SNAPSHOT: Sub-National Governments, Cities Step Up on Climate Action


Sub-national and municipal governments continued to take an outsized role in 2018 in setting ambitious targets to reduce carbon pollution and drive a transition to renewable energy.

The year saw some acknowledgement that cities, regions, and private businesses won’t be able to drive the transition far enough, fast enough to avert the worst effects of climate change without renewed ambition at the national level. But more than 3,000 U.S. cities, states, businesses, investors, counties, regional associations, faith communities, and post-secondary institutions were still on track to meet 65% to 85% of the United States’ emissions target under the Paris Agreement, and decision makers in North America, Europe, and elsewhere saw lots of opportunities for leadership from the levels of government that are closest to citizens’ everyday lives.

California continued to position itself as a carbon-reduction leader at the state level, hosting a mid-September Global Climate Action Summit that produced a flurry of low-carbon announcements from participants. In August, the state had published an alarming climate impact assessment that pointed to apocalyptic threats ahead in a high-carbon future—and those projections were quickly made obsolete when the Camp Fire, California’s worst wildfire ever, killed at least 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes just three months later. At the conference, Governor Jerry Brown renewed his pledge to “launch our own damn satellite” if the U.S. government didn’t step up and show climate leadership. At the same time, he drew sharp criticism for his refusal to plan an orderly phaseout for his own state’s oil industry, the second-largest in America after Texas’. After California adopted a 2045 deadline to convert its electricity system to 100% renewable energy, supported by an expanded electric vehicle mandate, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy cautioned that the target would be attainable only with an aggressive effort to curb demand.

Colorado set an example for other U.S. states with its low-income solar program, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper set a 2025 deadline to cut his state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, and 14 states set up a court battle with Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency over methane control regulations. Citizens seized power over the energy agenda with more than five dozen ballot initiatives in 24 states, though fossils won in Colorado, Washington state, and Arizona when they opened up their massive coffers for the fight. A community network in Catalonia, Spain, pushed for regional energy sovereignty, while U.S. utilities and global fossils tried to fight public opinion and slow down the transition to 100% renewable energy. A U.S. appeals court decision in support of a nuclear subsidy in Illinois set a precedent that could help state renewables programs.

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Dianne Saxe, an independent officer of the provincial legislature, advised Doug Ford’s new government that it was obliged to spend C$1 billion in carbon cap-and-trade revenue on climate solutions, even as Ford moved to shut down the province’s cap-and-trade and climate programs. Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli tabled legislation a month later to shut down Saxe’s office and two other independent accountability offices in an ironically titled Plan for the People. In Montreal, 50,000 people marched to demand climate action from the new Coalition Avenir Québec government; and sustainable energy veteran Guy Dauncey critiqued British Columbia’s “timid” plans for climate action.

Municipalities embraced a suite of climate solutions against a backdrop of mounting climate impacts. Researchers pointed to more severe climate impacts ahead for European cities, C40 Cities said everyday consumer goods were driving up municipalities’ carbon footprints by 60%, U.S. cities and states were warned that their bond ratings would take a dive if they failed to address the climate risks they face, and a tornado turned a beloved, wooded neighbourhood in Ottawa into a logging camp.

But C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute also reported that communities could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally.” The mayors of London and New York City urged cities around the world to dump their fossil fuel investments, while UN climate secretary Patricia Espinosa joined C40 Cities Chair and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in a call for ramped-up climate action. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, co-chair of the 400-member Climate Mayors network, invited his counterparts in other U.S. cities to share their energy demand data and eventually pool their requests for project estimates from renewable energy developers as a cost-saving measure. The world’s wealthiest cities were told they hold the key to fast, effective climate action, and a court ordered German municipalities to consider banning the highest-polluting diesel vehicles from their streets. Hamburg was considering doing just that, and Reuters reported that “the court said Stuttgart, which styles itself the birthplace of the modern automobile and is home to Mercedes-maker Daimler, should consider gradually imposing a year-round ban for older diesel models, while Düsseldorf should also think about curbs.”

Nineteen cities with a combined population of 130 million, including Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, promised that all new buildings under their jurisdiction would be net-zero carbon by 2030. Planting 20% more urban trees had the potential to boost well-being and add $500 million to the value of the world’s megacities. More than 100 cities were already sourcing at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017; San Diego created a new public power company with a 2035 deadline to hit 100% renewable energy; and Orlando, Florida, recognized coal generation as a key challenge in its push toward 100% renewable energy. Edmonton set a 2030 deadline to convert its corporate operations to 100% renewable energy after hearing the Republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas, extol the benefits of the off-carbon transition; and Calgary allowed homeowners to finance energy retrofits through their property taxes. Regina city council unanimously adopted a 2050 deadline for 100% renewable energy, and a Guelph University urban specialist said cities need practical programs more than earnest, 100% goals. More Canadian communities were adopting development strategies that support urban transit, and Project Drawdown reported that cities could eliminate 2.92 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2050 by making their neighbourhoods more walkable.


Coloradans Urge Canadian Pension Holders to Stop Investing in Denver-Based Fracking Company [Video]

With the Canada Pension Plan’s biannual public meetings under way this week, people from across Colorado have put together a series of video messages asking Canadian pension holders to stop funding fossil fuel companies—particularly Denver-based Crestone Peak Resources, a company 95% owned by the CPP.

Federal Nuclear Funding Announcement a ‘Dirty, Dangerous Distraction’, 30 Groups Warn

A collection of 30 local, regional, and national public interest organizations from across the country is rallying against next-generation nuclear power development after the federal government announced a C$20-million infusion for the industry tied to its 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Inventor Combines Physics with Ancient Knowledge to Create Fuel-Free Cooling System

A fundamental law of physics coupled with 21st-century nanotechnology has yielded a product that could significantly reduce the emissions generated by the world’s 3.5 billion-plus air conditioners and refrigerators—at low cost.

Labrador-Quebec Caribou Herd Shows First Population Increase in 25 Years

Ontario Set for New Conservation/Demand Management Framework in 2021

Whitby Adopts New Green Growth Standard

Comox, B.C. Gets First Home Built to Passive House Standard

Illinois Utility Looks to Early Retirement for Four Money-Losing Nuclear Plants

Maine Turns to Solar to Meet Energy Transition Goals

Climate Change Since 2000 Will Harm U.S. Economy Through 2050

Boston Invites Bids on Urban Forest Plan

IEEFA Sees Wind-Solar Hybrids Driving Renewables Growth in India

Construction Begins on Mekong River Delta Wind Project

Homeowners Fret about High Cost of EU ‘Renovation Wave’

Drop Tactics that ‘Disturb Innocent People’, Attenborough Urges XR

New Fossil Investment in Alberta Depends on Environmental Action, Kenney Proclaims

In what CBC is calling “a major shift in tone for the Alberta premier”, Jason Kenney is saying Alberta fossils’ access to new project investment will depend on environmental action from industry and government.

Building Retrofits, Clean Transportation Lead Green Budget Coalition’s 2020 Recommendations

The Green Budget Coalition is calling on the Trudeau government to include C$10 billion for building energy retrofits, $4.8 billion for clean transportation, $4.8 billion for protected areas, and $2.6 billion for nature-based climate solutions in its 2020 budget.

Horgan Takes Fire for Boosting Fossil Subsidies as B.C. Election Nears [Sign-On]

With British Columbia five days away from a provincial election October 24, and mail-in voting already well under way, Premier John Horgan’s New Democrats are taking fire for doubling down on the subsidies the previous Liberal government had extended to the province’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

New York Looks to Replace Six Gas Peaker Plants, Brings Environmental Justice Groups Into the Process

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is considering replacing six gas-fired peak power plants in the New York City area with battery storage and other advanced energy options, and promised last week to plan the transition in partnership with environmental justice groups.

Western Australia Greets 26-GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub as Job Creator, ‘Major Contributor’ to Carbon Reductions

The state government in Western Australia has issued planning approvals for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a vast solar, wind, and green hydrogen production complex whose backers have increased their long-term production target to 26 gigawatts.

