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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U.S. Rooftop Panel Installer Sunrun Buys Competitor Vivint, Creates ‘New Solar Goliath’

The biggest home solar installer in the United States, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is buying its nearest competitor, Vivint Solar, in a deal that will make the combined company the country’s third-largest owner of solar capacity across all types of projects, reduce operating costs, and according to one news report, produce a “new solar Goliath, leaving Tesla to play David”.

IEA’s Clean Energy Summit Prompts Calls for 1.5°C Modelling

The virtual Clean Energy Transitions Summit convened yesterday by the International Energy Agency produced new calls for the Paris-based agency to put a 1.5°C ceiling for average global warming at the centre of its attempt to lead on climate change.

Pittis: Ignoring Fossil Harms in Business Media Coverage Is ‘Bad Economics’

Canadian investors and the broader public are increasingly demanding energy industry reporting that does not shy away from forthright discussions of the intersection between the immediate needs and the long-term costs of fossil fuel use.

OPEC May Be Headed for New Price War, Fossil Analysts Say

Wisconsin Frac Sand Producer Plans Bankruptcy Filing

‘Grassroot’ Canadian Fossil Advocates Receive $100K from Alberta Oil Company

Financing Needed for Microgrids, Distributed Energy in Caribbean

Three Projects, Three Wins: Flurry of Decisions Shows U.S. Pipelines Becoming ‘Unbuildable’

The last 48 hours have seen a dizzying series of announcements highlighting the increasingly shaky prospects for North American oil and gas pipelines, with the US$8-billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled, the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a bid to immediately restart construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordering the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down for contravening U.S. environmental law.

https://pixabay.com/en/solar-energy-photovoltaic-panels-868663/

Canadian Climate Groups Urge ‘Green Strings’ on COVID Recovery Funding

As Finance Minister Bill Morneau prepares to release a fiscal update today, Canada’s leading environmental organizations are calling for “green strings” on Ottawa’s COVID-19 recovery funding package.

Global ‘Gas Bubble’ Has Nearly Half of New LNG Projects Facing Pandemic Delays, Nervous Investors

Investment legend Warren Buffett’s decision last March to pull out of a controversial liquefied natural gas project in Quebec’s Saguenay region is just one example of a bigger trend that has nearly half of the world’s LNG export projects faltering in recent months, according to the latest Global Energy Monitor report published earlier this week.

Exxon Reports Second Straight Quarterly Loss, Plans U.S. Job Cuts

Colossal fossil Exxon-Mobil is reporting a second straight quarterly loss and preparing to fire up to 10% of its white collar work force in the United States, as the impact of crashing oil demand makes itself felt by the company that has most steadfastly denied that a shifting global economy could have any impact on its business.

Global Development Banks’ Recovery Plans Must Omit Fossil Funding, Advocates Say

When 450 global development banks with their hands on US$2 trillion in public funds meet in November to chart their contribution to the pandemic recovery, they must declare an end to international financing for fossil fuels, three leading finance and development advocates argue in a post this week for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

SolarAid Raises $300,000 for Remote Clinics in Malawi and Zambia

London, UK-based international charity SolarAid has raised more than US$300,000 to supply thousands of free solar-powered devices to medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic at health clinics and isolation centres in rural Malawi and Zambia.

Pandemic Sets U.S. Solar Prices Falling Faster than Expected

U.S. Energy Dept Says EV Drivers Save Thousands of Dollars

Danish Trials Show Electric Ferries Cost Operators Less

Spain Plans Green Uses for EU Recovery Funds

Climate Inaction Could Cost Australia 25% of GDP by 2100: Central Bank

As Morneau Walks ‘Tightrope’, Analysis Shows Canada’s COVID Recovery Favouring Fossils

A weekend analysis piece on CBC News lays out the “tightrope” Finance Minister Bill Morneau is walking as he tries to manage the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis—and indirectly points toward the just, green recovery that is still the most realistic cornerstone for the post-pandemic economy.

