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

 
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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.

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Colorado Utility Agrees to $23.4M Microgrid

Squamish District Declares Woodfibre LNG ‘Unwelcome’ Unless It Meets Paris Targets

The Woodfibre LNG liquefied natural gas project should be unwelcome in Squamish, British Columbia unless it can align with the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement, district councillors decided earlier this month, in a hotly-debated preliminary motion adopted by a 4-3 margin.

‘Great Time to Build a Pipeline’ While Protesters Can’t Gather, Alberta Energy Minister Says

It’s a great time to build a pipeline while pandemic-related public health measures prevent mass protests against them, Alberta Energy Minister and former pipeline executive Sonya Savage told a podcast last week hosted by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.

Landmark NY Pipeline Rejection a Turning Point for State Action

New York State’s recent rejection of a new gas pipeline to Long Island and New York City, based in part on its recent-enacted climate law, is emerging as a possible precedent for other jurisdictions across the U.S.. But legal counters are just as likely, particularly given the Trump administration’s predilection for challenging state authority when it comes to fossil fuel development.

New York Mega-Utility Triples Energy Efficiency Budget to $1.5 Billion

New York state mega-utility Consolidated Edison is tripling its budget for energy efficiency to US$1.5 billion through 2025, in an aggressive program expansion that will include incentives for customers to install ground- and air-source heat pumps to reduce their dependence on natural gas.

Alberta Flooded with Applications for Orphan Well Cleanup Fund

California Oil and Gas Drilling Goes Full Steam Ahead During COVID

New Plan Will Put More EVs of All Sizes on Colorado Roads

Orillia Continues LED Streetlight Project Despite Pandemic

New Quebec City Tram Features Wider Sidewalks, More Parks

Glasgow Unveils Green Hydrogen Bus Plan

EU’s Massive Green Recovery Plan Includes 15-GW Renewables Tender, Support for Green Hydrogen

The European Union is set to propose a massive economic stimulus plan, complete with a 15-gigawatt renewable energy tender and auctions for green hydrogen, that will transform the European Commission’s Green Deal into the world’s greenest recovery package, according to leaked documents released last week by Bloomberg News and Euractiv.

The Interview: Canada Can Create Jobs, Set a ‘Signpost’ for the World in Shift to 100% Renewable Electricity, Hornung Says

Robert Hornung has been president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association since 2003. Last week, CanWEA and the Canadian Solar Industries Association announced they are merging to form the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, with Hornung at the helm. He talked to The Energy Mix about a massive moment of opportunity for solar, wind, and storage, and the importance of speaking with a common voice.

Alberta tar sands oil sands

Alberta Killing Fossil Jobs with Massive Regulatory Rollback, Notley Charges

The Jason Kenney government is under attack for killing fossil sector jobs in the midst of a brutal recession, after the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) suspended most environmental monitoring for the province’s oil and gas producers.

‘Office Centricity is Over’, Shopify Declares, as Tech Companies Embrace Working from Home

Ottawa-based e-commerce giant Shopify has declared itself “digital by default”, joining a growing list of North American tech companies that are rethinking their work arrangements in the wake of the pandemic—with still unpredictable but potentially huge implications for everything from commuter traffic and congestion to the demand for downtown real estate.

Michigan Dam Failures Highlight Risks in Aging Infrastructure, Toxic Sites

Safety officials warn that last week’s double dam failure and resulting, massive flood in Michigan foreshadows a frightening future for aging dams throughout the United States—structures that were never intended to withstand the torrential rains that are arriving with climate change.

Global Cycling Revolution Finding Deep Roots in Toronto

With bike shops reporting thriving sales across Canada and around the world, cycling advocates are pushing hard to ensure that post-pandemic cities include more cycling infrastructure—an evolution that has a lot of public support, even in traditionally car-smitten suburbs.

Ontario Foresters Complete 80% of Annual Planting Despite Pandemic Restrictions

A different kind of essential service is becoming a good news story during the pandemic, with tree-planting activities in Ontario hitting about 80 to 85% of their target for the year in spite of logistical snags due to physical distancing.

Manitoba Cree Take Down Keeyask Hydro Blockade After Protesting COVID-19 Risk

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Orders Bruce Power to Reveal True Cost of Nuclear

Pandemic Slows Down 2.5-GW Wind Procurement in New York

Michigan Utility Drives ‘Wave’ of Solar Development

Minneapolis Leads State in Renewable Electricity

New Quebec Liberal Leader to Emphasize Environment, Economy

New York Races to Make Subway Rides Safer

Eurostar Introduces Sleeper Car from UK to Sweden

Toronto Community Housing Brings Passive House to Alexandra Park

Heiltsuk Nation Turns to Heat Pumps for Cleaner, Cheaper Power

Wisconsin Biogas Project Aims for Renewables Credits

Pandemic Delays Climate Plan Update as Ottawa Mulls Green Recovery Options

A recent wave of policy advocacy aimed at shaping the Canadian government’s green economic stimulus package is beginning to generate media coverage of its own, with the Globe and Mail reporting this week on the “frenzy” now under way “to determine just how—and how much—the federal government’s strategy for economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown will be shaped by its climate change agenda.”

Major Cities Urge Green, Resilient Recovery with ‘No Return to Business as Usual’

There’s no going back to “business as usual” after the COVID-19 pandemic when that previous path had the world on track for at least 3.0°C average global warming, the mayors of more than three dozen major cities declared in a statement of principles released earlier this month.

E-Bikes Sales Spike as Commuters Prep for Return to Work

Lighter and faster than ever, e-bikes are in high demand as lockdown regulations ease and commuters begin to return to work. Add in ever-increasing urban density, and producers are forecasting a bright future for e-bikes as an alternative to a second family car. 

Cyclone Amphan Hits South Asia Communities Already Coping with Pandemic

After initially shaping up as the biggest cyclonic storm South Asia had seen in 20 years, Cyclone Amphan brought less death and damage than expected when it came ashore yesterday, after authorities in India and Bangladesh evacuated more than three million people from the storm’s path.