Physicians Urge B.C. to Shift from Gas to Electric Appliances

Worst Drought Since 2013 Spans 45% of Lower 48 U.S. States

GE Pledges Carbon-Neutral Operations by 2030

Pop-Up Bike Lanes Spark Controversy in Berlin

Canada’s Building Codes Fall Short of Net Zero-Ready Goal

Edmonton Utility Pushes Solar Project Over First Nations’, Green Groups’ Objections

Indiana Poll Shows ‘Even Republicans’ Put Environment Over Economy

Microgrids Could Step Up as Wildfires Cut California Solar Output

U.S. Communities Pay Higher Prices for Long-Term Coal, Hydroelectric Projects

Solar, Wind Exceed 50% of Australia’s Electricity Supply Despite Coal-Obsessed Government

Climate Impacts, Violence Could Displace 15 Million This Year

Meteorologists Warn Germany to Prepare for More Frequent, Intense Storms

New ‘Solar Skin’ Could Power Headphones

Navajo Ranchers Endure in the Face of Relentless Drought

Navajo Nation ranchers in the southwestern United States are holding resolute in their work despite two decades of drought, centuries of abused or broken water rights, and, now, grief over loved ones lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pandemic Produces Biggest Emissions Drop Ever in First Half of 2020

Keystone XL Brings ‘Mini-Boom’ to Oyen, Alberta

Alberta Will Make Good on $1.5 Billion in Green Line LRT Funding

Nunavut Hamlet Gets Approval for Solar Array to Run Community Freezer

NS Plans Climate Resilience Review for Public Housing Units

7,332 U.S. Schools Install Solar, Mostly with Third-Party Funding

U.S. Regulator Breaks 40-Year Precedent on Small-Scale Solar

Illinois Startup Raises $90M for Solar-Electric Kits for Sub-Saharan Africa

German Greens Call for End to New Highway Construction

Sea Level Rise Could Claim 40% of O’ahu Beaches by 2050

Wildfire Specialists Cast Community Destruction as Home Ignition Problem

Homeowners in Coal-Obsessed Australia Embrace Rooftop Solar

Daimler’s Long-Haul Hydrogen Truck to Start Customer Trials in 2023

Small, Mid-Sized Fossils May Face Cash Crunch as Bankers Get Jittery

November may be emerging as a crunch month for Canada’s small and mid-sized fossil producers, as banks go through a semi-annual review of whether their borrowers’ financial health and future prospects justify the level of operating loans they depend on—particularly with a second wave of the pandemic gaining momentum.

Air Pollution ‘Nanoparticles’ Linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

New research is showing a link between pollution “nanoparticles” and the forms of molecular damage that are hallmarks of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While causality has yet to be confirmed, experts are sounding the alarm, given that polluted air is a day-to-day reality for 90% of the world’s population.

Hurricane Delta Hits Louisiana Just Six Weeks After Hurricane Laura’s Devastation

Hurricane Delta tore into a part of Louisiana that was still recovering from Hurricane Laura just six weeks earlier, landing as a Category 2 storm that flooded hundreds of buildings that had already been damaged by the previous Category 4 disaster.

Sacramento Utility Moves to Measure Energy Efficiency by Avoided Carbon Emissions

The publicly-owned utility in the California capital of Sacramento is shifting the focus of its energy efficiency programs by adopting a metric that emphasizes the carbon dioxide emissions the programs avoid, rather than the electricity consumption they eliminate.

Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ Gets ‘Shorter and Narrower’ as Corona Drives Down Demand

Natural gas is quickly declining as a supposed “bridge” between coal-fired electricity and renewable energy, without even factoring in the climate-busting methane emissions that come along with natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Canada’s First Net-Zero Church and Social Housing Complex

This community story was originally posted in text and video by Charged Up, a David Suzuki Foundation program on empowering communities across Canada with renewable energy.

VW Canada Plans All-Electric SUV for Mid-2021

Walmart Canada Triples Order for Tesla Electric Semis

Zinc-Air Battery Designer Wins U.S. Innovation Award

$100B in Stimulus to Advanced Energy Would Bring California $700B in Benefits

UK Wind Farm Expansion Could Power a Million Homes

Montana Coal Production Drops 21% Since 2019

Canada’s Plastics Reduction Plan Earns Praise, Criticism

The Canadian government’s declared intent to ban certain single-use plastics and start leading on recycled content standards and extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs has met with backlash, praise, and demands that more be done.

Federal, Ontario Governments Announce $590 Million for Ford’s Oakville EV Plant

The federal and Ontario governments will each invest C$295 million to help Ford Motor Co. retool its assembly plant in Oakville to make electric vehicles.

Job Losses Hit Newfoundland as Three Fossils Announce Shutdowns

Newfoundland and Labrador is reeling from a series of fossil job losses this week, with three different companies all announcing definite or likely cuts.

Analysis: Alberta Natural Gas Plan Has Kenney Venturing Boldly Backwards

The Jason Kenney government in Alberta is pitching hydrogen, plastics recycling, and even geothermal energy as elements of an economic diversification strategy that leans heavily on natural gas to create tens of thousands of jobs and reboot the province’s sagging economy.

IMF Urges Governments to Spend Big on Green Recovery as Businesses Press G20 on Climate

The International Monetary Fund is calling on member governments to spend big and create millions of jobs with long-term infrastructure projects, particularly green infrastructure, even as many of the world’s leading businesses urge the G20 countries to step up in response to the climate crisis.

‘Silver Bullet’ Hopes Shouldn’t Distract from Today’s Renewable Energy Solutions, Experts Say

Faced with a massive wave of hype for a new generation of “silver bullet” climate solutions, from green hydrogen to carbon capture to (relatively) small nuclear reactors, experts are pointing back to the established technologies that can already deliver on a decarbonization agenda while bringing solid financial returns to investors.

Batteries Reach Tipping Point, Usurp Gas

Pieridae Signs Up Engineering Firm for Goldboro LNG Export Project

Clean Energy Canada Lays Out Arguments for ZEV Mandate

Ottawa Funds Five Green Energy Projects in Yukon

Toronto Firm Touts Design for 105-Storey, Net-Zero Hybrid Mass Timber Building

Climate Brings Coastal Problems to U.S. Side of Lake Ontario

Mississippi, Tennessee Haggle Over Aquifer as Water Levels Drop

Pakistan Largely Ignores ‘Ferocious, Imminent’ Dangers of Climate Change

Europe’s Rail System May Be ‘Unfit for Climate Fight’

Energy-Efficient Buildings in UK Will Need ‘Retrofit Army’

Innu Nation Files $4-Billion Compensation Claim for Churchill Falls Hydropower Project

The Innu Nation of Labrador has filed a C$4-billion court claim against Hydro-Québec and Churchill Falls Corporation, saying their culture and way of life have been devastated by construction of the 5,428-megawatt Churchill Falls hydropower project beginning in 1967.

No-Strings Federal Bailout for Newfoundland Fossils Followed Rushed, Incomplete Impact Assessment

Three leading environmental organizations are criticizing Ottawa’s decision to hand over C$320 million to the offshore oil sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, after a federal science review found fault with a new regulation that permits new exploratory drilling projects without further environmental assessment or public input.

Ontario’s Gain from Low-Carbon Energy Could Drive a Wedge Between Ford, Kenney

The economic advantages of renewable energy, accentuated by new federal incentives for low-carbon investment, may be driving a wedge between kindred conservative governments in Ontario and Alberta.

TD Bank Subsidiary Launches Canada’s Biggest Grid Storage Project in Alberta

A Toronto-Dominion Bank subsidiary is planning a 60-megawatt battery storage project, Canada’s biggest to date, using arrays of Tesla batteries to store electricity and help balance and stabilize the Alberta power grid as it adds more renewable power.

California Fires Torch Record-Breaking Four Million Acres…So Far

California set a tragic record this week, with more than four million acres (16,180 square kilometres) burned. And there are still at least two months to go in the state’s current fire season.

California Internal Combustion Vehicle Ban Will Help Automakers, Boost the Grid, RMI Says

California’s decision to ban sales of internal combustion vehicles after 2035 is good news for both automakers and the electricity grid, Rocky Mountain Institute CEO Jules Kortenhorst writes in a recent blog post.

Russia ‘Has a Lot to Lose’ if EU Adopts Border Carbon Adjustment

Permanent Bloor-Danforth Bike Lanes Would Prevent Injuries, Deaths

Canada Infrastructure Bank to Name New CEO

Ontario Phases Out Time-of-Day Electricity Rates

Big Oil Dominates Donations in Alaska Tax Ballot Fight

Dry Monsoon Season Leaves Much of U.S. Southwest Parched

U.S. Democrats, Republicans Can Agree on Jobs Plugging Abandoned Wells

North Dakota Consultants Look to Wind to Diversify Oil and Gas Jobs

Projection Shows Drop in Indonesia Coal Use

Cities Must Begin Planning for Millions of Climate Migrants

Analysts Say Slower Auto Sales Won’t Crimp EV Demand

Mack to Introduce Electric Garbage Trucks in 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Royal Bank’s ‘Baby Step’ on Fossil Divestment the ‘Least They Could Do’, Climate Analysts Say

The Royal Bank of Canada’s announcement late last week that it will restrict investments in some fossil fuel projects was a “baby step” and just the first of many it will have to take to “move into a zero-carbon future,” two veteran climate analysts told The Energy Mix yesterday.

Throne Speech Quietly Declares Support for Nuclear Reactor Development, New Brunswick Opponent Warns

You would have missed it if you blinked (we did, too), but anti-nuclear advocates say the federal Speech from the Throne two weeks ago contained a clear signal of support for an industry with a “legacy of toxic radioactive waste” now trying to associate itself with Canada’s net-zero emissions target.

