SNAPSHOT: Fossil Divestment Gains Momentum as Global Finance Begins to Realign

 
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2018 saw major progress in the determined push for fossil fuel divestment and realignment of the world’s financial flows to drive faster decarbonization. But there was still more work to be done.

In September, just ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, 350.org reported that the global fossil divestment movement had reached US$6.24 trillion in assets under management, a 120-fold increase over four years. And after years of seeing the campaign dismissed as impractical or unrealistic, there was a definite “said it couldn’t be done” tone to 350’s announcement. “Since it was first launched by students as a moral call to climate action in 2011, the fossil fuel divestment movement has grown tremendously in impact and scope, with new divestment commitments from a broad array of institutions ranging from medical associations, to religious institutions, to museums, which are dropping fossil fuel company sponsorships,” 350 noted. “In 2018, the movement also saw new growth outside the United States and Europe, with divestment commitments from Pakistan, India, Fiji, and Bangladesh.”

In the course of the year, Norway edged closer to a decision to drop the $40 billion in oil and gas stocks it holds in its $1-trillion sovereign wealth fund, the mayors of London and New York City urged their counterparts around the world to dump their fossil investments, and New York promised $5 billion in divestment by 2023. The Royal Bank of Scotland cut funding for Arctic oil and tar sands/oil sands projects and tightened up its loan criteria for coal. Irish parliamentarians voted to divest from fossil fuels, UK solar entrepreneur and advocate Jeremy Leggett said the iconic Lloyd’s of London was 25 years late in its decision to divest from coal, and the McGill University senate in Montreal voted in favour of divestment.

Fossil executives searched for public relations strategies to combat the growing divestment movement. BP CEO Bob Dudley called for trillions in new fossil spending and cast climate risk disclosure as a danger to his industry. Big institutional investors demanded a sharper climate focus as colossal fossils entered annual meeting season in late May, but Exxon shareholders still committed a “failure of epic proportions” by declining to set a higher standard for climate risk disclosure.

The big HSBC bank cut off investment in Arctic drilling, tar sands/oil sands, and most coal projects. The world’s biggest insurer, Allianz, dropped its coverage for coal projects, ING announced a new “science-based approach” to aligning its €500-billion lending portfolio toward the Paris targets, and the Financial Times called it a “welcome and logical development” that the insurance industry was backing away from coal and other fossils. “A pressing question,” the paper editorialized, “is whether there are some activities that the global insurance industry should not make possible. Climate campaigners are calling on insurers to stop providing cover for the coal industry, arguing that it is both a moral imperative and a matter of self-interest, given the rising costs to insurers of natural disasters and the havoc global warming could wreak on their business models.” An international campaign urged reinsurers to do the same, and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis predicted that “other industrial behemoths” would follow the lead of Tokyo-based conglomerate Marubeni in stepping away from future coal projects.

Changing investor perceptions were pointing toward declining demand for oil. A big U.K. investment fund demanded that the chair of Loblaws resign over the company’s slow response to the climate crisis. Canadian banks were said to be swinging into action as investors demanded a closer look at the carbon risk in their portfolios, but 44% of Canadian companies were still failing to disclose that risk. Low-carbon stock indices were getting more mainstream attention from fund managers, and British Columbia faced scrutiny over its C$1 billion per year in fossil subsidies, largely devoted to building up its liquefied natural gas industry.

But against that uptick in activity, a Sierra Club report in early April showed private banks around the world, including Canada’s Big Five, increasing their fossil fuel investments by 11% and their tar sands/oil sands financing by 111% in 2017. A close connection to fossils was giving Canadian banks a continuing interest in the industry’s continuing growth, and too many big insurers were still undercutting the Paris Agreement with their coal and tar sands/oil sands investments. Multilateral banks were falling short as well, as dollars for fossil projects continued to flow, although the World Bank turned down financing for a new 500-megawatt coal plant in Kosovo, leaving the Kosovar government to seek financial support from the Trump administration.

The rewards for accelerated fossil divestment were clearly sweet. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate concluded that the post-carbon transition would produce at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, create more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, prevent 700,000 premature deaths, and deliver $2.8 trillion in government revenues in a single year. The second edition of French President Emmanuel Macron’s One World Summit delivered a flurry of new financing commitments during Climate Week in New York City, as an investor-led revolution began pulling financing away from fossil fuels. Environmental Defence climate and energy program manager Patrick DeRochie asserted that green investment and fossil divestment go hand in hand, and the CEO of the $300-billion Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, Michael Sabia, urged big investors to get onboard a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity. Analysts expected breakaway growth for green bonds in 2018, and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board closed renewable energy investment deals in India and Ontario.

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The European Union has introduced an important “caveat” in its much-touted green recovery plan, with Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans admitting that natural gas will “continue to play a key role in replacing coal while helping to build a hydrogen infrastructure at least cost,” Euractiv reports.