U.S. Lags in Preparing for a Just Transition to Decarbonization

The United States is failing coal and nuclear plant workers who are seeking a just transition to a decarbonized economy, while their counterparts in many European countries face much better odds. 

Power lines, Mississauga, Canada

Maine Approves New Transmission Line from Quebec to New England

Regulators in Maine have approved a 145-mile, US$950-million transmission line that will carry 1,200 MW of electricity from Quebec to New England.

Vancouver Passive Solar Building Will Deliver 146 Affordable Housing Units

Homes with No Rooftop Exposure Turn to Community Solar

Will Riders Feel Safe Returning to Commuter Rail?

Texas to Restart Shuttered Coal Plant

Nova Scotia Gives Up on $48-Million Wind Plant Investment

Minnesota Scientists Try to Plan Forests of the Future

Community Planners, Homeowners Must Step Up for Fire Suppression

Saudi Arabia Buys Into Canadian Tar Sands/Oil Sands as Norwegian Wealth Fund Declares Blacklist

Saudi Arabia bought into Canada’s two biggest tar sands/oil sands companies, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund jumped ship, and the World Economic Forum highlighted the slow pace of carbon reductions in the Canadian oil and gas industry, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil global fossil markets.

Spain’s Green Recovery Bill Pledges 350,000 Jobs Per Year, Sets 2050 Net-Zero Target, Halts All New Fossil Projects

The Spanish government is expected to table a draft law today that will aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, call an immediate halt to new coal, oil, and gas projects, and ground the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a green transition.

Judges Reverse Ford Government Bid to Cancel Cornwall-Area Wind Farm

The 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm near Cornwall, Ontario is back on the boards, following a court decision that quashed the last-minute decision by Environment Minister Jeff Yurek to cancel the project in December.

1.5¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour: New Mexico Solar Project to Deliver Power at Record-Low Price

A state regulator has approved two new projects that will deliver electricity in southern New Mexico and west Texas at the record-low prices of just US1.5¢ per kilowatt-hour for solar and 2.1¢ for solar plus storage.

‘Landmark Decision’ Blocks Fracked Gas Pipeline in New York State

In what Politico is calling a “landmark decision” grounded in New York State’s “sweeping climate law”, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has rejected a permit for the US$1-billion Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline to supply fracked natural gas to Long Island and New York City.

Edmonton Lays Plans to Reboot, Diversify Local Economy

A new agency unanimously approved by city council in Edmonton, Alberta will oversee the creation of a post–COVID-19 economy—equipped with a C$11-million budget and an advisory table that adds foreign investment, trade, and tourism interests to the usual oil and gas voices. 

B.C. Unveils Orphan Wells Plan

Passive House Design Can Slow COVID’s Spread

Communities Bear Environmental Justice Burden During Pandemic

Minnesota Power Co-op Plans Coal Shutdown

Ontario Company Plans New Cobalt Refinery for EV Batteries

Ohio Utilities, Gas Companies Gang Up Against Village’s Clean Energy Target

New Task Force Touts Hydrogen for Alberta’s ‘Industrial Heartland’

Alberta Designer Looks to Net-Zero Renovations

Canada’s Green Municipal Fund Traces Success Factors from First 20 Years

Ramp Up Training, Break Down Market Barriers to Boost Zero-Carbon Buildings, CaGBC Urges

Canada’s building industry “still has work to do” to acquire the skills and knowledge it’ll need to deliver zero-carbon buildings at scale, even based on the country’s current greenhouse gas reduction target of just 30% by 2030, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) concludes in a report issued last week.

Researchers Cite Urban Density as Solution, Not Cause in Pandemic Spread

It is not density, but instead an inhumane and unhealthy infrastructure rooted in a long history of pervasive inequality and bigotry, that is fuelling the COVID-19 pandemic in the world’s cities, according to several environmental health experts who are urging city planners not to waste a critical insight laid bare by the current health crisis.

WRI ‘Build Back Better’ Webinar Addresses COVID-19 Recovery and Public Transport

As the COVID-19 pandemic makes its relentless sweep across the world’s cities, it is revealing the vital importance of urban public transport systems in delivering essential workers to hospitals, grocery stores, and other critical services the entire community relies on. At WRI’s most recent webinar on how to build back better after the pandemic, panelists pointed to this moment as an opportunity to invest deeper in public transit—not just as an essential system, but as a path to economic recovery. 

High School Transit Training Offers Independence, Confidence to Young Riders

Youth, schools, and communities all stand to gain from a public transit initiative in Kingston, Ontario that is empowering young riders, making (pre-COVID) field trips less costly and more climate-friendly, and encouraging life-long transit ridership.

Orphan Wells Funding Draws ‘Significantly Higher’ Interest Than Expected

The federally-funded program to help clean up thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells left behind by delinquent fossils received nearly 18,000 funding applications from 530 companies in its first four days online, prompting Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan to declare the level of interest “significantly higher” than governments expected.

Bail Out the Living World, Not Its Destroyers, Monbiot Urges

It’s time to attach a Do Not Resuscitate tag to the fossil, airline, and car companies that have been desperately trolling for government bailouts in response to the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, UK essayist and activist George Monbiot argues in a recent post for The Guardian.

C40 Mayors Pledge Green Recovery, ‘No Return to Business as Usual’

New Brunswick Deal Would Revive Dangerous ‘Plutonium Economy’, Edwards Warns

Alberta Hires 200 More Wildland Firefighters

California Renewables, Storage Demand New Approach to Grid Reliability

Senior Republican Senator Celebrates as Wind Hits 40% of Iowa Power Supply

U.S. Rural Transit Systems ‘At Wits’ End’ in COVID Crisis

B.C. Allows Forest Companies to Chop Whole Trees for Pellets if They’re ‘Inferior’

New Alliance Looks to Geothermal to Get Alberta Oil Rigs Back in Use

In what the Globe and Mail calls “a rare united front between environment and energy,” Alberta’s shattered oil drillers are looking to the emerging geothermal industry as a place to get idled rigs back in production and begin a shift to post-carbon energy.