EU’s Retrofit Revolution Could Usher in a New Architectural Movement

The “renovation wave” of energy retrofits poised to sweep the European Union has architects and policy-makers excited for the chance to create a new common aesthetic—one that just may support a less arrogant understanding of humanity’s place in the natural world.

Wet’suwet’en Petition for Judicial Review of Coastal GasLink Certificate

Ontario Won’t Appeal Court Ruling Against Anti-Carbon Tax Propaganda Stickers

Drier Conditions Make California Fires More Intense

Wildfires Produce Bad Air This Year for One in Seven Americans

Indiana Looks to Green Energy to Attract New Investment

Michigan Utilities Will Shift Plan to Match Governor’s Carbon-Neutral Goal

Severe Floods Kill Two, Leave 28 Missing in Italy, France

Decades of Redlining Leave Poor Neighbourhoods to Suffer in Extreme Heat

Walmart Works with Energy Automation Giant to Shift Suppliers to Renewables

Researchers Use Wastewater, Biosolids to Produce Hydrogen

Infrastructure Bank to Pour $6 Billion into Clean Grid, Building Retrofits, Zero-Emission Buses

Climate and energy analysts are mostly praising a new two- to three-year, C$10-billion “growth plan” that includes $2.5 billion for clean power and storage, $2 billion for building energy retrofits, $2 billion to extend broadband access to underserved communities, $1.5 billion for zero-emission buses, and $1.5 billion for agriculture infrastructure, unveiled yesterday by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Ottawa Inches Closer to a Decision on Toronto-Quebec City Rail Overhaul

The federal government may be closing in on a decision on whether to overhaul the much-maligned passenger rail lines in the corridor between Toronto and Quebec City.

UK Moves Up Ban on New Fossil Fuel Vehicles to 2030

Utility-Scale Solar Could Replace Coal Jobs in Appalachia

Muskrat Falls Hydro Completes First Link to Labrador Grid

Powerful Hurricanes Speed Up Loss of Louisiana Wetlands

Moody’s Sees State Mandates Driving U.S. Renewables Growth

Climate to Affect Storage Conditions for U.S. Farm Products

Ann Arbor, Michigan Launches Solar-Powered Resilience Hub

Germany Lays Plans to Triple Spending on Climate, Energy

Fitch Sees Solar, Asia Pacific Setting the Pace as Renewables Rise

Germany’s Diesel Too Cheap to Push Faster Climate Target, VW CEO Says

Midwest Fast Charger Network to Boost Interstate EV Travel

Lake Erie Wind Farm Clears Major Hurdle

‘Canadians Don’t Want This’: Fracking Company Owned by Canada Pension Plan Spent $600,000 to Influence Colorado State Elections

A company 95% owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Crestone Peak Resources, spent more than US$607,250 to shape the results of state elections in Colorado in 2018, supporting “pro-business” candidates and political action committees bent on blocking tougher regulation of controversial oil and gas fracking operations in the state.

Financing Canadian Carbon Reduction Target is ‘Very Doable’, ‘Eminently Achievable’, Researchers Conclude

A new report released yesterday by Queen’s University’s Institute for Sustainable Finance concludes that meeting Canada’s Harper-era greenhouse gas reduction targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement would cost just a fraction of a percent of GDP—though the Trudeau government would still have to boost its climate investments, and the analysis relies on carbon capture technologies that are far from being proven or cost-effective.

Sweden, Norway Take a Lead in EU’s Swing to Renewable Energy

Nordic countries are helping to lead on the European Union’s commitment to source 30% of its energy from renewables by 2030, thanks to renewable-driven heating systems and smart energy developments.

European Mayors Call for Local Green Deals [Sign-On]

Uber Canada Says Drivers Shouldn’t Bear Burden of EV Shift

Ottawa Postpones Building Code Updates to December 2021

Yukon Green Plan Includes EV Rebates

FERC Allows Distributed Energy to Compete with U.S. Power Plants

New Chicago Transit Plan Stresses Equity

15% More U.S. E-Bike Use Could Cut Emissions 12%

Turkey Virtual Power Plant to Combine Geothermal, Renewables

UK Government Admits Wind, Solar 30-50% Cheaper than Thought

Rocky Mountain Institute Urges New Approach to Cooling

Jonathan WIlkinson

Wilkinson Promises Five-Year Emissions Targets While O’Regan Announces $320 Million for Newfoundland Fossil Industry

Within hours of each other Friday, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson vowed that a series of five-year emissions targets through 2050 will be his top legislative priority this fall, while Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan unveiled a C$320-million cash infusion for the struggling fossil industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ottawa Needs Wide-Ranging Programs to Match Big-Picture Throne Speech, 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 helped design and lead a series of green recovery webinars and publications that laid some of the groundwork for last week’s Throne Speech. In this interview, he talks about what the speech got right, the tough path to 1.5°C, and what’s still needed to get Canada’s transition off carbon on track.

California Bans New Internal Combustion Car Sales After 2035

The U.S. state that likes to style itself the world’s fifth-largest economy will ban all sales of new gasoline-powered cars after 2035 under an executive order signed last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

World Nuclear Industry Loses Ground to Cheap Renewables as Canada Considers Small Modular Reactors

The world nuclear industry “continues to be in stasis,” with power plants shutting down at a faster rate in western Europe and the United States, the number of operating reactor units at a 30-year low, and the few new construction projects running into “catastrophic cost overruns and schedule slippages,” according to the latest edition of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), released last week.

Corona Drives Up Food Waste, Carbon Footprint While More Go Hungry

Tropical Storm Beta Soaks Hurricane-Weary Texas

Climate Scientist, Ex-Green Leader Weaver Endorses B.C. NDP

Glacier Loss Could Jeopardize Alberta Water Supplies

Canada’s Green Recovery Will Depend on Rail

Managed Retreat from Flood Zones Becomes U.S. Policy

Commodities Trader Sees Low Demand Producing Peril for Oil

Analysis Explains Why Carbon Offsets Don’t Deliver

U.S. Mental Health Underfunded as Multiple Disasters Drive Need

Climate Hawk Declares ‘Most Progressive Throne Speech in a Generation’ as Ottawa Pledges Tougher Emission Targets, Links Cleantech to Million-Job Strategy

Climate change moved to the centre of Canada’s million-job recovery strategy, the Trudeau government pledged immediate action on more ambitious carbon reduction targets, neither the fossil nor the nuclear industry rated a single explicit mention, and a government-appointed senator was more deeply critical than many of the country’s leading campaign organizations as Governor General Julie Payette read a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne Wednesday afternoon.

Crashing Demand, Kenney’s ‘Denial’ Put Alberta at Risk as Energy Transition Accelerates

The Alberta government’s inability to begin charting a shift off fossil fuels can only leave the province at risk of further economic mayhem, according to two news analyses published in the week leading up to a federal Throne Speech that largely cemented Ottawa’s embrace of a low-carbon transition.

The Interview: After a ‘Bold’ Throne Speech, the Details Come Next, St-Pierre Says

Éric St-Pierre is Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation in Montreal. He recently coordinated an opinion piece from a dozen Canadian philanthropic foundations that set expectations for the Throne Speech and a green recovery. In this interview, he talks about the highlights and gaps in the speech, the next steps for the government, and the hard work ahead for the climate community.

Beware ‘Climate Delay’ Tactics Meant to Undermine Effective Action, Hastings-Simon Warns

Climate change denial is dangerous, but just as harmful are “climate delay” strategies that merely pretend to address the climate crisis. And learning to recognize the difference between real action and climate delay tactics is critical for both the public and policy-makers, warns a veteran Canadian climate policy analyst.

Investors Shrug as Tesla Promises $25,000 EV in Three Years

While Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk promised a US$25,000 electric vehicle within three years, driven by dramatic production cost reductions and performance improvements, for battery cells, his highly-touted Battery Day event earlier this week ended up disappointing investors looking for a bigger announcement and faster results.

Wacky Weather Pushes Insured Claims to Nearly $2 Billion in Alberta

Transit Decline Due to COVID Could Cost Manufacturing Jobs in Pennsylvania

German Study Finds No Health Impact from Wind Turbine Noise

Toronto Community Housing Picks Passive Solar for Latest Project

New Jersey Sets Sights on Another 2.4 GW of Offshore Wind

Facebook Contracts for 235 MW of Solar in Utah

Illinois County Approves Commercial Solar Projects on Farms

U.S. Looks to Future with Multi-User Microgrids

Beware ‘Climate Delay’ Tactics Meant to Undermine Effective Action, Hastings-Simon Warns

Climate change denial is dangerous, but just as harmful are “climate delay” strategies that merely pretend to address the climate crisis. And learning to recognize the difference between real action and climate delay tactics is critical for both the public and policy-makers, warns a veteran Canadian climate policy analyst.