Global Oil Demand, CO2 Emissions Likely Peaked in 2019 as Fossil Analysts Predict More Stranded Assets

A small parade of analysts stepped out last week with projections that global oil demand and carbon dioxide emissions likely peaked last year, with consumers’ need for refined oil products hitting a turning point and more big fossil companies expected to declare “impairments” in their production assets in the not-too-distant future.

B.C. Coastal First Nations Begin Shift from Diesel to Local Hydro

Two of the 11 off-grid and largely diesel-dependent First Nations communities along the British Columbia coast are investing C$25 million in hydro power in an effort to reduce their dependence on a fuel that is both expensive and an environmental hazard.

Drought Forces Puerto Rico to Limit Water Access During Pandemic Response

Still far from recovered from its ravaging by Hurricane María in 2017, Puerto Rico is now struggling under drought conditions, with water woes made worse by financial straits that have prevented its state utility company, PREPA, from dredging critical reservoirs on schedule.

Carbon Price Won’t Suffice to Drive Green Transition, Smart Prosperity Argues

A research associate with Ottawa’s Smart Prosperity Institute is taking aim at the curious notion that a carbon price will be enough to push Canada’s economy onto a low-carbon path, without a boost from green stimulus spending.

Macron Responds to Municipal ‘Green Wave’ with €15-Billion Climate Pledge

Shareholders Push Chevron to Align with Paris Targets

Sea Level Rise May Push U.S. Banks to Reject 30-Year Mortgages

Controversial Boris Johnson Advisor Backs £100M Carbon Removal Scheme

Dinning: Smart Stimulus Begins by Thinking Small

Ireland’s Fossil Levy to Raise €500 Million for Green Projects

Mozambique LNG Project Nets $2.25-Billion Government Guarantee

Fossils Hit ‘Turning Point’ as Shell Follows BP in Declaring Stranded Assets

The coronavirus pandemic may have produced a tipping point in the transition off fossil fuels, with two colossal fossils declaring in the last two weeks that they will downgrade the value of their own assets by as much as US$39.5 billion.

House Democrats’ Blueprint Aims for Net-Zero by 2050, Connects Racial Inequity with Rising Temperatures

A climate plan released this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives is receiving wide acknowledgement as a sweeping proposal that would bring the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, promote renewable energy, address environmental harms that fall disproportionately on poor and racialized communities, and implement much of the Green New Deal.

Details on Diversification Scarce as Alberta Cuts Corporate Taxes, Reannounces Keystone Subsidy

A faster corporate tax cut, a C$600-million infrastructure investment, and reannounced funding that was already allocated in the province’s spring budget are key elements of a highly-touted, $10-billion recovery plan for Alberta that is already taking fire for being far more tame and fuzzy than its architects claim.

‘Immense National Effort’ Needed to Mitigate Rise in Canadian Flooding

With country-wide floodwater emergencies and extreme weather events like Calgary’s recent $1-billion hailstorm foreshadowing far worse to come, experts are calling for the creation of a “robust 21st-century strategy on water.”

200 Farmers in Netherlands Sign On for $560M Onshore Wind Farm

In an important win for community-based wind energy, more than 200 farmers in a rural area east of Amsterdam have banded together to secure US$560 million from a multinational Dutch bank to build the biggest onshore wind farm in Europe.

U.S. Dominican Nuns Raise $130 Million for ‘Holistic’ Climate Solutions Fund

Five years after Pope Francis delivered his acclaimed encyclical calling for environmental and climate justice, 16 congregations of Dominican nuns in the United States are collaborating with Morgan Stanley to create their own US$130-million climate solutions fund.