Weak Economy Drives Down U.S. Gas Consumption: EIA

UK’s Biggest Pension Plan Manager Unfriends Coal

Malaysia Plans 1-GW Solar Tender for Pandemic Recovery

Put Stimulus Funds Into Promising Pilot Projects, Smart Prosperity Urges

Skill-Building Program for Fossil Transition Runs Out of Funds

Amazon Buys 615 MW of Renewables in China, Australia

Six in 10 in High-Risk U.S. Flood Zones Have No Insurance

Charleston, SC Approves $2B Seawall in Bid to Protect Historic Downtown

Now-Bankrupt Coal Company Spent $1M to Fight Ohio Renewables Law

Alberta Fossils Plot Reboot on Higher Oil Prices

Fossils’ Five-Year Spending Plan Shows $17.5B for Renewables, $166B for New Oil and Gas

Despite fossils’ loud claims to be taking the climate crisis and the renewable energy transition seriously, they only plan to spend US$17.5 billion on solar and wind projects over the next five years. And one company—Equinor, the Norwegian state fossil previously known as Statoil—accounts for $10 billion of that total, new analysis by Rystad Energy shows.

Alberta_oil_energy

Fossils Complain About Tough Terms Attached to Canadian Pandemic Relief

Fossil companies are complaining bitterly about the conditions the federal government has placed on the pandemic relief loans it’s making available to them, claiming that not a single oilpatch business has benefited from the program.

U.S. Green Jobs Program Earns Cross-Party Support

The idea of a green jobs creation program is receiving bipartisan support in the United States as policy-makers grapple with the twin spectres of skyrocketing unemployment and escalating ecological breakdown—perfect timing, as recent high school graduates pile onto the ranks of millions of Americans desperate for work in a COVID-ravaged economy.

Energy Efficiency, Trades Training Could Combat Women’s Job Loss in COVID-19 ‘She-Cession’

With job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting women more seriously than men, it’s time to increase women’s participation in energy efficiency jobs, writes Natalie Irwin, director of stakeholder engagement at Efficiency Canada.

Week 22, June 1: Regenerative Forestry

It is not our emissions as such that are causing the climate emergency: it is our accumulated emissions. Our world therefore faces not one but two climate challenges: Reducing human-caused emissions to zero, and bringing the atmospheric burden of carbon down to its pre-industrial level.

Outside Accountants to Probe AIMCo’s $2.1B Loss

Floating Wind Project Off France Nets European Investment Bank Support

Spain’s Iberdola Ramps Up Investment with 900-MW Wind Buy

Six New Wisconsin Solar Farms to Deliver 675 MW, Power 175,000 Homes

Smart Prosperity Institute Publishes Resilient Recovery Framework

EV Charger Investments Would Help U.S. Pull Out of Pandemic Recession

Canadian Real Estate Giant Launches Green Bond Framework

UK Fossil Working in Iraq Was Paid Zero to Pump Oil in March

Toronto Transit Faces 50% Service Cut Without Federal, Provincial Funding [Urgent Sign-On]

Public transit advocates have launched an emergency appeal for federal funding for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), after Mayor John Tory announced the system faces a 50% service cut without federal and provincial support.

200+ Groups Representing 40 Million Health Workers Call for Health, Climate Reform

Health workers around the world have joined together to deliver an open letter to G20 leaders urging them to implement post-pandemic recovery plans that prioritize human and environmental health—with key signatories representing more than 40 million individual medical professionals. 

Newfoundland Fossils Demand Big Federal Bailout While Drilling Program Faces Legal Challenge

Fossils in Newfoundland and Labrador are warning that the industry crash brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has thrown exploration commitments worth billions of dollars into limbo, raising questions about the province’s previous plan to double the size of its oil and gas sector by 2030.

Fossil Shareholders, Executives Gain While Companies Falter, New Analyses Show

Four of the world’s five biggest fossils are paying money out to their shareholders faster than they’re taking it in, and a good number of U.S. fossil executives can expect lavish payouts while their companies crash around their ears, according to separate analyses this week by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and the Reuters news agency.

It’s 2030. Here’s How Calgary Transformed Itself into a Cleantech Capital.

The city at the heart of the Alberta oilpatch can transform itself into a cleantech capital by the end of this decade if it makes the right decisions and brings together the needed investment now, Calgary-based environmental lawyer Jeremy Barretto argues in an opinion piece for CBC.

EV Uptake Continues as COVID-19 Thumps European Auto Industry

European electric vehicle registrations doubled in the first quarter of 2020, even as total car registrations fell more than 25%, prompting clean mobility advocates to urge more incentives while fossil car manufacturers plead for bailouts and clemency on climate action.

Solar Microgrids Deliver Multiple Wins for Refugee Camps

Non-polluting, cost-effective, and mercifully quiet, solar microgrids may make the dirty, noisy, and expensive fossil-powered generators that are ubiquitous in humanitarian relief efforts a thing of the past—a gift both for traumatized asylum seekers and cash-strapped aid organizations. 

UN Climate Conference Rescheduled for November 2021

Britain has announced that the next UN climate conference, originally planned for Glasgow in November, will be delayed a full year, to November 1-12, 2021.