Uber Promises $800M to Help Drivers Switch to EVs by 2025

Wilkinson Says COVID Won’t Hijack Canada’s Green Agenda as Climate Community Demands Commitments, O’Regan Touts Nuclear

On the eve of this afternoon’s Speech from the Throne, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is declaring that the pandemic won’t hijack Canada’s green agenda, adding that “if left unaddressed, climate change will have more of an impact on Canadians than COVID-19,” CTV News reports.

Basic Income, Just Transition Depend on Each Other, Regehr Says

Sheila Regehr has been chair of the Basic Income Canada Network since 2014. She’s a retired federal public servant with years of experience working on income security, and past executive director of the National Council of Welfare. With the federal Speech from the Throne coming up today, she explains how a basic income builds up communities, reduces anxiety, and makes a whole host of problems easier to solve—including the climate crisis.

Ford, Unifor Reach Tentative Deal to Build Five Electric Vehicle Models in Oakville

Ford Motor Company of Canada and Unifor have signed a tentative collective agreement that commits the company to a C$1.8-billion investment to build five electric vehicle models in Oakville, Ontario.

Supreme Court Hears Carbon Pricing Appeals in ‘Make-or-Break’ Case

The Supreme Court of Canada is in the midst of a high-stakes, two-day hearing on whether the federal government’s floor price on carbon is constitutional.

Alberta Surges, Ontario Fades as Canada’s Leading Jurisdiction for Wind, Solar

Alberta is set to surpass Ontario as Canada’s leading jurisdiction for utility-scale wind and solar, with 83% of the country’s new installations over the next five years, according to a new analysis by Oslo-based Rystad Energy.

Solar+Storage to Replace Colorado Coal Plant

On-Demand Transit Aims to Win Hearts in Canadian Cities

Ottawa Announces $4.5M for Sherbrooke Bioenergy Firm

NOAA Tags 2020 as Hottest-Ever Summer for Northern Hemisphere

Extreme Heat Pushes Down Stock Market Activity

‘No Return to Normal’: Smoke-Choked B.C. Cities Must Prepare for Worse to Come

British Columbians are being warned that this summer’s grim immersion in wildfire smoke is no anomaly, but instead a grim foreshadowing of the future in a destabilized climate that gathers ever more potential to devastate both the quality and the length of their lives.

‘Extreme Carbon Inequality’ Has Wealthiest Driving Climate Crisis: Oxfam Report

The richest 10% of the world’s population accounted for more than half of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2015, and the richest 1% in Canada emitted more than 100 times as much per capita as the poorest 50% world-wide, Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute conclude, in a report to be launched during a Climate Week NYC webinar Friday morning.

West Coast Wildfires Reveal Risks in Carbon Offset Credit System

Energy economists may soon need to add a further entry to the chronicle of loss generated by this summer’s wildfire infernos: millions of carbon offset credits.

China to Consider Carbon Neutrality by 2050 in Long-Term Climate Plan

China is considering a long-term climate plan that commits to carbon neutrality by 2050, just days after the European Union boosted its 2030 emission reduction target from 40 to 55%.

Nine Countries, 15 U.S. States Join Forces on Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles

Canada, eight other countries, and 15 U.S. states will work together to expand zero-emission commercial vehicle manufacturing, infrastructure, and deployment, following an announcement brokered by Calstart, a U.S. clean transportation non-profit.

Regina Researchers Urge City to Focus on Equity in Climate Planning

When you think of Regina, you might imagine a city that depends heavily on cars. But when University of Regina professor Emily Eaton gathered a focus group representing community-based organizations throughout the city to discuss how a transition to net-zero carbon emissions might affect communities that have experienced marginalization, she heard another story.

France Budgets Record €6 Billion for Renewables in 2021

Couche-Tard Plans EV Charging Push Across North America

Religious Charity Becomes Ontario’s Biggest Passive Solar Developer

Ottawa Puts $3 Million into Energy-Efficient Building Projects in Alberta

Alberta Community Felt Duped by Wind Developer’s Sales Tactics

140 California Cities, Counties Add Environmental Justice to Planning Process

Indiana Solar Ordinance Requires Pollinator-Friendly Ground Cover

U.S. Emergency Management Grants Could Open Doors for Microgrids

Financing Falls Into Place for Fifth Phase of Massive Dubai Solar Park

Climate, COVID Drive Up Hunger in Southern Africa

Pennsylvania Gas Production Hits New High

Utility Front Group Fights Rooftop Solar in Florida

Wind Giant Siemens Gamesa Plans Push Into Hydrogen

Agronomists See Climate Change Boosting Rice Yields

Energy Retrofits, Green Grids, ZEVs Lead Recommendations from Resilient Recovery Task Force

A $27-billion energy retrofit program, stepped-up investment in green electricity, and building an “industrial ecosystem” for zero-emission vehicles are lead elements of a five-year, $55.4-billion green investment program released Wednesday by the 15-member Task Force for a Resilient Recovery.

Critics Demand Financial Review of Trans Mountain Pipeline, Claim Victory Slowing Down Construction

A list of more than 100 Canadian economists and resource policy specialists that includes a former CEO of BC Hydro and Ontario Hydro is urging the federal government to reassess the viability of the Trans Mountain expansion project in light of rising project costs and plummeting oil demand, while a group of campaigners in British Columbia takes a victory lap for slowing down construction of the controversial pipeline.

67% of Low-Income U.S. Households Face High Energy Burden

Two out of three low-income households in the United States face disproportionately steep energy bills, says a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Hurricane Sally Drenches U.S. Southeast as Climate Change Produces Slower, Lingering Storms

Hurricane Sally weakened to a tropical storm but still brought catastrophic flooding to parts of the U.S. Deep South this week, leaving at least one person dead, 500,000 homes and businesses without electricity, and rivers and streams overflowing their banks.

TAF Fetes ‘Big Canadian Moment’ as Community Investment Model Goes National

South Korean President Promises 30 More Coal Plant Closures

India’s Tata Power Wants Older Coal Plants Replaced with Renewables

Maryland Approves Offshore Wind Farm Using 12-MW GE Turbines

Six Alberta First Nations Invest in $1.5-Billion Gas Plant with Provincial Loan Guarantee

Insurer Files Suit Against Dike Builder in Devastating 2019 Flood

CN Buys 50 Lion Electric Transport Trucks

Federal Program Helps Freight Handlers Decarbonize Their Fleets

So Cal Ed’s $436M EV Charging Program is Biggest in U.S.

Chamber of Commerce (Still) Elevates Climate Deniers in U.S. Congress

Chicago-Area Landfill Site to Supply Local Solar

China Coal Miner Plans Big Solar Manufacturing Investment

Fast Renewables Ramp-Up Drives Down Australian Coal Use

Charleston, SC Becomes First U.S. Southern City to Sue Fossils for Climate Damages

San Diego Utility Plans All-Renewable Microgrid

Bosch Aims to Decarbonize Operations with Three New Solar Contracts

Tech CEO Touts Wireless EV Charging for Smart Cities

Exclusive: NDP Riding Presidents Push Singh, 150 MPs and Staffers Talk Green Recovery, as Throne Speech Looms

The federal New Democratic Party leadership is taking grassroot fire for failing to use its position in a minority parliament to press the Trudeau government for tougher green recovery measures in its hotly-anticipated Speech from the Throne September 23.

Sustainable City Investments Drive COVID-19 Recovery, Global Coalition Concludes

Municipalities are the cornerstone of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and low-carbon investments and infrastructure will deliver the jobs, resilience, and support for marginalized and vulnerable populations the Trudeau government is expected to emphasize in its Speech from the Throne next week, according to the lead author of a new report on greening the global recovery through cities.

Newfoundland Turns Thumbs Down on Husky’s Offshore Oil Bailout Demand

With Husky Energy on the hunt for government bailouts for its C$2.2-billion West White Rose project off the Newfoundland coast, the provincial government is making it clear it doesn’t have any spare cash available to help the Calgary-based fossil out.

Ontario’s Ford Government Guts Environmental Protections, Undermines Health Record

While Ontario’s Ford government has proven to be an able defender of health in the face of COVID-19, it continues to be a profound threat to the environment, gutting established protections, hobbling climate action at every opportunity and, most recently, hamstringing the province’s environmental review process.

‘Climate Arsonist’ Trump Addresses California Wildfires by Talking Down Climate Science

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden branded Donald Trump a “climate arsonist”, after the current occupant of the White House poured gasoline on his own, unique brand of firestorm Monday, during a visit to the wildfire-ravaged state of California.

Move Toward EVs Not Enough to Mitigate Ride-Hailing Emissions

While recent pledges by Lyft and Uber to electrify their entire Canadian fleets by 2030 are laudable, public policy is still needed to tackle the growing spike in emissions as a pandemic-wary public increasingly turns away from transit and toward ride-hailing.