U.S. Fracking Giant Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy

Politico Maps Europe’s Stranded Fossil Assets

Canada’s Green Recovery Must Include Resilience Planning

Canada Sends $9.5M in Climate Financing to Pacific Island States

World’s Biggest Green Fund Aims for $15B in New Projects

Queen Elizabeth’s Wealth Manager Dumps Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Arctic Oil and Gas, Coal

Coutts, the private banker to Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the British royal family, has promised to drop its investments in the tar sands/oil sands, Arctic oil and gas exploration, and thermal coal extraction and generation, and to reduce the carbon intensity of its holdings 25% by the end of next year.

http://midwestenergynews.com/2013/10/24/as-pipeline-concerns-mount-a-renewed-focus-on-the-great-lakes-enbridge-mackinac-line-5/

Line 5 Pipeline Faces Tuesday Court Date After Judge Orders Temporary Closure

A county judge in Michigan has ordered Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. to shut down its troubled Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron until a hearing tomorrow can review the state’s request for a temporary injunction against the 67-year-old line.

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

Indigenous Leaders Warn They May Be Left Out of Abandoned Well Cleanup Fund

Indigenous leaders are concerned their communities may be left out as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia begin spending C$1.5 billion in federal funds to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells left behind by deadbeat fossils.

Amazon Promises $2-Billion Climate Fund While Emissions Continue to Grow

Amazon.com is getting a decidedly mixed reaction for its plan to set up a US$2-billion climate investment fund, after the e-commerce giant’s latest sustainability report showed its greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise.

Indonesian Anti-Poverty Program Reduces Tree Loss by 30%

Thirteen years into an Indonesian anti-poverty program that delivers cash payments to poor citizen living in forested areas, experts are cautiously celebrating strong evidence that alleviating poverty—even without qualifications that require conservation work—helps arrest deforestation.

Week 26, June 29: Global Engagement

Unless every nation pulls its weight, global emissions will continue to rise and the climate emergency will cause an ever more disastrous future.

EU Leaves Nuclear, Fossil Gas Out of Green Transition Funding

Texas Fossils Burned Off $749.9M in ‘Waste’ Gas in 2018

Investors Unimpressed as Australian Mineral Council Sets No Deadline for Net-Zero Commitment

European Bank Sends Recovery Dollars to Big Solar Project in Andalusia

Vermont Nabs $800,000 for Electric Transit Vehicles

Pandemic May Defeat Billion-Dollar Climate Program for CIties

Ontario Pension Fund Invests in Abu Dhabi Pipeline Megaproject, Puts Teachers’ Retirement Savings at Risk

Thousands of working and retired teachers may soon have to worry about the safety of their retirement savings, after the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) announced it was investing in a fossil gas pipeline network under development by the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, expected to be the world’s largest fossil fuel infrastructure transaction this year.

30% of U.S. Shale Drillers ‘Technically Insolvent’ as Analyst Places Economic Recovery Three to Five Years Away

Nearly one-third of shale oil and gas drillers in the United States are “technically insolvent” at today’s oil prices, as crashing demand drives the industry into a period of “great compression” that could last for years, according to an analysis released this week by management consulting firm Deloitte.

U.S. Democrats Debate Climate Policy, Introduce Green Infrastructure Measures as Fall Election Approaches

With the U.S. federal election just 131 days away, climate and clean energy are poised to take centre stage in the campaign, with Democrats debating climate policy and calling for US$70 billion in green infrastructure investment, renewables and storage industries pushing for a “majority renewables” electricity system by 2030, and even some Republicans trying to connect their fall campaign to green jobs.

$20-Billion East African Pipeline to Displace Thousands of Farmers, Risk Massive Oil Spill

A US$20-billion pipeline project in East Africa is set to displace thousands of small farmers and endanger key wildlife habitat and coastal waters—in spite of the risk of an environmental disaster on the scale of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and increasingly unsteady markets for fossil fuels.

Modern Monetary Theory Would Hasten the Shift Off Carbon

A new economic theory now gaining traction could open the door for the trillions of dollars that will be needed to drive a rapid transition off carbon—in spite of the baked-in reflex to ask where the money will come from without driving governments deep into debt.