Mayo Clinic Loses $45 Million on Fossil Investment Gone Bad

Oxford Advances from Divestment to Net-Zero Investment

Butts, Lourie Head New Green Recovery Advisory Council

Pandemic, U.S.-China Trade War Drive Renewable Energy ‘Pivot’ in Asia

Shell Turns to ‘Voluntary’ Layoffs to Conserve Scarce Cash

Investment Writer Gives Up on Kinder Morgan

Early Coal Plant Closure Will Cut Costs for Wisconsin Ratepayers

Coal Utility Uniper Uses Investor Dispute Clause to Fight Netherlands Phaseout

44-MW Solar Project Delivers Big Savings for Philadelphia Transit Agency

Indiana Farmers Use Solar to Help Cover Costs

Colorado Utility Agrees to $23.4M Microgrid

Bioplastics Start-Up Raises $133M to Replace Single-Use Plastics

BREAKING: Canada Leads G20 in Per Capita Public Financing to Oil and Gas

Canada has lavished at least C$13.8 billion per year in public financing on oil and gas projects since signing on to the Paris climate agreement, making it the fossil industry’s highest per capita source of public finance in the G20, and their second-largest overall benefactor after China, according to a blistering new report issued today by Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth U.S.

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.

150 Canadian Non-Profits, Campaign Groups Launch Just Recovery Principles

A group of 150 non-profit and campaign organizations of Canada have launched a set of six principles for a just recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Rwanda Emerges as Climate Leader with Updated 2030 Carbon Target

One of the world’s poorest countries became one of its more ambitious climate leaders last week, when Rwanda became the first African nation to promise deeper greenhouse gas emission reductions and a more ambitious approach to climate adaptation by 2030.

Green Hydrogen Projects Set to Skyrocket, Though Pandemic Could Slow Investors Down

Interest in “green” hydrogen produced from renewable electricity has been skyrocketing over the last several months, with global interest in electrolyser projects—particularly large ones—tripling between October 2019 and March 2020, according to an updated report released last month by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Bloated Military Budget Undercuts U.S. Ability to Fund Health, Address Climate

With an annual budget of US$700 billion-plus, and an outsized—and morally compromised—standing as the ultimate defender of the national interest, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has flourished at the expense of agencies far better positioned to protect the public, like those dedicated to preserving public health and solving the climate crisis.

Alberta Flooded with Applications for Orphan Well Cleanup Fund

New Zealand Budgets $1.1B for Environmental Restoration

Recession Could Curtail Up to 150 GW of South Pacific Renewables Projects

Morgan Stanley Tightens Rules for Coal Lending

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.

South Korea Faces Big Challenges in Implementing ‘Stunningly Ambitious’ Green New deal

National elections last month amounted to an endorsement of a “stunningly ambitious” national climate policy put forward by South Korea’s Democratic Party under President Moon Jae-in. But now, the hard work begins to bring that commitment to life in a country that is deeply locked in to coal-fired electricity and faces a “painful, controversial but necessary overhaul of its energy systems,” Channel News Asia reports.

Campaign for a Resilient Canadian Recovery Signs 2,100+ Allies [sign-on]

More than 2,100 Canadian companies and organizations have signalled their support for a post-pandemic economic recovery plan grounded in the principles of sustainability and resilience and driven by projects that “aren’t just shovel-ready, but shovel-worthy.”

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.

OCI: ‘Transformational Moment’ Is Last, Best Chance to Break from Fossils

The slow emergence from pandemic lockdown is the “last, best chance to plan for the economy we need to stay within 1.5°C and avoid the worst chaos of global warming,” declares a recent five-point call to policy-makers to cooperate in a rapid worldwide phaseout out of fossil fuels. 

Fossils May Think Twice Before Accepting Federal Bailout Package

After weeks of demanding a federal bailout in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian fossils might be thinking twice about accepting the loans they’re being offered, mergers and acquisitions specialist Jeffrey Jones writes for the Globe and Mail.

Week 21, May 25: Green Finance

The climate emergency poses four risks to the stability of Canada’s financial system: insurance losses due to climate-related disasters, climate liability stemming from successful lawsuits, stranded fossil assets, and GDP losses resulting in a climate-caused collapse of financial confidence.

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

Regulatory Credits Drive Tesla’s Profitability

U.S. Storage Producers Plan $1B Investment Next Year Despite Coronavirus

Campaigners Target Insurance Companies as Climate Killers

SNC-Lavalin Pushes Governments to Speed Up Infrastructure Spending

Vietnam Turns to Rooftop Solar During Pandemic

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.”

Attach Green Strings to Airline Bailouts, Carney Advises

Use Adaptation Funds to Build Back Better, IISD Urges

‘Activist’ Shareholders Take Aim at Teck

Gwich’in Urge Banks to Steer Clear of Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Colossal U.S. Shale Driller Chesapeake Teeters Toward Bankruptcy

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

Hydrogen Tech Producer Looks to Lease Out Low-Cost Production Units

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.

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.

Better EV Policies Could Jump-Start $110 Billion in Canadian GDP

A shift in policy could jump-start Canada’s domestic EV market, generating nearly 800,000 jobs and $110 billion in GDP by 2040, according to a recent report co-authored by the International Council on Clean Transportation and the Pembina Institute.

Rockefeller Fund Shows Five-Year Gain After Dropping Fossil Investments

In defiance of market predictions, the US$1.1-billion Rockefeller Brothers Fund has surpassed its benchmarks since an almost complete divestment from fossil fuels five years ago—proving that what was once dismissed as a “symbolic gesture” was in fact an act of significant financial acuity.

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. 

Week 20, May 18: Green Industry

In 2017 heavy industry produced 73 Mt of CO2e, accounting for 10% of Canada’s emissions, including non-fossil-fuel mining, smelting and refining, and the production and processing of industrial goods such as fertilizer, paper and cement.