The Interview: Energy Retrofits Can Drive Economic Recovery, But Financing and Logistics Are Key, Torrie Says

Ralph Torrie is a senior associate with the Sustainability Solutions Group, partner in Torrie Smith Associates, and one of Canada’s leading energy and carbon modellers. He’s been focusing on mass, deep energy retrofits as a cornerstone of a green economic recovery, the financing, training, and logistical approaches that will get the job done, and a “very human response” that might be the catalyst for action.

Lockdown-Driven Boost to European Air Quality Saves Thousands of Lives

Over one month of coronavirus lockdown, an estimated 11,000 fewer Europeans have died from illnesses caused by air pollution, and future effects will include 6,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma, 600 fewer preterm births, and far fewer sick days. That has health experts urging a permanent prescription for clearer skies and cleaner air.

Climate Hawks Push Back After Ontario Buys Three Gas Plants for $2.8 Billion [Sign-On]

Ontario Power Generation is receiving serious pushback after one of its subsidiaries announced a C$2.8-billion deal to buy three gas-fired power plants in Halton Hills, Napanee, and Toronto from TC Energy.

Doubling of Impacts by 2030 Points to Need for Flood Protection Investment

With the number of people around the world affected by flooding rivers, storm surges, and sea level rise set to double by 2030, aggressive investment in flood protection infrastructure could prove to be very cost-effective in the long term, the World Resources Institute (WRI) concludes in a recent blog post.

Wet’suwet’en Clans Endorse Governance Agreement with Canada, B.C.

Wet’suwet’en clans in British Columbia have ratified a memorandum of understanding that will see them take back management of their traditional territories, although one clan says the deal doesn’t go far enough in response to the controversial Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline now being built across their lands.

Biden Pledges Tougher Climate Policy, Receives Key Endorsements After Nabbing Democratic Presidential Nomination

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gears up for a fall campaign to defeat Donald Trump, he’s been moving to consolidate support from the less moderate wing of his party, promising to shore up his climate platform, and earning some high-profile endorsements in return.

Newfoundland Presses Ottawa for Fossil Bailout

Kinder Morgan Loses Permits After Texas Construction Spill Fouls Drinking Water

Near-Historic Low Snowpack Forces Yukon Energy to Look Beyond Hydropower

Manitoba Town Maps Groundwater Vulnerability

Oakland Battery Project Suggests New Way to Pay for Storage

Public Parks Can Help Build Local Reslience

Philippe Dunsky

The Interview: Post-COVID Recovery Becomes Added Lens for Climate, Energy Efficiency Programs, Dunsky Says

Philippe Dunsky is President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, a 35-person Canadian firm specialized in accelerating the clean energy transition. In early April, he circulated a sampling of the energy efficiency, clean energy, electric mobility, and climate action plans his firm is continuing to support through the pandemic, with members of his Montreal-based team conducting their work from home. He talked to The Mix about what a future of rapid decarbonization could look like post-coronavirus.

Haley: Governments Need Long-Term Investment to Get Green Stimulus Right

Governments that hope to recapture the gains and avoid the pitfalls of the last big round of economic stimulus more than a decade ago should double down on decarbonization and energy efficiency programs—and take a careful look at the thinking of 1930s-era economist John Maynard Keynes for a guide to the best strategic investments, says Broadbent Institute Policy Fellow Brendan Haley.

Indigenous Group Warns of Possible Tailings Pond Leaks as Spring Floods Inundate Downtown Fort McMurray

With a 24-kilometre ice jam on the Athabasca River causing severe flooding in downtown Fort McMurray, Alberta, a local Indigenous advocacy group is raising flags about a lack of information on possible toxic releases from tar sands/oil sands tailings ponds and holding ponds located alongside the river.

IonE Webinar: What the Media Gets Right—and Wrong—in Climate Coverage

Though media coverage of climate change has improved significantly in recent years, it still fails to adequately convey the scale of the crisis, according to five expert panelists at a webinar hosted earlier this month by the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota.

Canadian-Designed Sensors Helping to Build ‘Smart’ Cities

Once used solely to light commuters’ paths after dark, streetlights can now serve as “technology pillars” for smart city development and maintenance around the world, thanks to a Halifax-based roadway lighting company.

Coal-Heavy Indiana Could Get 16 GW of New Solar

Building Codes Can Deliver Big Emission Cuts for U.S. Cities, States

Smart Meters On Track for $30B in Investment through 2025

California Looks for Cost Savings from Microgrids, E-Buses

B.C. Rethinks EV Charging with Accessibility in Mind

B.C. Designer Gets Go-Ahead for Low-Speed EV

New York Opens Renewables Siting Office to Speed Up Projects

Port Burwell, ON Builds Resilient Stormwater Infrastructure

Parliament Buildings Ottawa Centre Block

Guilbeault, McKenna, Wilkinson Assigned to Chart Post-COVID Green Recovery

Federal cabinet ministers Steven Guilbeault, Catherine McKenna, and Jonathan Wilkinson have been handed responsibility for crafting “an economic recovery plan that aims to accelerate the green shift” as the immediate COVID-19 crisis subsides, La Presse revealed last week

Texas Methane Emissions Hit All-Time High, Global Output Set to Rise as Pandemic Curtails Equipment Maintenance

Methane emissions from the massive Permian Basin shale fields in Texas and New Mexico are more than twice the U.S. government estimate, according to a paper published last week in the journal Science Advances, and experts say global emissions are on track to increase during the COVID-19 crisis as low oil prices push producers to save money on scheduled maintenance of pipelines and other infrastructure.

Alberta_oil_energy

Alberta Pension Fund Manager AIMCo Loses $4 Billion on Bad Fossil Investments

A bad bet on fluctuating oil prices cost Alberta’s public pension funds more than C$4 billion last month, after the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) bought into a collection of contracts that never paid off in a stock market upended by falling oil prices and the global pandemic.