Latest Fossil Bankruptcy Puts 401 Orphan Wells on B.C.’s Cleanup List

New England Looks for E-Bike Rebates as Auto Sales Decline

Price Collapse Costs U.S. More than 100,000 Fossil Jobs: Rystad

UK Government Risks Stranded Assets with Foreign Fossil Investments

Rwanda Emerges as Centre for Green Growth Investment

Saudi Aramco Puts $69B into Petrochemical Company Purchase

Goldman Sachs See Renewable Investment Surging While Fossils Pay Huge Risk Premium

With global fossils paying the equivalent of a US$40 to $80 per ton carbon price to compensate for the heightened risk investors see in their projects, private dollars flowing to solar, wind, battery storage, and electric vehicles are on track to exceed oil and gas for the first time next year, kicking off a US$16-trillion surge in the course of this decade, investment bank Goldman Sachs concluded in a report issued last week.

Declaration for Resilience Urges ‘New Normal’ for Canadian Cities

Canada’s urban planning experts, along with leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, have signed on to the 2020 Declaration for Resilience in Canadian Cities, urging policy-makers at all levels to create a “new normal” that makes affordability, sustainability, climate-friendliness, and equity the four cornerstones of any pandemic recovery plans.

New Jersey Unveils Plan to Become ‘Wind Turbine Capital’

Determined to be for wind energy what Texas is to fossil fuels, New Jersey has announced plans to become the go-to state for the production of offshore wind turbines, beginning with the construction of a giant port along the Delaware River.

Minnesota Utility Speeds Up $3B in Projects to Boost Post-COVID Recovery

Pittis: COVID May Drive ‘Painful but Useful’ Economic Transformation

IMF Pushes Mandatory Climate Risk Disclosure

Instagram Influencers Take Fossil Dollars to Tout Gas Stoves

Polish State Fossil Plans $1B Renewables Investment

UAE’s Masdar Funds 500-MW Wind Farm in Uzbekistan

Asian Development Bank Boosts 35-MW Solar Project in Bangladesh

New Yorkers Fight to Save Composting from COVID-19 Budget Cuts

Analysts See No More Need for New Pipelines as Tar Sands/Oil Sands Production Slides

After years of complaints that Canada lacked space in its crowded export pipelines to serve tar sands/oil sands producers in the Alberta oilpatch, analysts are beginning to point to a different problem: a surplus of pipeline capacity, even as governments and industry boosters try to push, pull, and drag the Keystone XL and Line 3 pipelines and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion toward completion.

Federal Pandemic Relief Still Hasn’t Arrived, Fossils Say

The Canadian fossil industry is up in arms that not a single oil and gas company has been approved for a federal bridge loan to get them through the economic crash brought on by the pandemic, nearly three months after Finance Minister Bill Morneau said relief was “hours or days away”.

Tar Sands/Oil Sands Firms Drop $1.8B in Environmental Projects in COVID Cost Cuts

Three of Canada’s top tar sands/oil sands companies have dropped C$1.8 billion in environmental projects as part of their cost-cutting during the pandemic, prompting at least one major investment fund to declare itself vindicated for divesting from the companies last year.

Next Six Months Will Determine Success of Green Recovery, IEA Warns

The world’s governments can either spend the next three years and US$3 trillion entrenching the greenhouse gas emission cuts that accompanied the pandemic lockdown and creating a new narrative on climate change, or allow a record increase in oil demand next year that will push consumption back toward historic levels, the International Energy Agency warned this week.

Alberta’s Green Economy Could Produce 67,200 New Jobs by 2030

The Pembina Institute has tapped into the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Albertans to produce a job creation plan that could begin decarbonizing the provincial economy and generate 67,200 jobs—or 67% of the current fossil work force—by 2030.

Ottawa Mulls Hydrogen and EV Strategies as Economic Recovery Plan Takes Shape

The federal government is simultaneously developing a new hydrogen strategy and working through some of the details and complexities of stepped-up electric vehicle deployment as the country’s green recovery plans continue to take shape, according to two recent reports in the Globe and Mail.