Rock Bottom Oil Prices Push Fossils Out of Arctic Drilling

Norwegian Fossils Angle for Better Bailout

Bankrupt West Virginia Coal Plant Was One of U.S.’s Newest, Most Efficient

Japan Signals Cuts to Coal Lending

Australian Coal Miner Delays Decision on $700-Million Expansion

U.S. Fossil States Want Funds to Plug Orphan Wells

China Grid Devotes $383M to EV Charging Network

U.S. Airlines Fly Empty ‘Ghost Planes’ to Qualify for Federal Bailout

Analysts Point to Green Recovery as Route to ‘Shovel-Worthy Decade’

From prominent international economists to an (almost as prominent?) Canadian think tank, there’s a widening consensus that green investment in projects that are “shovel-worthy” as well as “shovel-ready” will be the best way to restore economies ravaged by the coronavirus lockdown while simultaneously addressing the climate crisis.

IMF, Vulnerable Countries Call for Green Recovery, Climate Finance

One of the world’s most influential multilateral finance agencies jumped onboard the green recovery late last month, when the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged governments to invest the US$1 trillion in emergency loans the agency plans to issue in projects that also combat the climate crisis, while scrapping fossil fuel subsidies and taxing carbon.

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.

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. 

‘Stealth Subsidies’ in Trade Policy Deliver $550 to $800 Billion Per Year to Fossil Companies

The “environmental bias” in tariffs and other trade barriers adds up to a US$550 to $800 billion annual “stealth subsidy” to fossil fuels, according to a study of 163 industries in 48 countries just released by a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

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.

U.S. Plastics Industry Lobbies for $1B Bailout

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

Geothermal Could Gain from Slumping Oil Prices

Trump-Related Fossils Get $50 Million in U.S. Bailout Funds

Australia Tosses $300M at Reef Restoration, But Won’t Cut Emissions

Switch Roadbuilding Funds to Broadband, UK Climate Advisor Urges

Fossils Expect Permanent Losses, Renewables Keep Growing as Pandemic Crashes Global Energy Demand

The permanent reductions in conventional energy demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic will change the oil and gas industry forever, leaving renewables as the only energy form resilient enough to keep growing, according to separate assessments released last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Europe’s biggest fossil, Royal Dutch Shell.

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.

World’s Biggest Solar Plant to Deliver Power at Record-Low 1.35¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour

The two-gigawatt Al Dhafra project in Abu Dhabi, the world’s biggest single-site solar installation, is expected to deliver electricity at a record-low US1.35¢ per kilowatt-hour when it goes into service in 2022.

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.

New Bank of Canada Governor Led Sustainable Finance Task Force

The federal government is receiving praise after appointing Tiff Macklem, a veteran of the 2008/2009 economic crisis and former deputy to climate finance titan Mark Carney, as governor of the Bank of Canada.

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.

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.

Harley Revs Up New E-Motorcycle to Match Shift in Consumer Attitudes

In a move that suggests the climate crisis is shifting even those fantasy purchases typically associated with midlife angst, legendary motorcycle company Harley-Davidson is hoping to turn up the throttle on its production of e-motorbikes.

Week 18, May 4: Green Business

To encourage businesses to engage with the transition we will advance a Carbon Accountability Act (Week 1), which starting in January 2021 will require businesses with more than $25 million in annual sales to publish their annual carbon emissions, describe efforts to reduce their emissions, and disclose their climate risk, both physically and financially.

Thunberg Donates £80,000 in Prize Money to UNICEF Pandemic Relief

Newfoundland Presses Ottawa for Fossil Bailout

U.S. Withholds $43B in Clean Energy Loans as Companies, Economy Struggle

UK Gives EasyJet £600M Bailout, Promises No Green Taxes, with No Strings Attached

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.

EU Rapidly Shunning Coal as Renewable Power Prices Drop

After centuries of being powered by coal, Europe is accelerating away from this dirtiest and most expensive of fossil fuels and toward ever-cheaper renewables—a sea change that is also going global, as pandemic-shuttered economies around the world leave coal increasingly without buyers.

Low Prices Have Global LNG Market ‘Imploding Before Our Eyes’

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis is out with a list of 11 major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that have been cancelled or deferred in the last month, an indication that the financial prospects for the industry “seem to be imploding before our eyes”.

Guterres Urges Marshall Plan Moment to Save the Sick, Heal the Planet

With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting humanity with its biggest challenge since the Second World War, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is calling for a six-point, Marshall Plan-style response to rebuilding the global economy—and building back in a way that slows climate change.

Heaps: A Green Recovery Will Help Canada ‘Bounce Back Stronger’

Post-COVID Stimulus Should ‘Double Down’ on EV Infrastructure

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

California Looks for Cost Savings from Microgrids, E-Buses

Confront Climate Risk or Face Financial Downgrade, BlackRock Warns Utilities

African Development Bank Won’t Back Uganda-Tanzania Pipeline

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

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.

The Interview: COVID Demands Global Investment to Build Back Better, McArthur Says

Shaughn McArthur is Policy and Influence Lead at CARE Canada, and has been a leading voice for Canadian civil society at the last several United Nations climate change conferences. He’s been looking at the way the global focus on the pandemic has drawn attention away from the climate emergency—and how action on COVID can bring both crises together.