Poland Plans Billions for Renewables, Nuclear to Speed Up Coal Phaseout

Rise of SUVs Drove Carbon Emissions in Transport

Poor Communities in Texas Still Waiting for Hurricane Relief from 2017

B.C.’s Howe Sound Rebounds, But Faces Climate Risk

Feds Back 10-MW Solar+Storage Project on PEI

Swift Current, Saskatchewan Starts Work on 10-MW Solar Project

Chicago Suburb Decides to Carry On with Community Solar Program

Texas Plan Would Store Carbon in Prairie Grasses

Delaware Sues Fossils for Climate Impacts

Justin Trudeau

Fossils Troll for Relief as Throne Speech Focus Veers Toward Housing, Income Support

With the latest news and commentary out of Ottawa pointing to housing, employment insurance reform, and long-term care as main focal points for the September 23 Speech from the Throne, the fossil industry is pushing the Trudeau government for more bailout dollars and regulatory delays as part of the economic recovery from the pandemic.

UK Citizen Climate Assembly Calls for ‘Fair’ Green Recovery

A ban on SUVs, a frequent flyer tax, carbon emissions labelling, and protections for those most exposed in the push to net zero were among the core recommendations when the UK’s citizen-led Climate Assembly issued its final report last week.

Multiple Mega-Fires Deliver Toxic Air, Extreme Heat, Rolling Blackouts Across Western U.S.

With “multiple mega-fires burning more than three million acres”, and millions of people in California, Oregon, and Washington State facing a mix of toxic air, extreme heat, and rolling blackouts, a month of summer wildfires is bringing some of the most dire predictions from climate scientists into day-to-day reality.

Phoenix, AZ Hits 110°F for 50 Straight Days

Unstable Foundations Have B.C. NDP Fretting About Site C Cost Overruns

Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador Resist Class Action Suit in 2017 Flood

Community Pushback Shifts Metrolinx Position on Jane-Finch Hub

Toronto Paramedics Adopt Hybrid-Electrics for Majority of Fleet

Houston Water Pumping Plant to Get Biggest Microgrid in U.S.

Australia’s Rooftop Solar Boom Holds Lessons for Others

Singapore Looks for New Output from Rooftop Solar

Uganda E-Bus Plant Delivers Jobs, Helps Cut Pollution

Big Investors Push Texas to Ban Most Gas Flaring

Botswana, Namibia Aim for 5 GW New Solar

Grid Failures Make Libya’s Brutal Summer Heat Even Worse

Husky Seeks Government Bailout for $2.2-Billion Fossil Project Off Newfoundland Coast

Husky Energy is looking to federal and provincial governments for a bailout for its C$2.2-billion West White Rose project, an oil and gas drilling venture off the Newfoundland coast that it had planned to expand until the COVID-19 pandemic sent global fossil markets into a tailspin.

Fossils Keep Paying Shareholders Despite Epic Financial Losses, Declining Business Prospects

Some of the world’s most colossal fossils posted epic financial losses between April and June this year, all in the interest of preserving their dividends to shareholders, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concluded in a research brief late last month.

The Battle Plan: Key Lessons from the Second World War for the Climate Mobilization (Part 2)

This is the second of two excerpts from Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, published in early September and available here. The book includes Klein’s “battle plan”, a set of key lessons for the climate mobilization from the Second World War.

Barry: U.S. Must Choose ‘Dignified Life’, Regenerative Economy for Citizens in Sacrifice Zones

Millions of Americans live in so-called “sacrifice zones,” where racism and rapacious economic imperatives are robbing entire communities of the fundamentals for a healthy and dignified life. That has activists calling for the creation of a regenerative economy in which communities have a direct say in the policies and decisions that affect their world.

Alberta Dials Down Expectations with Softer Mandate for ‘Foreign-Funded Radicals’ Inquiry

The Alberta government may be losing momentum in its crusade against supposed “foreign-funded special interests” working against the province’s oilpatch, with the deadline for commissioner Steve Allan’s report delayed four months and his terms of reference adjusted to acknowledge that he might not actually find any foreign influence over the industry.

Replace Pickering Nuclear Plant with Renewables, Not Gas, OCAA Urges

The impending closure of Ontario’s Pickering Nuclear Station is an opportunity to build a sustainable energy system based on sound energy efficiency programs, investment in local renewables, and hydroelectric power held in the public control—not ramped-up gas power generation, says the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Ban Ads for Cars that Damage Climate, UK Campaign Urges

Montreal Tears Up Disputed Bike Path, Will Consult Neighbours Next Time

Liberals Promise Green Home Retrofits in New Brunswick Election

Nalcor Says Spill Contained After Muskrat Falls Powerhouse Leaks Oil

Nova Scotia Company Plans Another Try at Bay of Fundy Tidal

Chargepoint Raises $127M to Expand EV Charging Network

U.S. Sees Rise in EV Charging Stations

NJ Utility Plans to Sell Off Nearly 7 GW of Fossil Capacity

Case Studies Look at Climate Vulnerability of Infrastructure

$1B New York State Program Boosts Home Energy Efficiency, Cuts Bills

West Michigan City Saves $354,000 with New Solar Array

Big Financial Loss Prompts Petronas to ‘Reassess’ Oil and Gas Investments, Expand Renewables

One of the partners in British Columbia’s massive LNG Canada megaproject, Malaysian state fossil Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), is planning to cut global oil and gas production and expand its presence in solar and wind after posting a US$5.06-billion loss between April and June of this year.

Hundreds of Thousands Face Blackouts, Wildfires, Evacuations as California Heat Wave Continues

Hundreds of thousands of Californians are facing down a continuing, extreme heat wave, while coping with power system blackouts brought on by a new round of uncontrolled wildfires that are “knocking out power plants, triggering evacuations, and threatening to take out the lights no matter how much the state conserves,” Bloomberg Green reports.

The Battle Plan: Key Lessons from the Second World War for the Climate Mobilization (Part 1)

This is the first of two excerpts from Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, published in early September and available here. The book includes Klein’s “battle plan”, a set of key lessons for the climate mobilization from the Second World War.

Judge Strikes Down Ontario’s Gas Pump Propaganda Stickers as ‘Blatant Advantage-Seeking’

The Doug Ford government’s gas tank propaganda stickers against the federal floor price on carbon were an “unconstitutional attempt” to force private gas station operators to “stick it to” another order of government or political party, Justice Edward Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court ruled Friday.

Ontario Funding Model Undermines Transit, Favours Uber

As Ontario’s Doug Ford government signals an ever-increasing enthusiasm for microtransit services like Uber, critics warn that, far from being a panacea for transit woes, ridesharing undermines public transit and leads to reduced accessibility, rising fares, and more congestion and emissions.

Urban Green Spaces Tied to Higher IQs, Reduced Childhood Aggression

Access to urban spaces that are rich in plant life can boost the IQs of children, both rich and poor, while lowering the incidence of aggression, poor attention, and other behavioural issues, says a first-of-its-kind study out of Belgium.

Renewables Surge Past Coal, Nuclear to Deliver Second-Largest Share of U.S. Electricity in Q2

Smoke from California Wildfires Reaches Southern Ontario

Oakville Buys 73 New Electric Buses

Pembina Sees Renewables Helping Canadian Communities Build Back Stronger

Arlington, Texas Tackles Fracking as Racial Justice Issue

U.S. Agencies Aren’t Saying How Many Wildland Firefighters Have COVID

Spanish Wind Producer Iberdola Plans Europe’s First Big Green Hydrogen Project

‘Scientifically Valid Evidence’ Shows Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings Ponds Contaminating Northern Alberta Groundwater

There is “scientifically valid evidence” that toxic pollution seeping from tar sands/oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta is contaminating groundwater in the Athabasca watershed, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) concluded in an assessment released Thursday.

Pipeline Spill Forces Temporary Shutdown at Kearl Lake Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mine

Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake mine has gone into temporary shutdown, following a spill Saturday in a diluent pipeline that supplies the giant tar sands/oil sands facility north of Fort McMurray.

Hoboken, NJ Launches the Latest Climate Liability Suit Against Big Oil

In the latest in a groundswell of climate liability lawsuits, the coastal city of Hoboken, New Jersey is suing six fossil giants as well as the American Petroleum Institute (API) trade group, accusing them of a deliberate, decades-long campaign of deception and demanding compensation for current and future climate impacts.

Alberta Start-Up Plans Solar Arrays for Abandoned Oil Wells

An initial two to four abandoned oil well sites in Taber, Alberta will be converted to host small solar arrays, in a bid to make productive use of the sites while long-term remediation is under way.