McCarthy: Merging Climate, Racial Justice Concerns Would Deliver Just, Green Recovery

Reducing carbon pollution and averting the worst impacts of climate change is an essential part of the fight for racial justice, Ottawa-based policy advisor and former Globe and Mail energy reporter Shawn McCarthy writes in an opinion piece for iPolitics.

O’Toole Drops Pledge to End ‘Corporate Welfare’ of Fossil Subsidies

European Central Bank Must Stop Financing Fossils

Africa’s Biggest Bank Faces Pushback Over Ties to Fossils

Regulatory Woes Drive Up Cost of Mountain Valley Pipeline

Australia Fast-Tracks $1-Billion Valeria Coal Mine

Minnesota Band Receives $46M for Net-Zero Project

Sustainable Jet Fuel Draws $15M Investment from Suncor

BP Downgrades Asset Value by $17.5 Billion, Sends ‘Shock Waves’ Through Fossil Industry

Colossal fossil BP is moving to downgrade the value of its assets by up to US$17.5 billion, after scaling back its estimate of future oil and gas prices and projecting that the coronavirus pandemic will produce a permanent drop in fossil demand, while accelerating the shift to carbon-free energy.

Government Stimulus Packages Lock In Fossil Growth, Squander Opportunity for Green Recovery, Global Assessment Warns

Too many governments are squandering the opportunity to build a green recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, directing dollars to technologies that will lock in their dependence on fossil fuels, the Paris-based REN21 Secretariat warned yesterday with the release of its Renewables 2020 Global Status Report.

Environmental Funds Go ‘Mainstream’, with Better Results than Traditional Investments

Environmentally sustainable funds have outperformed traditional investments—not only during the economic crunch brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the 10 years previous, according to new analysis by global research agency Morningstar.

Shift to Electric Buses Emerges as ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity’ for Canada

With more than 425,000 electric buses on the roads world-wide, four Canadian manufacturers with customers across the continent, and transit agencies in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Laval adding the vehicles to their fleets, there’s still time for the country to hop onboard a growing international trend, Clean Energy Canada concludes in a report issued this week.

Racial Injustice Casts Shadow Over Clean Energy Boom

America’s clean energy sector could have a bright future, pushing down electricity costs, cleaning up emissions, and potentially supporting hundreds of thousands of new jobs for years to come—but if all Americans are to benefit, much work needs to be done to address injustice in the sector, say industry observers.

Climate Impacts of Hurricane Harvey Pegged at $67 Billion

In a finding that could radically alter future calculations of the social cost of carbon, researchers say new methods of event attribution have now pegged the share of damages from Hurricane Harvey that were caused by global warming at 74.4% of the US$90-billion-plus total—much higher than previous estimates of 22%.

Failing U.S. Fossil Gave Execs $6.7M Bonus Before Declaring Bankruptcy

Alberta, South Korean Pension Funds Buy Coastal GasLink Pipeline

Canadian Fossil Suncor Scorches Norwegian Wealth Fund for Divesting

Facebook, Netflix, Tesla Face Climate-Shaming by Investors

Australia’s Morrison Wastes $700-Million Opportunity to Push Home Energy Efficiency

Alberta Shuts Energy Efficiency Agency, Eliminates Cabinet Approval for New Tar Sands/Oil Sands Projects

Alberta is moving to phase out its energy efficiency agency and allow future tar sands/oil sands projects to proceed without cabinet approval under a 14-point omnibus bill introduced last Thursday, prompting the energy efficiency community to scorch the Jason Kenney government for shutting down a job-creating program in the midst of a deep recession.

Canada’s Green Recovery Could Produce 6.7 Million Job-Years, Cut 237 Megatonnes of Emissions by 2030

Canada could create 6.7 million person-years of quality employment by 2030, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 237 million tonnes from 2018 levels, make homes and workplaces more comfortable and flood-resistant, and save citizens C$39 billion per year in fuel, heat, and electricity by embracing a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, analysts Ralph Torrie and Céline Bak and publisher Toby Heaps argue, drawing on a series of seven Building Back Better webinars hosted by Corporate Knights.