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.

Pandemic’s Economic Hit Threatens Off-Grid Power in Developing Countries

Off-grid electricity companies that have been supplying power to poor communities in developing nations are struggling to keep the lights on as the economic fallout of COVID-19 leaves more and more customers unable to pay their bills. 

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.

More Than 150 Catholic Institutions Divest Fossil Fuels

South African Fossil Ends $13B Investment in U.S. Petrochemical Plant

EVs Boost Canadian Market Share Despite Disruptions

UK Virtual Power Stations Let Homeowners Sell to Grid

Renewables Agency Urges $110-Trillion Green Infrastructure Investment to Supercharge Recovery, Boost Resilience

Governments around the world can “supercharge their recovery, become more resilient to crises, and save trillions of dollars,” while setting sights on deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050, by directing stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to green infrastructure, Forbes magazine reports, citing a new release this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A1_Houston_Office_Oil_Traders_on_Monday.jpg

Canadian Fossils Headed for ‘Deep, Deep Collapse’ After Oil Price Dips to -$37.63 Per Barrel

Oil traders and fossil executives whose livelihoods rise and fall on the price of oil were in a state of collective shock earlier this week, as plummeting demand due to the coronavirus pandemic drove ricocheting prices well below zero for the first time ever.

Online Networks Light Up, Guterres Urges Green Recovery as Earth Day 50 Goes Virtual

The online universe lit up yesterday with an avalanche of webinars, news stories, email appeals, and at least one week-long global, virtual conference as millions of people around the world found ways to celebrate Earth Day 50 while sheltering at home.

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.

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.

COVID Stimulus Should Think Long-Term, Do No Harm: Elgie

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

UK Food Charity, Vertical Farm Tackle COVID-19 Supply Shortages

UK MPs’ Pension Fund Boosts Renewables Amid Calls to Divest Fossils

Guinea-Bissau Builds First Big Solar Plant with Funding from China

‘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.

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.

Canadian Climate Campaigner Pushes Back After Attack by U.S. Fossil Association

A U.S. fossil association has launched a public attack on two climate campaign organizations in Canada, Stand.earth and Sustainabiliteens, strangely accusing one of them of working to “create roadblocks and drive up costs for oil and natural gas development in Canada’s Pacific Northwest”.

Shell Draws Praise, Pushback for 2050 Net-Zero Pledge

Royal Dutch Shell is receiving some praise and a healthy dose of pushback after unveiling plans to become a “net-zero carbon company” by 2050.

‘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.

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

Investors Press Colossal Fossil Total for Faster Climate Action

Swedish Pension Fund Quits Fossil Fuels

South Korea Campaigners Oppose Bailout for Doosan Heavy Industries

Massachusetts Pushes Grid to Use Renewables for Costly Peak Power

500-MW Solar Project Wins Funding in Oman

Without Net Zero Plans, Pandemic-Driven CO2 Decline a ‘Pit Stop’ to Climate Ruin

Forecasters are predicting that coronavirus disruptions will lead to the largest annual drop in carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded—but multiple data challenges make any such estimates extremely tentative, and without post-pandemic recovery efforts that prioritize and accelerate the zero-carbon shift, the plunge in emissions will prove nothing more than a brief pit stop on the road to climate ruin, analysts warn.

Canada Needs Stronger Policy to Tap Into $150 Billion in EV Sales, 1.1 Million Jobs by 2040

Unless the federal government bolsters their policy support for zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, Canada will fall short of its vehicle electrification targets, put only three million ZEVs on the road rather than 15.6 million, and gain only a fraction of the C$150 billion in economic activity and 1.1 million jobs that could be on offer by 2040, according to two analyses released earlier this month.

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). 

Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows

The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Adow: The West Must Pay Its Debt If the World Is to Win the Climate Fight

Writing with “a clarity born not from abstract understandings but from visceral experience,” Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Power Shift Africa, urges the West to act with integrity and deep compassion, and pay the profound and ever-growing “climate debt” it owes the developing world. 

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

Singapore LNG Buyer Asks Suppliers to Quantify GHG Impacts

Meat Industry ‘Ruined’ If It Fails to Meet Climate Challenge

BlackRock Says It’s Standing By Climate Priorities

Cap and Trade Revenue Helps California Cut Power Bills During Pandemic

Texas Closes Big Solar Deal Despite Coronavirus

Next 10 Years to See Solar, Wind Push in Uzbekistan

Price Crash, Pandemic Put Fossils in Peril as Investors Get Nervous

Apart from a bit of wishful thinking from a veteran oil and gas financier in Calgary, the North American fossil industry is being devastated by the combination of low oil prices and plummeting demand driven by the pandemic, with investors in both Canada and the United States becoming ever more skeptical of an industry that was in rough enough shape before the latest crisis hit.

Europe’s Green Utilities ‘Largely Insulated’ from Economic Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Green utilities in Europe have been faring better than their conventional competitors and better still than other economic sectors in the financial crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Time to Cancel Coal Plants as Renewables Compete on Cost

Scottish Pension Funds Back Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada

Amazon Signs On for 300 MW of New Wind, Solar

Off-Grid Power Draws $470M in Investment in 2019

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.

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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.

