coalition Avenir Québec government is facing extraordinary pressure to deliver on an ambitious plan to tackle climate change.