‘Tesla Wouldn’t Be Tesla’ if Not for 2010 Economic Stimulus Loan

As governments craft post-pandemic economic stimulus plans that will either drive a green recovery or reinforce the polluting industries that need to be hastened into retirement, Bloomberg Green is out with a timely reminder that “Tesla wouldn’t be Tesla” if not for the boost it received from the 2010 economic stimulus in the United States.

Brazil Becomes Key Battleground in Accelerating Global Deforestation

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest accelerated by 55% in the first four months of 2020 compared to the previous year. Brazil’s answer? Slash the budgets for ecosystem and climate protection—and double down on the notion that the military is the best defender of the forest.

Week 24, June 15: Ecological Restoration

We face an ecological as well as a climate emergency. Because of our human influence, Earth is in the midst a mass extinction crisis: up to a million species are threatened with extinction, many within decades.

Fossils Must Pay $105B to Shut Down Aging Offshore Oil Rigs

How Canadian Businesses Can Own the Low-Carbon Podium

Green Banks Could Help Drive Ambitious Climate Action

China Dumps Fossil Stocks to Lure Green Bond Investors

Colossal Fossil Total Buys Controlling Share of Scottish Offshore Wind Farm

Investors Put $15 Billion into Mozambique LNG Project

Renewables Deliver Boost to Iowa Economy

New Study Shows Clean Power Supplying 90% of U.S. Electricity by 2035

Clean electricity could power 90% of the United States grid by 2035, at lower cost than non-renewable sources, according to a new study released this week by the University of California Berkeley and Berkeley-based GridLab that projects more than a 10% reduction in electricity costs if utilities can make the transition.

Record Renewable Energy Adoption in 2019 Still Falls Short of Climate Targets

Global clean energy investment grew 1% last year, to US$282.2 billion, and countries installed a record 184 gigawatts of new renewables capacity. But the momentum is still far short of what’s needed this decade to drive the transition off carbon, according to the latest Global Trends In Renewable Energy Investment report, published as a collaboration between BloombergNEF, the Frankfurt School, and the United Nations Environment Program.

EDC Must Stop Financing Fossil Projects, Embrace Climate Disclosure, Consultants Urge

Export Development Canada will need to stop financing fossil fuel projects, do a better job of climate reporting and disclosure, and show broader leadership on sustainable finance and climate justice if it plans to bring its investment and subsidy decisions in line with Canadian climate policy, according to a stinging technical assessment released earlier this week by Ottawa-based Horizon Advisors.

More Than 350 Pennsylvania Companies Could Pivot into Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

The electric vehicle supply chain in Pennsylvania could easily grow by more than 350 companies, many of them in counties and industries that have seen tough economic times in recent years, according to an analysis published late last month by the national business association Advanced Energy Economy.

Future Looks Lean for Single-Use Plastics Despite COVID-19 Boost

Though single-use plastics have rebounded sharply since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor optics of producing a product that is neither biodegradable nor recyclable may foretell lean times for the materials down the road.

Study Suggests Relief for Some Small Island States as Coral Reefs Adapt to Rising Seas

Coral reefs may be adaptable enough in the face of sea level rise to protect some of the vulnerable small island states at risk of disappearing beneath the water, according to new research published this week in the journal Science Advances.

Pandemic Produces New Efforts, Wider Paralysis on International Climate Action

The economic and logistical paralysis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a mixed picture for global action on the climate crisis, with countries, cities, businesses, and others scrambling to accelerate action under the Paris Agreement but some of the key commitments under the 2015 accord facing serious obstacles.