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

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

Renewables Delivered Nearly 75% of New Electricity Last Year, But Investment Must Double by 2030

Solar, wind, and other forms of renewable power supplied nearly three-quarters of the new electricity generating capacity installed in 2019, but annual investments will still have to double by 2030 to keep pace with the climate emergency, according to a new report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

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.

Major Swiss Bank Touts Green, Sustainable Bonds Over Conventional Investments

A major European investment bank is describing green and sustainable bonds as a “defensive opportunity” that will bring higher returns in financial markets that have been devastated by the coronavirus crash and low oil prices.

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.

Hand Sanitizer Holds Out Weak Lifeline for Embattled U.S. Ethanol Industry

Ethanol producers struggling through the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic are welcoming new U.S. government rules that will permit them to provide alcohol for the manufacturing of hand sanitizer. But there is widespread doubt that hitching ethanol’s fortunes to the pandemic supply chain will prove much of a lifeline.

2019 May Have Been Turning Point for Drop-Off in Fossils

Renewable Purchase Agreements Pay Off for U.S. Tech Giants

Fracking Weighs Down Pennsylvania County as Pandemic Recession Hits

Bank of England Mulls Penalties for Polluting Assets

Market Crash Kills New Mexico Carbon Capture Project

French Colossal Fossil Total Pushes On with 250-MW Wind Buy

PUC Plan Could Slow California’s Progress on Electrified Transport

BP Pledges to Protect Jobs for Three Months

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

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

COVID-19 Could Slash Emissions 5%, But Permanent Cuts Depend on Structural Change

The COVID-19 pandemic could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5% this year, producing the deepest reduction since the end of the Second World War. But analysts warn the advantage could be “vanishingly thin” without economic recovery packages that emphasize a shift off carbon.

The Interview: Pandemic Reminds us that ‘We Are All Relatives’, Munn-Venn Says

Karri Munn-Venn is Senior Policy Analyst at Citizens for Public Justice. She’s been watching the changes in practice wrought by the pandemic and the shifts in perspective it might produce. 

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.

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Sustainable Investments Match Fossils’ Returns, Out-Perform Conventional Funds in Oil Price Crash

With oil markets crashing under the combined weight of a global pandemic and a sustained price war between rival producers, new analyses show renewable energy developments offering competitive returns against fossil projects, and sustainable funds outperforming traditional investment portfolios.

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.

Barclays Bank Bows to Investors, Sets 2050 Net Zero Target

Report Flags Four Biggest Banks Funding Carbon Emissions

New Coal Plants in India Running Out of Investment Cash

Shell Abandons Major U.S. LNG Project

U.S. LNG Giant Cheniere Warns of Possible Production Cuts

Bak: Canadian Banks Fail to Disclose Fossil Risks

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

Global Developer Grasshopper Energy Takes Over 15 MW of Canadian Solar Projects

Budget Cuts Likely to Drive Down Fossils’ Support for Renewables

Climate Finance Isn’t Reaching the World’s Most Vulnerable

Come By Chance Oil Refinery Shuts Down in Global Price War

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.

The Interview: Pandemic Recovery Can Boost the Economy, Attack Emissions, Increase Climate Resilience, Nagata Says

Kai Nagata is Communications Director at Dogwood in British Columbia. Since the pandemic began, he’s been pointing out that every dollar spent on the government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline is a dollar diverted from pandemic response—and that in any health emergency, none of us is safe unless all of us are safe.

‘Epic’ Oil Crash Crowns Coal as the Priciest Fossil

Coal—once the world’s cheapest form of energy—is now the most expensive after oil prices crashed through March. But analysts say the price point will need to stick around for a while if it is to accelerate investors’ moves away from fossil fuels and toward green energy.

U.S. Coal Use Plummets 13% in One Year, in Fastest Fall Since 1950s

Houston Wasn’t Ready for Oil Price Crash

Scarce Details, ‘Quid Pro Coal’ Undercut Australian State’s 17.7-GW Renewables Plan

The Australian state of New South Wales has released a new net-zero plan that promises up to 17,700 MW in new wind, solar, and storage capacity, with the potential for up to 2,000 permanent jobs. But the deal carries a quid pro quo with coal, to the dismay of those pushing for rapid climate action.

Gates Fund Backs Synthetic Palm Oil Start-Up

Utilities Poised to Drive Growth of Energy Storage

11 New EV Designs, Cheaper Batteries Lead GM’s Bid to Challenge Tesla

Keystone XL Faced Economic Hurdles Before Oil Prices Crashed

Fossils Reward the Politicians Who Support Them

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.

U.S. Economic Stimulus Package Dumps $3-Billion Oil Buy But Rebuffs Renewables

A push to include solar and wind energy tax credits in the United States’ US$2-trillion emergency stimulus package to address the coronavirus pandemic stalled out this week, after Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to including the relief measures in the bill.

The Interview: Green and Just Pandemic Recovery Would Help People Who Are Hurting, Stewart Says

Keith Stewart is senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada. He’s been focusing his pandemic response on directing government bailout funds to a green and just recovery, at a time when much of what “seemed natural and normal and inevitable about the way the world works” no longer does.