‘Radical Agenda’ in Memo to Ministers Shows Fossil Fuel Lobby Losing Touch

The epic news conference in mid-April where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced C$2.4 billion in job creation funding for the country’s oil and gas workers, but not the $30-billion bailout the industry had demanded, was the second-worst moment in a very bad week for the fossil fuel lobby.

Mid-Density Cities Can Meet Community Needs While Containing Sprawl, Ryerson Report Concludes

An institute at Toronto’s Ryerson University is diving right into the looming debate over urban density in an age of pandemic.

Post-Pandemic ‘Metro Makeovers’ Could Bring Better Pedestrian, Bike Access

Dense cities across Europe are making bike lanes and pedestrian thoroughfares the linchpins in their plans to slowly return citizens to some semblance of normal life—partly in anticipation of a transit-wary public, and partly to double down on a pre-pandemic trend of banning cars from city cores. 

Week 17, April 27: Fossil-Fuel Wind-Down

In 2017, Canada’s oil and gas sector produced 195 Mt of CO2e, accounting for 27% of the country’s emissions. Between 2020 and 2024, oil and gas corporations are planning to invest US$1.4 trillion in new extraction projects, 85% of which are in the U.S. or Canada, 50% of which former Bank of England governor Mark Carney tells us will result in stranded financial assets.

Community Gardens Reopen in Ontario

Provinces Deem EV Charging an Essential Service in Pandemic

FCM Looks to Community Planning to Factor In Climate

Connecticut Marks Earth Day with EV Roadmap

Malartic, Quebec Sets Sights on Active Transportation

The Interview: Pandemic Shows Community Risk of Climate, Air Pollution, Buchanan Says

Sarah Buchanan is Program Manager, Clean Economy at Environmental Defence in Toronto. Her work on clean vehicles and air pollution over the last six months has her focusing on the multiple, overlapping crises communities are facing during the pandemic.

Saskatchewan Analysts See Energy Retrofits, Renewables as ‘Very Practical’ Path to Economic Recovery

As oil prices plummet and coronavirus-hit economies reel, analysts and experts are urging aggressive investment in labour-intensive renewable energy projects and efficiency retrofits as a responsible, cost-efficient, and “very practical” path through—and beyond—the pandemic.

Webinar: New York State Looks to Energy Efficiency for Post-COVID Job Creation

With the COVID crisis shutting down the economy in one of the hardest-hit parts of the United States, New York state is in an all-out push to sustain its energy efficiency industry and the 120,000 jobs it creates, Janet Joseph, senior vice president with the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), told a webinar yesterday.

California Utility Pitches Cleaner Battery Storage to Replace 40-Year-Old Power Plant

A California utility is planning to replace a 40-year-old, Oakland-area power plant running on jet fuel with two lithium-ion battery storage projects.

Ontario Records Big Emissions Spike After Axing Cap and Trade

The national greenhouse gas inventory report that Canada filed with the United Nations last week showed a big increase in Ontario, after several years of steady decline, Toronto-based Environmental Defence reported in a blog post earlier this week.

Citigroup Still Falls Short After Stepping Away from Coal, Arctic Oil and Gas Financing

Citigroup Inc., one of the three largest banks in the United States, is promising to cut off financial services for new and expanded thermal coal mines and power plants, Arctic oil and gas activities, and projects that harm the Outstanding Universal Value of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in an updated energy policy issued Monday.

Two Recent Court Rulings Bring Wins for the Green Economy

Springtime in the U.S. courts brought two pieces of good news for the green economy. A district court in Washington, DC ordered the Trump administration to more closely analyze the impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline, while the Kansas Supreme Court rejected utility efforts to charge high rates to ratepayers with home solar equipment.

Orphan Wells Funding ‘Sends Important Signal’, Clean Energy Canada Says

Mississippi River Towns Brace for Flooding on Top of Virus

Groups Sue U.S. Over ‘Arbitrary’ Limit on Appliance Efficiency

Minnesota Sees Pollution Drop as Renewables Gain

Montreal Considers First ‘Water Square’ to Control Intense Floods

Co-Housing Models New Approach to Energy Use

Passive Solar Infill in Revelstoke Shows Value of Exceeding Building Code Specs

1,000-MW Idaho Wind Farm Could Break Ground in 2022

New Transmission Line to Support Renewables in Arizona, California

690-MW Solar+Storage Project Faces Regulatory Roadblock in Nevada

North Carolina Carbon Capture Plan Aims to ‘Greenwash’ Coal

‘A Major Turning Point’: Trudeau Unveils $1.7 Billion for Abandoned Wells, Resists Fossils’ Bailout Demands

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled C$1.7 billion in new funding to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells and another $750 million to combat methane leakage, part of a $4-billion package for sectors affected by the coronavirus crash, while rejecting fossil industry calls to suspend climate action and regulations during the pandemic.

Ontario Asks Court to Dismiss Youth Climate Case [Petition]

The Ontario government is asking a judge to dismiss a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case filed last November by seven youth climate litigants, claiming the matter shouldn’t be decided in court.

The Interview: Community Values Must Inform Post-COVID Rebuilding, Yano Says

Sherry Yano is Manager of Community Renewable Energy at the David Suzuki Foundation. She talks about the fault lines in society revealed by the COVID crisis and the values that lead to action on environment and social justice.

Canada Records 15-Megatonne Emissions Hike in 2018, Wiping Out 13 Years of Gains

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15 million tonnes between 2017 and 2018, driven by vehicle emissions, oil and gas extraction, and manufacturing, and essentially erasing 13 years of small reductions dating back to 2005.

‘Gobsmacking’ UK Announcement Says Green Transport Must Become Citizens’ First Choice

The UK government recently declared that meeting the nation’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 will require that public transit, cycling, and other forms of active transport become “the natural first choice” for citizens—a statement that transport policy experts and active travel campaigners found happily “gobsmacking,” reports BBC News.