Blackrock Issues Warning Over South Korean Coal Investments in Vietnam, Indonesia

Climate Plan Gets ‘Complicated’ as Blackrock Begins Juggling

99.93% of Barclays Bank Shareholders Endorse Climate Plan

Stelco Says Now’s the Time for Audacity

Driving Distance to Price Becomes New Metric for EV vs. Internal Combustion

Enbridge Plans ‘Gradual’ Energy Transition that Still Includes New Pipelines

Calgary-based pipeliner Enbridge Inc. is planning a “gradual” transition in its global project portfolio to meet consumers’ demand for lower-emitting forms of energy, but still expects to continue investing in oil pipelines, CEO Al Monaco told the Financial Post in an interview published earlier this week.

In Conversation: On Climate Mobilization, Canadian Public is ‘Ahead of Our Politics’, Klein Says

Seth Klein is a research associate with the British Columbia office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His book on the Second World War and the lessons it holds for today’s battle to get climate change under control is due to be published in September by Toronto-based ECW Press.

Policy U-Turns by Governments Undercut Investor Interest in Renewables

While the last year has seen a surge of interest in renewable energy among potential investors, many of them are being deterred by concerns about policy U-turns from governments.

Montpellier: It’s Time to #FireYourFossilBank

After watching the country’s Big Five banks supply nearly half a trillion dollars to the global fossil fuel industry since 2016 despite rapidly accelerating climate change, it’s time for Canadians to #FireYourFossilBank, Below2C editor Rolly Montpellier writes in a recent opinion piece.

Extreme Weather Poses Small but Real Risk to UK Nuclear Reactors

Even as it reassures the British public that the country’s nuclear power plants are built to withstand a one-in-10,000-year event, the United Kingdom’s nuclear regulator is being warned that extreme weather events remain a dangerous threat to the industry.

Climeworks Raises $76 Million in Latest Investment Round

Green Bonds Offer Wider Mix of Options to Drive Transition

Hungary Sets 2050 Carbon Neutral Target, Floats Green Bond

Gas May Soon Be the Next Fossil to Dip Below Zero Value

Australia Gas Industry was Already Crashing Before Pandemic

Big Canadian Banks Try to Rein in Fossil Borrowing as Vulnerability, Loan Losses Rise

Canadian banks’ vulnerability to oil and gas loans has hit a record high, as fossils struggling with collapsing oil and gas prices draw heavily on their lines of credit.

Analysis: Fossil Lobby Keeps Pitching as Federal Green Recovery Discussions Get Complicated

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) showed a previously unsuspected sense of humour last week, pitching the federal government for another round of tax breaks that would “level the investment playing field” and help it attract financial support in its moment of greatest need.

Trump Order to Speed Pipelines, Gut Environmental Protections is ‘Sitting Duck’ for Legal Challenges

Donald Trump signed an order last week to waive environmental safeguards on oil and gas pipeline projects that disproportionately harm minority communities already convulsed by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. But his administration may just be cruising for the latest in a string of court defeats in its effort to obliterate laws protecting air quality, drinking water, species, and habitats.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_East_Africa_drought

Pandemic Will Drive Global Famine Without Urgent Food System Reform

The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the risk of famine in the world’s poorest countries as it bankrupts small-hold farmers, breaks supply chains, and stymies efforts to build climate resilience, reports Climate Home News. If the worst of the disaster is to be averted, humanitarian systems need to change the way support is delivered, and “think differently” about everything from climate finance to food production.

COVID-Wary New Yorkers Weigh Risks of Traffic Versus Transit

As New Yorkers give a wary eye to public transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is scrambling to inform citizens that the very last thing they should do is hop in their cars.

Missouri Utility to Test On-Bill Payments for Fund Home Energy Retrofits

A Missouri utility is moving to clear one of the barriers to home energy retrofits, with a pilot program to cover the up-front cost of the work on its customers’ behalf.