European Oil Major Cuts Costs, Protects Renewables, as Stranded Fossil Assets Begin Looking ‘Inevitable’

Like most of their counterparts around the world, colossal fossils in Europe are slashing spending in response to an oil price crash triggered by the pandemic and a pitched price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. But so far, at least, three of the biggest and one in particular seem to be protecting their renewable energy businesses from the economic carnage, Greentech Media reports.

Collapse of China Oil Refiners Raises Flags for Industry’s Financial Health

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.

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). 

Coal-Dependent South Korea Adopts 2050 Carbon-Neutral Target, Sets Deadlines for Green New Deal

In a major shift, South Korea’s governing party has pledged to adopt a Green New Deal and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with a recently-introduced plan that includes a carbon tax, a phaseout of financing for domestic and overseas coal projects, and accelerated support for renewable energy.

IEA Chief Sees ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Climate Action Through Economic Stimulus

The coronavirus pandemic presents a momentous opportunity for governments and financial leaders to build climate action into the economic stimulus packages they introduce to stabilize their faltering economies, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week.

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

GM Bets Big on EVs

Shell Won’t Try to Keep Up with BP, Sees Bright Future for LNG

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

Climate Crisis Puts Europe’s Infrastructure at ‘High Risk’

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Economic Shock from Coronavirus Points to Over-Reliance on Fossil Fuels, Need for Renewables

A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic points to a global economy that is over-reliant on fossil fuels and dangerously exposed to economic shocks that could be eased by a shift to renewable energy, a leading financial economist from the United Kingdom told Forbes magazine in a recent interview.

Analysts Foresee Record Drop in Oil Demand as COVID-19 Crisis, Fossil Price War Deepen

With the fossil price collapse continuing, oil falling below US$30 per barrel, and Saudi Arabia vowing to continue forcing prices down through May, analysts are predicting a “low and slow” recovery for the industry.

11th Democratic Primary Debate has Biden, Sanders Talking Climate Strategy

Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders did something unusual when they met last Sunday evening for the eleventh televised debate of the Democratic Party’s presidential primary: they spent about 12 minutes talking about the climate crisis.

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.

Personal Politics Cloud Investment Firm’s Environmental Responsibility Pledge

The head of an investment firm that has signed on to an environmentally responsible portfolio plan is himself being scrutinized for his association with a think tank dedicated to opposing climate regulation—raising questions about how a money manager’s personal choices do or should sway investor decisions. 

Coastal GasLink Documents $115M in Payments to Communities

Bank of England Governor Declares Fossil Fuel Exclusion a ‘Priority’

Jesuits Dump Fossils from $500-Million Portfolio

Fleet Electrification a Big Opportunity for Canadian Manufacturers

Foresight Energy Becomes Latest U.S. Coal Bankruptcy

Coronavirus Triggers OPEC+ Breakup, Drives Deepest Oil Price Dive in 29 Years

Driven by cratering economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, oil markets crashed 31% in a matter of seconds last week, after cooperation across a loosely-knit group of oil-producing countries collapsed and triggered an all-out price-war between fossil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Oil War and COVID-19 Create Risk, Opportunity for Clean Energy

The end-to-end news coverage of the coronavirus emergency is producing a secondary wave of commentary and analysis on whether the global pandemic will derail the transition to fossil to renewable energy. The verdict so far: It depends.

Trump Considers Fossil Bailout as Coronavirus, OPEC Price War Put Producers in Peril

Federal government assistance for the U.S. shale industry emerged as a strong possibility last week, after falling demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia had some of the Trump administration’s closest allies demanding a bailout.

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.

Oil Price Crash Could Mean Delays, Uncertainty for New LNG Projects

The oil price crash triggered by the coronavirus crisis will likely have a secondary impact on liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that were aiming for final investment decisions this year. But analysts see that short-term loss turning into a gain around mid-decade if natural gas demand in Asia continues to grow at the pace they’ve been predicting.

Market Analysts See Growing Demand for Toxic Fly Ash

Ghost Town Rises After Argentina’s Shale Boom Collapses

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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.

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.

Switzerland’s UBS Yanks Funding for New Arctic Offshore Oil, Thermal Coal, Tar Sands/Oil Sands

Switzerland’s UBS Group AG has decided it will no longer finance offshore oil development in the Arctic, thermal coal mines, or tar sands/oil sands projects on undeveloped land, and will scrutinize liquefied natural gas and ultra-deepwater drilling projects more carefully before committing to them.

Prince George School Evacuated after Latest Canadian Train Derailment

In yet another Canadian freight train derailment, 27 cars left the tracks near Prince George, British Columbia last week, forcing the evacuation of a local elementary school and leaving a nearby creek contaminated with petroleum coke.

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.

Public Opinion, Limited Finance Drive Vietnam to Curtail Coal Development

Facing a rapidly shrinking pool of willing lenders and growing opposition from a population concerned about air quality, Vietnam may be putting the brakes on further coal plant development. The policy is not certain, however, as the pressures of economic development become daunting roadblocks to an energy shift in the country.

New Zealand Savings Funds to Divest Fossil Stocks

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.

Buckley: Delayed Shift Out of Fossil Fuels Could Leave $20 Trillion in Stranded Assets

Investors and financiers will find themselves confronted with up to US$20 trillion in stranded fossil energy assets by 2050 unless they embrace the shift to clean energy, warns Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), in a recent summary of a podcast he recorded last month.

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.

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. 