Week 16, April 20: An Efficient Renewable Energy Grid

To ensure that Canada’s power utilities continue to produce reliable, dispatchable power through the transition to 100% renewable energy, we will provide $100 million in Renewable Grid Research Grants over 10 years to develop improved systems of utility power storage and grid reliability.

NS Fossil Pieridae Delays Decision on LNG Export Terminal

Virginia Governor Signs 2045 Carbon-Free Energy Mandate

Kentucky Coal Closures Produce Reduction in Hospital Admissions

Alberta Stands By Massive Keystone Subsidy Despite U.S. Court Ruling

Urban Farming Could Supply 122% of Sheffield, UK’s Produce

Kansas Court Delivers Unexpected Win for Rooftop Solar

Major U.S. Pipelines Run Through Local ‘News Deserts’

Massachusetts Pushes Grid to Use Renewables for Costly Peak Power

Award-Winning Low-Energy Retrofit Needn’t Be the Exception

Three Workers Test Positive for COVID-19 at Kearl Lake Tar Sands/Oil Sands Complex

The Alberta is maintaining that the Kearl Lake tar sands/oil sands complex 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray must remain open as an essential service, after three workers tested positive for COVID-19 and six others went into isolation pending test results.

WRI Webinar: Nations, Cities Can ‘Build Back Better’ after Pandemic

As governments attempt to steer their economies through the mounting economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulus packages should focus on fostering new models of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, according to panelists at a webinar hosted earlier this month by the World Resources Institute (WRI). 

Major U.S. Transmission Projects Keep On Pushing to Bring Renewable Power to Market

After a tough decade of regulatory and public hurdles for new electricity transmission projects in the United States, Greentech Media is out with a profile of nine major lines that are at various stages of review and approval.

Cambridge, Ontario Automation Company Lands $60M Order for EV Equipment

Vancouver’s Ballard Power to Supply Fuel Cells for German Buses

New Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Faced Scandal in Saskatchewan

COVID Lockdown Shifts California’s Daily Electricity Demand

Cap and Trade Revenue Helps California Cut Power Bills During Pandemic

New York Auction Nabs Almost 1.3 GW of Wind, Solar

Community Scrambles as New York’s Last Coal Plant Gets Set to Close

Texas Closes Big Solar Deal Despite Coronavirus

Utah Becomes Red State Template for 100% RE

Major New Transmission Line Nabs Missouri Supreme Court Approval

Michigan County Burns Recyclables for Electricity as Pandemic Curbs Pickups

The Interview: Pandemic Experience Puts Spotlight on Local Resilience, Self-Sufficiency, Logtenberg Says

Rik Logtenberg is a city councillor in Nelson, British Columbia, founder of Climate Caucus, a national network of mayors and councillors, and the developer of Nudj, a software platform for mobilizing change.

Amsterdam Turns to ‘Doughnut Economics’ for Equitable Post-Pandemic Recovery

Determined to eschew the dogma of growth at all costs and the reflexive dictates of supply and demand, the city of Amsterdam is vowing to embrace the “doughnut model” of social and planetary boundaries as it plans its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Subnational Leadership ‘Essential’ in Climate, COVID-19 Crises

Informed, cooperative, and compassionate bipartisan leadership at all governmental levels is helping U.S. citizens weather the pandemic, just as such subnational leadership has proven to be an essential agent in the climate crisis fight.

Week 15, April 13: First Nations and Rural Opportunities

In the Yukon, $200 million is spent each year to import diesel to provide power and heat for the territory’s 40,000 people, averaging $5,000 per person, $25,000 for a family of five.

Orphan Well Cleanup Could Be Big Job Creator

Michigan Anti-Fracking Initiative Could Land on November Ballot

San Francisco Start-Up Helps Grids Keep Up with Renewables

Young Chicago Entrepreneur Pushes Auto Dealers to Embrace Electrics

Green Designers Weigh In on Canada’s New Building Code

Use Pandemic Stimulus to Create Clean Energy Jobs, Canadian Associations Urge Ottawa

The federal government’s economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic must signal continuity in climate policy, provide “sufficient, sustained, and sustainable stimulus”, and use existing programs to quickly support clean energy solutions, a dozen leading energy transition associations said last week, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coordinated by Clean Energy Canada.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oil_Derrick,_near_Ponoka,_Alberta,_Canada.jpg

Alberta Demands Fossil Relief While Neglected Tech Firms Plan Their Exit

While Alberta blasts Ottawa for slow delivery of its fossil industry bailout package, the Jason Kenney government is hearing from high tech entrepreneurs who are preparing to leave the province over its steadfast refusal to build a more diversified economy.

COVID-19 Risks Prompts Calls to Shut Down Fossil and Hydro Man Camps, Pipeline Construction [Sign-ons]

From the Site C hydro megaproject to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines, from the tar sands/oil sands in northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, fossil workers with little opportunity for physical distancing are finding themselves at higher risk of contracting COVID-19—and in most cases, raising anxieties for nearby First Nations and other rural communities with limited resources to deal with an outbreak.

Post-Pandemic Employment Will Hinge on Green Energy as Fossil Jobs Slide

With projected oilfield job losses of 30% by the end of 2020, the fossil sector is likely to remain highly embattled after the threat of COVID-19 has abated, with little ability to create new jobs. But the job-intensive green energy sector could be set to flourish, particularly if policy-makers include some variant of a Green New Deal in their plans for secondary stimulus packages, a new analysis shows.

Pandemic-Mandated Car-Free Streets Are an ‘Epiphany Moment’

Chicago city planners looking to help their citizens keep fit during the pandemic—mentally as well as physically—are being encouraged to close streets to cars and open them up to cyclists and pedestrians, thereby taking a step forward to a climate-friendly world more favourable to transit, bike lanes, and walking.

California Looks to Double Green Energy Capacity, Cut Emissions by 2030

New solar and storage facilities—and no new gas plant approvals—are the cornerstones of California’s recently-released plan to drastically reduce emissions to just 46 megatonnes by 2030, and hit a 100% renewable energy target by 2045.