Mining Association ‘Disheartened’ by Federal Review of Teck Coal Mine Expansion Plan

150 Dead, 200 Injured After Flash Floods in Afghanistan

Guterres Warns India Against Coal Expansion as Industry ‘Goes Up in Smoke’

Puerto Rican Regulator Favours Solar Over Gas

Salt Spring Island Enviro Solutions Must Include People: Mogus

Western U.S. Sees Solar+Storage Boom

California Regulators Approach ‘Tipping Point’ on New Building Electrification

Sydney, Australia Could See Daily Flooding by Century’s End

New Data Points to Wind Potential in Florida

Thin Triple-Pane Windows Emerge as Energy Efficiency Bright Spot

Hurricane Laura Delivers Predictable, Preventable Damage to Marginalized Communities

As the residents of Louisiana’s industry-heavy coast begin the long work of recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Laura—and the highly toxic chemical fire it triggered—citizens are once again facing down one of the hard truths of a fossil economy: when a climate disaster strikes, marginalized communities get pummelled.

Coalspur Demands Judicial Review of Federal Assessment for Vista Coal Mine Expansion

The company behind the Vista coal mine is calling for a judicial review of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s decision to order an environmental assessment of its controversial plans to expand its operations.

Shutting Most Coal, Gas Plants Could Save Southeastern U.S. $384 Billion by 2040

Seven states in the southeastern United States could save US$384 billion by 2040 by setting up competitive pricing for grid electricity and phasing out most of their coal-fired power stations and natural gas peaker plants, according to a new analysis released last week.

‘Unlikely Allies’ Create Renewable Energy Opportunities in Alberta

What do oil executives and climate activists have in common? Not much, if you listen to popular media narratives pitting environmental protection against economic growth. But at the Energy Futures Lab, diverse innovators and stakeholders in Alberta’s energy sector are finding plenty of room for collaboration.

BP Plans to Sell London, UK Headquarters

Ottawa Promises ‘Very Specific Things to Say’ on East Coast Fossil Bailout

Feds Pledge $18.3M for Six South Baffin Renewables Projects

Cree Community Opens First Utility-Scale Solar Plant in Manitoba

Texas Advanced Energy Creates More Jobs Than Real Estate, Three Times More Than Chemicals

City Utility in San Antonio Seeks 900 MW Solar, 50 MW Battery Storage

WoodMac Questions Tesla’s Record-Low Home Solar Prices

Climate Could Make Summers ‘Too Hot for Humans’

Better Knowledge, Aging Infrastructure Drive Rising Environmental Insurance Claims

UPDATED: Turnover at Finance Opens Door for a ‘Fundamental Retooling of the Canadian Economy’

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s dramatic resignation last night opens up an opportunity for his successor to embrace a green and just recovery as a cornerstone of the federal government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, leading climate and energy strategists have told The Energy Mix.

Op-ed: Metrolinx Betrayal of Toronto Neighbourhood Another ‘Ugly Form’ of Systemic Racism

After agreeing long ago to donate land so that Toronto’s impoverished but determined-to-flourish Jane-Finch neighbourhood could build a cultural and community hub, transit agency Metrolinx is being excoriated for betraying its promise—a decision that seems to reflect the persistent appearance that, in the minds of policy-makers, Black lives don’t matter all that much, after all.

Even in Green California, Wealthy Communities Push Back Against Densification

U.S. efforts to build denser cities are facing pushback, and not just from Donald Trump—with even committed green residents of California seemingly unmoved by the profound inequities and climate harms inherent in the American dream of house-yard-garage. 

New Climate Migration Model Answers Looming Question: ‘Where Will Everyone Go?’

As the hallmarks of the climate crisis—heat, thirst, hunger, sea level rise, and conflict—send millions of frightened and desperate people into flight, migration experts are warning of an increasing reality for individuals and for nations: “Mobility is resilience.”

Use Community Power, Grassroot Investment to Fuel Green Recovery, Energy Co-ops Urge

A group of seven renewable energy co-ops from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia is calling on the federal government to emphasize community power procurement, deep energy retrofits, and smart grid development in economic stimulus responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nature-Friendly Economy Would Deliver $10 Trillion in Opportunities, 395 Million Jobs by 2030

A “fundamental transformation” in the direction of a nature-friendly global economy could produce US$10 trillion in annual business opportunities and a mind-boggling 395 million jobs by 2030, the International Institute for Sustainable Development reports, in a review of a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

AIMCo Fossil Investment Strategy Cost Alberta Heritage Fund $2B

No One Takes Responsibility for Massive Florida Methane Cloud

Spring Flooding Caused $522M in Damage in Fort McMurray

Alberta Aims to Solve Decades-Old Regulatory Problem with Orphan Wells

Manitoba First Nation Pans Nuclear Commission’s ‘Colonial, Inexcusable’ Behaviour

Urban Wine Project Turns Montreal Rooftops Into Vineyards

Big California Gas Utility Accused of Undermining Electrification

New Online Tools Trace U.S. Cities’ Drive to Renewables

Australia’s Biggest Wind Farm Begins Sending Power to Grid

Developer in Poland Plans 1.2-GW Wind Farm in Baltic Sea

600-MW Wind Farm in Thailand to Send Power to Vietnam

UK Subsidy Will Get More Riders on E-Bikes

Future Without Cars is Declared ‘Amazing’

New Mexico’s Off-Coal Transition Plan Includes Community Dialogue, Jobs Outside Energy

New Mexico is emerging as a promising model for governments aiming to phase out coal without leaving behind the households and communities that depend on coal industry jobs, after an Albuquerque-based private utility decided to divest its share of the 925-megawatt San Juan coal plant in 2022 and invest in 650 MW of solar generation and 300 MW of battery storage.

New Bike Route Barrier Design Repurposes Scrapped Tires

A Milwaukee design team has produced an award-winning bike lane barrier made from discarded car tires. Reproducible at scale and easy to build with a few tools, the WeCLAIM barrier promises to repurpose a share of the 300 million car tires that are scrapped each year in the United States alone.

Seven Ukrainian Coal Towns Plot Joint Transformation

New Tariffs Against China Could Threaten India’s 100-GW Solar Target

Neighbours Protest Nuclear Pellet Plant in Peterborough

Vancouver Turns to Heat Mapping to Cool Warmest Parts of the City

Hydro-Québec Tests the Waters with Solar

Boston-Area Study Finds Big Racial Disparities in Tailpipe Pollution

Ohio Evangelicals Try to Move Legislators on Clean Energy

Air Conditioning Demand Could Drive Record Oil Use in Saudi Arabia

Extreme Rainfall in Korea Likely Triggered by Climate Change

Climate-Driven Weather Will Make a Congested Commute Worse

What If Consumers Could Just Buy Their Own Plug-In Batteries?

Weekend Tour Kicks Off Six-Week Push to Delay Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

More than 200 people signed up for a series of socially-distanced, small-group weekend tours of a conservation area in British Columbia, followed by a round of “know-your-rights training”, as campaign organizations prepared for a critical six weeks in their bid to halt construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Alberta Mismanages Heritage Fund, Misses Out on $575B in Revenue Over 44 Years

Successive Alberta governments over the last 44 years have mismanaged their way out of C$575 billion in revenue that should have been available to help cushion the province from a brutal oil price crash and chart a course to a more diverse, less fossil-dependent economy, according to a University of Calgary economics professor.

Groundbreaking New Grid Model Would Eliminate up to 80% of U.S. Emissions by 2035

A new energy model is being hailed as the long-awaited technical manual for a Green New Deal in the U.S., a roadmap to the mass electrification that will allow the country to decarbonize its power grid by 2035.

Utility-Scale Battery Project Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ for Alberta Utility

A “really cool” utility-scale storage project that matches up a local wind farm with Tesla batteries is being cast as a possible game-changer for Calgary-based TransAlta Corporation, Alberta’s biggest utility.

Rapid Glacier Loss Will Affect Regional Water Availability in Alberta

Tropical Storm Isaias Destroys Outdoor Dining in New Jersey

Oklahoma Indian Land Decision Could Affect Massive Cushing Oil Terminal

California Looks to Include Climate Planning in Utility Rates

WRI: New Start-Ups Show Future of Mobility is Micro

UK Grid Could Go Carbon-Negative by 2033

Architecture Can Support Pandemic Adaptation

Exxon Rips Up $30-Billion Rebuilding Plan, Could Declare Stranded Assets at Kearl Lake

ExxonMobil’s massive Kearl Lake mine north of Fort McMurray may be the latest tar sands/oil sands to be devalued as one of the world’s most determined colossal fossils considers designating up to one-fifth of its global oil and gas reserves as stranded assets, part of a company-wide scramble to respond to crashing oil prices and weak markets for its product.

Budget Cut for Tar Sands/Oil Sands Monitoring Raises Health Concerns for Nearby First Nations

Indigenous communities in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories say they’re losing faith in federal and provincial environmental monitoring in the tar sands/oil sands, after The Canadian Press revealed earlier this week that this year’s field research program will sustain a funding cut of about 25%.