Equinor Scuttles Offshore Drilling Plan for Great Australian Bight

Norwegian colossal fossil Equinor announced late last month that it is abandoning a US$200-million plan to drill for oil in the deep waters of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, the third retreat for a parade of oil and gas explorers that also includes BP and Chevron.

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.

Hope for Stability Fades as Guyana Becomes Nascent Petro-State

Hopes that Guyana’s nascent democracy and fragile economy might defy standard petro-state precedents and realize only benefits from the country’s sudden vault into the ranks of the oil-rich have grown dimmer in recent weeks, as the new wealth fuels pre-existing ethnic tensions.

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.

Canada Can’t Wait 10 Years for New Flood Maps, Insurers Warn

UK Promises £5 Billion for Transit, Cycling

California Utilities Plan $10-Billion Investment to Stop Grids from Sparking Wildfires

CCPA: B.C. Must Plan for Managed Decline Before International Fossil Markets Scale Back

British Columbia may be running out of time to plan for a managed decline of its fossil fuel industry, given the prospect that the Asian governments the province is counting on to buy its products may soon be making their own transition to a green economy, warns a new report issued this week by the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Time to Cut Fossils’ ‘Corporate Welfare’, Make Economy More Efficient, Author Argues

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is a policy measure that could create some common ground between climate campaigners and libertarian free market advocates, self-styled independent journalist and public historian Taylor Noakes writes in a new opinion piece for CBC that had generated more than 3,700 comments as of Thursday evening.

World’s Biggest Insurance Company Considers Whether to Drop Adani Coal Mine

The world’s biggest insurance company is rethinking its role in underwriting one of the biggest, most controversial carbon bombs anywhere, with Marsh LLC senior executives due to meet in New York yesterday to develop a new company position on coal projects, including the Adani Carmichael mine in Australia.

Coastal Cities Must Fight or Flee as Global Waters Rise

With global sea levels expected to rise an average of one to four feet by 2100, cities like San Francisco, Manila, and Boston are set to become case studies in how urban planning decisions will create varying impacts across economic classes in an increasingly watery world.

Uber, Lyft Emerge as Massive Emitters, But Policy Changes Could Help

Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft emit almost 70% more carbon dioxide than the forms of transport they displace, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. But a few policy shifts could revive the promise these services once held for promoting carpooling and lower vehicle use.

Biden, Sanders Climate Policies Come Into Focus as Primary Field Narrows

With the race for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination narrowing to two main candidates, the New York Times and Foreign Policy magazine are each taking a look at what former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders have been saying about climate and energy.

Scandinavia Looks to Solar in ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’

Northern regions as far as the Arctic Circle are increasingly turning to the power of the midnight sun to keep their communities humming, feeding hopes that carbon neutrality by 2035 may be within reach.

Business Press Sees Investors Jumping Back into Pipelines

Drawdown’s Latest ‘Tools of Possibility’ Show Path to 1.5°C, with 1,570 Billion Tons of Emission Cuts by 2050

Humanity can prevent or draw down 1,570 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 2050 to approach a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming, or 992.77 billion tons to settle around 2.0°C, by adopting a menu of 82 practical solutions ranging from onshore wind to utility-scale solar, from reduced food waste and plant-rich diets to tropical forest restoration and clean cookstoves, according to the 2020 update of the popular Drawdown list.

Trudeau Calls for Year of Consultation on 2030, 2050 Climate Targets

The federal government is calling for a year of consultation before finalizing plans to meet a more ambitious carbon reduction target by 2030 and hit net-zero by 2050.

Alberta Announces $100M Loan for Orphan Well Clean-Up

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage have announced a C$100-million loan to help the province’s Orphan Well Association clean up another 1,000 abandoned oil and gas production sites, while creating 500 jobs for unemployed oilfield service workers.

1.5°C Warming Means ‘Breathtaking’ $900-Billion Loss for Colossal Fossils

The world’s oil and gas companies may have to write off a “breathtaking” US$900 billion in stranded assets—about one-third of their total value—if governments get serious about limiting average global warming to 1.5°C, according to the news analysis page that calls itself the “oldest and arguably the most influential business and finance column of its kind in the world”.

Hedge Fund Billionaire Prods Banks to Defund Hundreds of New Coal Plants

A British hedge fund billionaire is on a mission to persuade central banks to withdraw financial support for hundreds of new coal plants now on the drawing boards, in a bid to block the projects and the climate-busting greenhouse gas emissions they would produce.

Australia’s Biggest Independent Coal Miner Sees Profits, Production Slide

Gates Fund Aims to Boost Sustainability of Lithium Mining

U.S. Insurers Should Support People, Not Fossils

Calgary Pipeliner Left to Wait as U.S. Regulator Delays Decision on Oregon LNG Terminal

The Calgary-based pipeliner behind a proposed US$10-billion liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon is facing what the Financial Post calls a “surprise setback”, after the Trump-appointed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to delay its decision on the plan to send Canadian gas to Asian markets.

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Tar Sands/Oil Sands Cancellation the Least of Teck’s Problems as Analysts Question Mine Cost Overrun

While Teck Resources’ bombshell decision to walk away from its $20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine has received wall-to-wall coverage in the last seven days, the company’s broader financial picture is a bigger concern for investors, the Globe and Mail reports.