New York Buys Renewables at 1.86¢/kWh

Fracking Weighs Down Pennsylvania County as Pandemic Recession Hits

Ontario Gas Tax Pours $1.89M Into Peterborough Transit

Manchester, UK Aims to Halve Emissions by 2025

LA Aims for First with Renewable Hydrogen

Washington State Extends ZEV Mandate to Medium-Duty Vehicles

PUC Plan Could Slow California’s Progress on Electrified Transport

Regulator in Iowa Agrees to Double Capacity of Dakota Access Pipeline

Indiana Legislators Give Coal Plants a One-Year Extension

56,000 Demand Retraining for Oil and Gas Workers, Funding for Renewables, as Fossils Push for Bailout

With the Canadian government still tight-lipped at week’s end on the bailout package it’s crafting for the country’s pandemic-ravaged fossil sector, 56,000 online petitioners demanded the government invest in the oil and gas work force, not shareholders, while new analyses showed how the right investments could position the country for a stronger, greener recovery.

Bank of Montreal, RBC, BlackRock Among the Backers for Alberta’s ‘Reckless’ Keystone XL Subsidy

The Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and TD are among the banks that are being called out for funding the Alberta government’s “reckless” decision to back the contentious Keystone XL pipeline with nearly C$8 billion in financial aid.

New Pembina Head Linda Coady Sees Pandemic Relief, New Corporate Attitudes as Drivers for Low-Carbon Future

Collaboration, common ground, economic stimulus, and future resilience were the watchwords last week as Linda Coady, former chief sustainability officer at Enbridge Inc., signed on as the new executive director of the Calgary-based Pembina Institute.

Week 14, April 6: Renewable Electricity

In 2017, the generation of electricity from fossil fuels produced 74 Mt (10.3%) of Canada’s emissions. Renewable energy has become the cheapest option for new power generation. Onshore wind and solar PV power are now less expensive than any fossil-fuel option, without financial assistance.

Honolulu Sues Fossils for Climate Costs

Ann Arbor, Michigan Puts $1B Behind 2030 Net-Zero Target

U.S. Architects Set Sights on Carbon-Neutral Construction

Keystone XL to Start Construction with $8 Billion in Financial Aid from Alberta

Calgary-based TC Energy is starting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska, after the Jason Kenney government announced a US$1.1-billion “strategic investment” and put up another $4.2 billion in loan guarantees to underwrite the fiercely-contested project.

Alberta Suspends All Environmental Reporting, Cuts Back Fossil War Room

The Jason Kenney government in Alberta is cutting its pro-fossil war room back to “subsistence operations” over the next three months, after intuiting that a global pandemic isn’t the best time to be blasting out marketing messages for the oil and gas industry.

Pembina Praises Ottawa for ‘Staying the Course’ on Carbon Price Increase

By sticking to its original plan to increase its floor price on carbon from C$20 to $30 per tonne April 1, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is sending a “positive signal to investors” and delivering the certainty needed to build a more resilient economy, the Pembina Institute said in a release yesterday.

‘Now Is the Time’ for Food Security Planning, Dauncey Urges

With the pandemic posing an increasing threat to food security, policy-makers need to be thinking hard, and quickly, about how to protect the supply chain—from farm to store to table—with timely attention to building greater long-term resilience into the systems that sustain our food supply, Canadian author and climate hawk Guy Dauncey writes in a recent post.

Community Gardeners Object After Ontario Deems Food Production ‘Recreation’ During Pandemic [Sign-On]

With tens of thousands across the province relying on community gardens for affordable, local food, the Ontario government made a big mistake when it included them in its list of recreational activities to be shut down in the effort to #FlattenTheCurve on the coronavirus pandemic, a non-profit food security group warns in a release this week.

Canadian Cities Stepping up with Sustainable Land Use

Affordability, equity, quality of life, and climate resilience are emerging as key objectives in sustainable land use practices being developed by municipalities across Canada—and those objectives are actually being achieved thanks to a strong evidence base, robust community engagement, and close working relationships within and between public and private sector partners.

Extreme Weather Response Holds Answers to COVID-19’s ‘Slow-Motion Hurricane’

The COVID-19 pandemic is a kind of “slow-motion hurricane”, and lessons from past hurricane disasters can help guide us through it, according to a seasoned expert in extreme weather events. What’s needed is calm, non-partisan leadership that takes decisive, expertise-based action, emphasizes collective protection of the vulnerable, and tries to pre-empt both foolish and selfish behaviours. 

Tesla Fudged Injury Reports, California Regulator Charges

New York Storage Market Grows Faster Than Expected

Berlin Targets 25% Solar by 2050

Houston Wasn’t Ready for Oil Price Crash

Cleanse the Air to Help #FlattenTheCurve, Doctors Urge

While physical distancing and handwashing (have you washed your hands recently??) are essential strategies to #FlattenTheCurve on the coronavirus pandemic, governments can also reduce the load on the health care system by keeping the air as clean as possible, three public health and respiratory medicine specialists from British Columbia argue in a post for the Globe and Mail.

Canada-Wide Poll Shows Wide Support for Albertans, ‘Warning Signal’ Against Industry Bailout

Canadians across the country, and of all ages and political stripes, support federal government assistance to an oil and gas sector facing record-low oil prices in the midst of a global pandemic. But there’s no indication in survey results released last week by Abacus Data whether anyone wants to see the money directed to Alberta fossil companies and their shareholders.

Scotford Upgrader Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Shell Postpones ‘Crucial Maintenance’ on Alberta Upgrader to Minimize COVID-19 Risk

Shell Canada is postponing what the Calgary Herald describes as “crucial maintenance” on its Scotford tar sands/oil sands upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, to minimize transmission of the coronavirus.

E-Commerce Giants Produce Lower Emissions, But Fail on Workers’ Respiratory Health

While e-commerce heavyweights like Amazon generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional bricks-and-mortar shops, online shopping is still producing massive amounts of local pollution, according to a recent report. That in turn is driving higher levels of asthma and other lung diseases—a particularly frightening health risk as COVID-19 continues to spread.