BC Hydro, NDP Blame COVID-19 for Site C Overruns, Despite Pre-Existing Problems

Two years after an international expert wrote a lengthy report on the myriad factors likely to lead to major construction cost overruns on the Site C hydroelectric dam, BC Hydro is blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for the multiple woes that now beset the megaproject. Not so fast, say those who have long and fiercely opposed it.

Beer: Alberta Should Treat Total’s $9.3-Billion Write-Off as a Wake-Up Call, Not a Cheap Shot

After French petroleum giant Total wrote off C$9.3 billion in stranded assets in the tar sands/oil sands, the Jason Kenney government had the option of treating the announcement as a wake-up call, not a cheap shot. And Albertans were hurt first and worst when their government made the wrong choice, The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer argues in a post for The Narwhal.

Alberta’s Fossil Tax Relief Plan Downloads Financial Pain to Small Communities

Alberta’s United Conservative Party is considering relieving the province’s oil and gas operators of their obligation to pay municipal property taxes, an act of corporate welfare that would leave rural communities unable to balance their budgets without resorting to steep residential tax hikes or savage cuts to services. 

Gray: Canada Loses if Trudeau Bets on a Second White House Term for Trump

The Trudeau government appears to be betting on a second White House term for Donald Trump, Environmental Defence Executive Director Tim Gray observes in a blog post this week. And that means Ottawa could be caught offside if Joe Biden wins the presidency, with his plan for a US$2-trillion green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austria, Paris, and Tokyo Studies Find No Link Between Transit, COVID-19 Clusters

Several new studies from around the world have found no link between public transit and infection clusters of COVID-19. That means using transit is likely not a high-risk activity for transmission—thanks to social distancing protocols, masked riders, rigorous cleaning, and excellent ventilation systems.

Bike-Share Program Addresses Long-Standing Inequities on Chicago’s South Side

Clean Energy Canada Reports Big Potential for Geothermal

FCM Offers Innovative Financing for Community Energy Efficiency

New York City’s Managed Retreat Has Already Begun

15 U.S. States Embrace Zero-Emission Trucks by 2050

California’s Top Oil Driller Files for Bankruptcy

China Boosts Renewable Energy Subsidies

Dealers See Opportunities for Green Deals in Southeast Asia

Online Viewers Flock to French E-Bike Ad that was Too Intense for TV

Twitter Storm Greets Wilkinson Defence After Pandemic Produces 25% Cut in Tar Sands/Oil Sands Monitoring

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is pushing back on Twitter—and receiving a small Twitter storm in return—after The Canadian Press reported a 25% cut in the country’s environmental monitoring program for the Alberta tar sands/oil sands due to the coronavirus pandemic.

5,757 ‘Tiny Earthquakes’ in B.C.’s Peace Region Were Mostly Caused by Fracking

Oil and gas fracking operations in British Columbia’s Peace region were by far the main cause of 5,757 “tiny earthquakes” between 2017 and 2019 that would have gone unrecorded if researchers hadn’t been looking for them, according to a study published last month in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

B.C. Regulations to Push EVs to 30% of New Cars by 2030, 100% by 2040

Two years after announcing its zero-emission vehicle program, British Columbia has released the year-by-year regulatory targets that will help manufacturers and retailers make the shift to all-electric new car sales by 2040.

Expand Natural Gas Energy Efficiency to Boost Economy, Create Jobs, Groups Urge Ontario

The Ontario Energy Board must expand the province’s natural gas energy efficiency programs as a way to meet provincial carbon targets, create jobs, and drive the COVID-19 economic recovery, Efficiency Canada argues in a letter it submitted yesterday to three senior provincial cabinet ministers.

Scarcity of Pollinators Reduces Crop Yields, Quality in U.S. and B.C.

A scarcity of both wild bees and their domesticated cousins is limiting crop yields and quality, according to a recent collaborative study of farms across the United States and British Columbia. The province’s lucrative blueberry crop is being particularly hard hit by the scarcity of pollinators, the researchers found.

Pandemic and climate crises unmask inequalities

A chorus of world leaders has declared we’re all in the same COVID-19 boat. In response, U.K. writer Damian Barr tweeted, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.”

Activists Urge Toronto to Build Green Recovery Through COVID Relief

Canada Exempts Newfoundland Offshore Drilling from Environmental Assessment

Quebec Manufacturers Nab Contract for Electric Garbage Trucks

Gates Hunts for Cobalt in Northern Quebec

Fossils Control Research, Direct Innovation in Alberta Universities

GM Plans to Triple U.S. Fast Charging Network

Mississippi River Farmers Look to Nature-Based Flood Mitigation

U.S. Home Electrification Programs Drive Energy Efficiency

Colossal Fossil Total Declares $9.3B in Stranded Assets in Alberta Tar Sands/Oil Sands

French colossal fossil Total sent a shockwave through the Alberta oilpatch Wednesday with the announcement that it is writing off C$9.3 billion in assets in the tar sands/oil sands, including $7.3 billion in the Fort Hills mine, which opened just 2½ years ago, and the Surmont thermal oilsands project.

Wilkinson Orders Federal Environmental Assessment for Vista Coal Mine Expansion

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is earning praise for ordering a federal environmental review of the proposed Vista coal mine expansion near Hinton, in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Alberta, reversing an earlier decision after facing intense pushback from the Louis Bull Tribe, the Stoney Lakoda Nation, and Ecojustice.

Robinson: Canada’s Climate Inaction Could Undermine ‘Historic Reputation for Environmental Leadership’

Canada is at risk of undermining its “historic reputation for environmental leadership” if it fails to match its words on climate change and an ambitious green recovery with action, former Irish president and United Nations human rights commissioner Mary Robinson writes in a post this week for the Globe and Mail.

Houston Flood Protection Funding Prioritizes Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods, Generates Status Quo Pushback

After years of being left without flood protection—with all support earmarked for the coastal properties of the wealthy—Houston’s low-lying neighbourhoods have found champions in policy-makers determined to prioritize the protection of those who would face a more difficult recovery. But not everyone appreciates this application of environmental justice.

McKinsey Predicts Florida Losing $30B in Home Values in 10 Years

$44-Million Transmission Line Will Connect New Wind Farm on PEI

Keystone Backer TC Energy Touts Pumped Storage Project in Ontario

Cities Put More Emphasis on ‘Food Forests’

U.S. Coal Utility Alliant Pledges Net-Zero Carbon by 2050

COVID Forces Hawai’i Hurricane Shelters to Take Temperatures at the Door

No-Fly Campaigners Decry Cancellation of Eurostar Ski Train

Heat Waves, COVID Mean Higher Power Bills

Scottish Utility SSE Aims to Become Green ‘Supermajor’

Siemens Energy Plans to Boost Renewables Investment

RBC Becomes First Canadian Bank to Sign Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement

The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest chartered bank and one of its biggest boosters for new fossil infrastructure, is dipping its toe in the world of renewable energy finance by buying into two new solar farms producing a combined 39 megawatts of electricity in southeast Alberta.

Transit in a Pandemic: Now Is the Time to Undo Neglect, Systemic Racism

As pandemic-weary Americans flee mass transit in droves and commuter-driven emissions begin to spike back up, a Black transit policy expert is urging city leaders to recognize the critical role that public transit plays in creating a world where Black lives do matter. 

UK’s First Local Green Bond to Raise £1 Million for Solar Projects

Canary Wharf Promises 65% Emissions Cut by 2030

London Underground Could Soon Run on 100% Renewables

Doug Ford Ontario government

Auditor General to Probe Ontario Recovery Package for Environmental Rights Violations

The Doug Ford government in Ontario passed its economic recovery legislation last week despite warnings from Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk the massive omnibus bill could violate the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights. Now an opposition MPP is asking the AG to investigate.

Ohio Plans Repeal of Coal, Nuclear Bailout After Bribery Scandal Snares House Speaker

The outsized political power of U.S. utilities has come into sharp focus over the last 10 days, with bribery scandals in Ohio and Illinois reaching senior politicians in both states, including the speakers of both state houses.

Plastics in America Are a ‘Story of Environmental Racism’

The story of plastics in America is a story of environmental racism, with Black and Indigenous communities both far more likely both to purchase and use plastics, lack access to recycling, and live in hot zones for waste incineration that exposes them to a slew of harms, writes urban sustainability campaigner Chante Harris in a guest post for Anti-Racism Daily.

Place Indigenous Youth at Centre of Clean Energy Partnerships, McCarthy and Morrison Urge

Ottawa and the provinces must work harder to support Canada’s Indigenous peoples in becoming full partners in the clean energy transition—and Indigenous youth need to be encouraged, mentored, and supported to lead those partnerships, according to a recent opinion piece in iPolitics.