AccuWeather Predicts Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season

Meteorologists at commercial weather service AccuWeather are forecasting the fifth straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with a projection of 14 to 18 tropical storms between June 1 and November 30, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes, and two to four of which will strengthen to major hurricanes.

Kenney Seeks North American Oil Cartel to Counter Saudi Price Cuts

While the collapse of OPEC and the subsequent crash of global oil markets has Alberta Premier Jason Kenney musing about setting up a North American cartel to control prices, it isn’t at all clear that the Canadian government will back the idea.

Oregon Protesters Try Necessity Defence for First Time

All-Electric Homes Set to Boom in U.S.

Net-Zero, Energy Poverty Demand Fixing Existing Homes

New NYC Building Code Mandates Energy Efficiency

Urban Freight is the Next Frontier

Renewable Energy

Pandemic Response Should Mobilize Around Low-Carbon Solutions

With the coronavirus pandemic devastating the global economy and pushing world oil prices over a cliff, the federal government has two potential options in dealing with the oil and gas industry. It can give in to the predictable lobbying from fossil fuel interests, or it can use the virtual shutdown of the economy for industry mobilization. A post for Policy Options by Mitchell Beer

Fossil Bailout is ‘Hours or Days Away’, Morneau Pledges

A federal aid package for Canadian fossil companies is just hours or days away, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a Senate committee Wednesday, as the industry’s capital spending cuts hit C$6.5 billion and the price of western Canadian crude oil fell as low as US$9.09 per barrel.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

Proposed Alberta Coal Mine Expansion Evades Federal Review

Alberta’s proposed Vista thermal coal mine has tweaked its expansion plans to just below the dimensions that would trigger a federal review, opening Canada to charges of hypocrisy on the world stage.

Judge Bars Alton Gas Approval, Demands Consultation with Mi’kmaq

Februrary Sets Record for New Rooftop Solar in Australia

O’Regan Touts ‘Affordable, Safe’ Nuclear

Hotels, Farms, Schools Drive Distributed Solar Growth in Spain

New York Hosts Hackathon to Cut Energy Use in Buildings

Grid Connections, Land Use Stall Massachusetts Solar

UK Environment Agency Urges No More Homes on Flood Plains

Analysis: Fossil Bailout Not the Prescription for Canada’s Fiscal Health

Shovels or ladders?

That is the stark choice facing Justin Trudeau and Parliament as they consider aiding western Canada’s giant tar sands/oil sands producers, which can now sell their oil for only about US$10 per barrel. One year ago, the sales price was US$55. By Paul McKay.

Invest Bailout Dollars in People, Not Fossil Companies, Climate Campaigners Urge Trudeau

The federal government is under intensifying pressure to invest its widely-anticipated oil and gas bailout wisely, with a group of environmental, labour, and faith groups representing about 1.3 million people urging Ottawa to direct the funds to workers and families, not fossil companies.

Borealis Lodge man camp Fort McMurray

Anxious Workers at Fossil Man Camps Brace for ‘Hellish’ COVID-19 Outbreak

Anxious tar sands/oil sands workers are bracing for a “hellish” outbreak of COVID-19 in the man camps surrounding tar sands/oil sands, coal, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) megaprojects in Alberta and British Columbia, with one major LNG developer cutting its onsite staff but Alberta fossils planning to import thousands of temporary workers for their heaviest maintenance season in five years.

U.S. Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for Transit Funding, Fills Gap in Green New Deal

Americans of all political stripes are increasingly supportive of expanded public transit, and there is a growing conviction that there should be more restrictions on new road creation, according to a recent poll on behalf of Transportation for America (T4America). 

Week 12, March 23: Zero Emissions Railways, Freight and Heavy Equipment

Canada has 46,000 kilometres of railways, almost all of which operate on diesel. In 2017, GHGs from the rail sector were 6.6 Mt CO2e, representing 0.9% of Canada’s 716 Mt. Only 129 kilometres are electrified. Studies indicate that electrification costs around $5 million per kilometre. This suggests that spread over 20 years, complete electrification would cost $230 billion, $11.5 billion a year, or $32,400 per tonne of avoided CO2e.

Severe Weather, Adaptation to Cost Canadian Cities $5.3B Per Year

Wildfire-Weary California Looks to Batteries for Solution

U.S. Agency Cites Air Conditioning as Fastest-Growing Energy Use in Buildings

Nova Scotia Plans $110-Million Refurbishment for Wreck Cove Hydro Plant

B.C. Mayor Wants $4M from Province After Heavy Rains Damage Park

Unregulated Tar Sands/Oil Sands Emissions May Undercut Canada’s Methane Reductions

Although Canada can still meet its 2025 deadline to reduce methane releases from conventional oil and gas production by 40 to 45%, those gains could be wiped out by methane increases in tar sands/oil sands operations that aren’t subject to regulation, a new report concludes.

Florida to Require Sea Level Rise Studies for Coastal Construction

Florida may soon require sea level rise studies before approving publicly-funded construction projects in coastal areas, under legislation adopted unanimously last week by the state House of Representatives.

Commissioner Scorches Newfoundland’s ‘Blind Trust’ in Troubled Muskrat Falls Megaproject

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is calling in the police and the provincial justice department, following the release of a scathing report last week that found a previous provincial government failed to protect residents’ interests during construction of the 824-megawatt, C$12.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject.

NYC Billy ‘Idle’ Campaign Dodges Root Causes of Air Pollution

New York City’s recent announcement of a US$1-million anti-idling campaign featuring British glam rocker Billy Idol may be witty, but what the community really needs is the political will to take more cars off city streets—an unlikely prospect, given Mayor Bill de Blasio’s penchant for governing “from a windshield perspective,” writes Grist.

Michigan Queries ‘Troubling’ Track Record of Enbridge’s Line 5 Contractor

Trump Pushes Cities to Evict Homeowners in Flood Zones

Five U.S. States Block Cities’ Bids to Ban Natural Gas

FCM Looks Back on Local Climate Action Across Canada

Morneau Unveils Business Loans, Kenney Seeks ‘Unity’ as Coronavirus Crash Roils Alberta

Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled C$10 billion in new credit for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney called for greater “unity” and less partisanship, and Alberta fossils announced deep cuts in their 2020 spending plans as Canada began grappling with the double-hit of a coronavirus-driven economic slowdown and crashing global oil prices.

Benefits of Telecommuting May Outlast Virus Outbreak

Work-from-home policies being implemented around the world in an urgent effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 could create a significant long-term boost to climate action plans, both by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building future resilience.

Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Transit Free

Maryland Aims for Transition Off Coal

Wind Delivers 40.2% of Oklahoma’s Power in 2019 (Inhofe’s Hot Air Not Included)

California Home Heat Pump Company Gears Up

Climate-Conscious U.S. Cities Are Often the Least Affordable

coronavirus COVID-19

Climate Action Can Deliver Economic Stimulus After Coronavirus Crash: Abreu

With the rapid spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) driving an economic slowdown and triggering a steep drop in global oil prices, national governments are considering their options for economic stimulus—prompting analysts and advocates to wonder whether a new package of government incentives and subsidies will undercut carbon reduction goals or reinforce them.

Quebec to Double Climate Spending Through 2026, But Details Still to Follow

The Quebec government released a budget yesterday that doubles spending on climate change to C$6.2 billion over six years, beginning in 2021, using surplus power from provincial utility Hydro-Québec to drive a 37.5% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. But details of the plan are still months away, and two major environmental groups say it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Tar Sands/Oil Sands See Sharp Decline in Capital Spending, Job Creation

Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands have shifted decisively into a “mature” phase of development in which job creation and capital spending will continue to lag and new technologies will replace a large share of the work force laid off due to “lower-for-longer” oil prices between 2014 and 2016, according to a new analysis this week by the Edmonton-based Parkland Institute.

Baltimore Case against Big Oil to Proceed in State Court

Baltimore citizens seeking to hold Big Oil liable for the devastating consequences of its activities had cause to celebrate last week when an appeals court denied the industry’s bid to have the case moved to a more sympathetic federal court. The suit is one of several under way that target the “elaborate disinformation campaign” intended to suppress public knowledge about the climate-destroying impacts of fossil fuel burning. 

Climate Gentrification Threatens Miami Neighbourhood

The impoverished but vibrant neighbourhood of Little Haiti in Miami is falling prey to the forces of climate gentrification, as wealthy Floridians begin fleeing their beachfront homes in response to rising sea levels. Anxious to preserve the Haitian soul of their community and keep property values within reach, locals are fighting back.

Alberta Turns Abandoned Oil Wells into Solar Farms

Salt Lake City Mayor Pledges Climate Action

New Hampshire to Probe Sea Level Threat to Coastal Highways

ACEEE Cites Microgrids, Solar+Storage for Municipal Resilience

Buffett Fund Backs Out of Quebec LNG Project as Hearings Begin, Community Opposition Mounts

U.S. investment legend Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway industrial conglomerate has decided not to sink C$4 billion into Canada’s next controversial fossil pipeline, the GNL Québec pipeline and liquefied natural gas terminal in the Saguenay region, just as environmental hearings and grassroot opposition to the project begin gearing up.

Carbon Reductions, ‘Clean Growth’ Remain Top Priorities for Federal Budget: Morneau

While contingency planning for the coronavirus is gaining prominence as a focus for this year’s federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says carbon reductions and energy sector transformation will still be a major priority.

‘Think Green’ Stickers in Alberta Mask Extreme White Nationalist Message

An ostensibly pro-environment message on a poster showing up on lamp posts in downtown Red Deer, Alberta links back to an extreme white nationalist website that was already on the radar of anti-racism campaigners, reports the Edmonton bureau of the Toronto Star.

Torrie: Mass, Deep Energy Retrofits Put Net-Zero Emissions Within Reach

A program of mass, deep energy retrofits to dramatically increase the efficiency of Ottawa’s existing building stock must be at the centre of the city’s plan to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, veteran energy modeller Ralph Torrie told a packed house at Ottawa’s Impact Hub late last month.

Australia Working Toward Net Zero Despite Federal Stonewalling

Continued attempts by Scott Morrison’s government to downplay the climate crisis and obstruct solutions in Australia are proving to be increasingly out of step with public opinion, as state and local governments—as well as business interests, environmentalists, and ordinary people—fight to decarbonize the country by 2050. 

Bahamas Fights to Rebuild after Devastating Hurricanes

Six months after Hurricane Dorian came roaring ashore in the Bahamas, locals are still struggling to repair their own shattered lives, depending on each other and the ongoing commitment of international charities. Meanwhile, government efforts are focused on rebuilding the island nation’s tourist economy.

Virginia Legislation Enshrines 100% RE Target, Limits Utility Charges for Early Fossil Closures

The latest session of the Virginia state legislature ended with a flurry of activity on renewable energy, climate change, and grid renewal, including a 100% renewable energy target, one of the most ambitious energy storage targets in the United States, a carbon cap-and-trade program compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and a bill aimed at putting ratepayers first as mammoth utility Dominion Energy moves to shut down high-emitting coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Alberta Increases Carbon Tax to Match Ottawa’s, While Manitoba Proposes Lower Rate

Despite continuing court action seeking to overturn the federal floor price on carbon, Alberta has announced an increase in its industrial carbon tax, while Manitoba looks to introduce a tax regime that still falls short of the federal one.

Week 10, March 9: Walking, Cycling and Transit

Transportation produces 174 Mt of CO2e emissions a year, accounting for 24% of Canada’s emissions. We need to reduce this to zero by 2040.

Winfield: Energy Conservation Must Take Centre Stage in Ontario

UK Promises £5 Billion for Transit, Cycling

Devon, UK Connects First Subsidy-Free Community Solar to Grid