73% in B.C. Support Just, Sustainable Transition

The majority of British Columbians support a more just, sustainable transition into a post-pandemic economy, according to online poll results released last week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Storage Can Speed Transition to Renewable Grid, But Obstacles Remain, Study Finds

Increased reliance on electricity storage will make it easier for established power grids to retire their coal- and gas-fired power plants, postpone pricey and often controversial transmission line expansions, and get more output from the renewable energy installations they invest in, according to a new study in the journal Applied Energy.

New Mexico Wants Fossils to Capture 98% of Methane

TTC Considers Fast-Tracking Dedicated Bus Lanes

Construction Starts Next Month on Yukon’s Biggest Solar Project

California Installs Biggest Utility Battery in U.S.

Community Calls for First-Year Audit of New York State Climate Plan

UK Energy Efficiency Push Only Offers 1/3 of Required Funds

Pandemic Brings Cities Five Lessons About Circular Societies

Paris Rooftop Holds World’s Biggest Urban Farm

Task Force Urges $50B for ‘Bold’, Resilient Recovery, Including $27B for Building Retrofits

An independent task force of Canadian finance and policy experts is calling on the federal government to invest C$50 billion over the next five years in five “bold moves for a resilient recovery”, with a $27-billion building energy retrofit program leading a list of 22 specific policy measures.

Details Scarce as Canada Pledges to Triple Annual Energy Efficiency Improvements

The federal government is promising to triple the pace of Canada’s energy efficiency improvements to 3% per year, and the country’s energy efficiency advocacy network, Efficiency Canada, is out with a three-point plan to get started down that path.

Coalition Urges Ontario to Phase Out Gas-Fired Electricity by 2030 [Sign-On]

Nearly three dozen local, provincial, and national organizations are calling on Ontario to phase out its pricey natural gas power plants and abandon a plan that would increase carbon pollution from burning gas 300% by 2025 and 400% by 2040.

Famed ‘Doughnut’ Economics Framework Gets Adaptation for Cities

A new methodological guide adapts the celebrated Doughnut Economics framework for living within planetary boundaries to the urban level by answering one passionate, optimistic question: “How can our city be a home to thriving people, in a thriving place, while respecting the well-being of all people, and the health of the whole planet?”

Smart City Technologies Support Post-COVID Push for Energy Efficiency, Emission Reductions

Smart city technologies are poised to increase energy efficiency and encourage sustainable living in municipalities focused on building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and curbing their greenhouse gas emissions, reports.

Group Proposes Cargo Bikes, 21 Kilometres of New Cycling Paths, for Toronto’s Finch West Area

A non-profit in Toronto is pushing for a 21-kilometre network of off-street cycling paths between the Jane-Finch area and Rexdale, to relieve volume on Finch West’s crowded bus lines and make cargo bikes a realistic option for nearby businesses.

Roadbuilding Plans will ‘Scupper’ UK Carbon Targets

EU European Union

EU Treats Climate as ‘Pawn in Bigger Negotiation’, Adopts World’s Greenest Stimulus with Too Little Enforcement

Just a day after declaring it a “mission impossible”, leaders of 27 European countries finalized a COVID-19 recovery plan and seven-year budget worth €1.8 trillion, with nearly one-third of the total set aside for climate measures but reduced funding to key climate initiatives and only limited “green strings” to prevent investments in polluting industries.

Keystone XL Faces New Lawsuit Over Environmental Permitting Process

The Nebraska-based Bold Alliance launched yet another legal challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline last week, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to halt construction due to a faulty environmental permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

TTC Hangs On for Financial Relief from Ottawa’s Emergency Funding Package

The long-suffering Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is hoping to emerge as a major beneficiary of the C$19-billion emergency relief package for provinces and municipalities unveiled last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

South Korea Fails to Adopt Net-Zero Deadline with New Green Investment Plan

South Korea stepped back from setting a deadline for phasing out its greenhouse gas emissions last week is it unveiled a ₩42.7-trillion/US$35-billion plan to invest in renewable energy and environmental infrastructure.

Alberta’s Environmental Monitoring Suspension Broke Agreement with NWT

Exxon Court Case in Colorado Moves to Next Stage

Latest Lockdown to Drive Down California Gasoline Demand

Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Maine from Pushing EV Charging

Florida Power & Light Plans 750 MW of New Solar by 2024

California Explores Microgrids as Wildfire Management Tool

University of Minnesota Campus Declares Itself Carbon-Neutral

Indiana Firm Touts Regenerative Farming

$2.7-Trillion in Ecosystem Investments Would Generate 400 Million Jobs: WEF

A yearly investment of US$2.7 trillion in ecosystem health would reap an annual 400 million jobs and $10 trillion in returns through 2030, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, prompting the study authors to urge policy-makers to make restoration of the devastated natural world a cornerstone of all pandemic recovery efforts.

Wilkinson Sets End-of-July Deadline to Decide on Vista Coal Mine Review

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has given himself until the end of this month to decide whether to order a federal environmental assessment of a controversial expansion plan for the Vista coal mine near Hinton, Alberta.

Mayors Urge Recovery Based on Green Jobs, ‘15-Minute’ Cities

Green job creation, support for essential workers, investment in green industries, and funding for building retrofits, transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and “resilient public services” are cornerstones of a green and just recovery program released Wednesday by C40 Cities.

Building Back Better Could Prevent 112,000 Premature Deaths, Canadian Doctors Say

Meeting Canada’s climate targets could prevent 112,000 premature deaths between 2030 and 2050 due to air quality improvements alone, but achieving those gains will depend on the investments governments make today, according to new modelling released by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland Goes Car-Free for COVID-19

Pandemic-weary residents and business owners in St. John’s, Newfoundland are getting used to a newly-refashioned pedestrian-only downtown, and many of them hoping the changes will be permanent, though accessibility advocates warn the current street closure plan is unfriendly to people with mobility issues.

Sea Level Rise Drives ‘Extraordinary’ Flooding on U.S. Atlantic, Gulf Coasts

The Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States have seen an “extraordinary” increase in high-tide flooding since 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported earlier this week, a five-fold increase in frequency that is “damaging homes, imperiling the safety of drinking water, inundating roads, and otherwise hurting coastal communities,” the New York Times writes.

Alberta Regulator Taps Kenney’s Climate-Denying Ex-Campaign Manager as Science VP

The Alberta Energy Regulator has hired Premier Jason Kenney’s former campaign manager, climate denier John Weissenberger, as its vice president of science and innovation.

Alberta First Nation Plans New Tar Sands/Oil Sands Project

Indiana Solar Farm Will Make Place for Pollinators

Illinois School to Install Eight Acres of Solar Panels

Toronto’s Cordelio Power Buys Two Illinois Wind Projects

Storage Project Will Help Iowa Town Add More Rooftop Solar

Wisconsin’s New PSC Commissioner Calls for ‘Utility-Scale Makeover’

Fossil Ghostwriters Produce North Dakota Legislators’ Pro-Pipeline Letters

Ontario’s Bruce County Gears Up to Fight High-Level Rad Waste Dump

Biden’s $2-Trillion Plan Points to Climate as Key Draw for Younger, First-Time Voters

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled a four-year, US$2-trillion climate strategy yesterday that represented a major acceleration from his previous plan. It was interpreted as a sign that his party sees climate change as an issue that will drive voters to the polls this fall, drawing crucial support from younger and first-time voters.

Radwanski: Canada Cautious on Green Recovery Despite Pledging Climate Leadership

With governments elsewhere unveiling ambitious green stimulus plans in response to the economic crash brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has been unaccountably cautious to join the club, Globe and Mail columnist Adam Radwanski writes in a post published earlier this week.

Chicago’s 1995 Heat Wave Predicted ‘Baked-In’ Racism in COVID-19 Deaths

In a bitter echo of the disproportionate suffering seen during Chicago’s killing heat wave of 1995, Black residents of the city are now facing a similar onslaught from the coronavirus pandemic, an injustice owing to “baked in” structural racism, says a former chief medical officer for the Windy City.

Open Letter to Wilkinson Urges Environmental Assessment for Vista Coal Mine Expansion

A group of 47 Canadian environmental, Indigenous, health, civil society, and faith organizations issued an open letter this week calling on Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to order an environmental assessment for Coalspur Mines Ltd.’s plan to expand its Vista mine near Hinton, Alberta.

Coal-Dependent Jakarta Sees Air Quality Worsen During Lockdown

In a reversal of a trend seen in other major cities in Southeast Asia, Jakarta’s air quality actually got worse during the traffic-squelching pandemic lockdown. Air quality experts are largely blaming the dozen coal plants that supply the Indonesian megalopolis with power—while killing tens of thousands of city residents annually and delivering poor birth weights to thousands of babies.

Halifax Weighs 30-Year Climate Crisis Plan

Oregon Utility Issues Massive Tender for 4.3 GW of Solar, Wind, Storage

New Mexico Looks to Solar+Storage to Replace Massive San Juan Coal Plant