Week 23, June 8: Regenerative Farming

Studies show that regenerative organic methods of farming and ranching can produce similar yields to conventional agribusiness while storing carbon in the soil, producing no GHG emissions, and allowing nature to regenerate. Forty years of side-by-side trials by the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania have found that after a five-year transition, the yields from organic farming are competitive with conventional farming, and that in drought years, yields can be up to five times higher

350.org Scorches Bank of England for Propping Up Climate Polluters

New Bank of Canada Governor Must Navigate Climate Risk: Quinlan

Desjardins Signs On to Powering Past Coal Coalition

Engie Directs U.S. Investments to Renewables, Not Gas

Fossils Face $25-Trillion Loss as Coronavirus Drives Industry’s ‘Decline and Fall’

The world’s fossil companies stand to lose US$25 trillion in profits as the coronavirus pandemic triggers a terminal decline in demand for oil, gas, and coal and drives down the value of fossil fuel reserves by two-thirds, according to a report released yesterday by the London, UK-based Carbon Tracker think tank.

Norway’s COVID-19 Tax Relief Could Help Fossils Keep Drilling for Oil

Norway may be just a week away from adopting a lucrative COVID-19 tax relief package for its fossil industry that would artificially boost the profitability of key oilfields and likely expand the country’s footprint in sensitive Arctic lands.

Electrifying GTHA Cars, Trucks, and Buses Would Prevent 731 Premature Deaths, Cut 8 Mt of Emissions Per Year

A shift to electric cars, SUVs, trucks, and buses would prevent 731 premature deaths per year in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and reduce the region’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by eight million tonnes, bringing Ontario half-way to meeting its 2030 carbon target, according to a modelling study released this week by Environmental Defence Canada and the Ontario Public Health Association.

2.0°C Would Shift Once-in-a-Century Storms to Once in Five Years, Canadian Study Concludes

Researchers at Environment and Climate Change Canada have established an unequivocal correlation between climate change and the increasing number of extreme rainfall events in North America—and the data suggests things will get worse if warming continues. 

GM Aims to Outrun Tesla for Lucrative Electric Van Market

General Motors is joining a growing roster of conventional automakers and electric vehicle manufacturers declaring an interest in building an electric van for companies like Amazon.com and United Parcel Service—and getting the new designs into the field before Tesla Inc. can corner the market.

Enbridge Recruits Newly-Departed Bank of Canada Governor as Board Member

Hundreds of UK Churches Dump Fossil Fuel Investments

Tennessee Invests $5.7M Payout from VW Scandal in Transit Projects

Researchers Will Track Climate Benefits of Coronavirus Recovery Spending

Four in Five Expect Billionaires to Back UN Sustainable Development Goals

Insurance Companies Fund ‘Dangerous’ Fox News Reports on Climate, COVID

Irving Oil Buys Come-By-Chance Refinery

BNP Paribas Plans to Quit Coal Loans by 2030

Malta Issues Tender for 15 MW Solar

Suncor CEO’s ‘Stark Prediction’ Has Off-Carbon Transition Driving Down Oil Demand

The CEO of Suncor Energy is admitting that the transition off carbon could hit crude oil demand as hard as the pandemic did, in what Reuters describes as a “stark prediction in an industry that frequently downplays the impact of electrification” on its future prospects.

Federal Officials Express Doubts on Post-COVID Recovery Package as Cabinet Seeks Free Consulting Advice

Federal government department officials may be throwing cold water on the idea of a green recovery package—or any economic recovery package at all—the Globe and Mail reported last Friday, in a story that focused mainly on the Trudeau government turning to one of the world’s biggest management consulting firms for free advice on its post-pandemic strategy.

Hundreds of Companies, Regional Governments Demand Green Recovery Post-Pandemic

The pressure on governments to make the post-pandemic economic stimulus a green recovery continues to intensify, with 155 multinational companies and more than 220 state and regional governments joining the call, and business analysts suggesting the right recovery package could make 2019 the year of peak carbon while delivering badly-needed job creation.

Cyclone Harold Shows Impact of Climate Emergencies in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

When Tropical Cyclone Harold slammed into four Pacific Island nations in early April as a Category 5 storm, it became the first example of the complex crises countries will face with the “collision of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related disasters,” Refugees International writes, in a case assessment published today.

Empire State Building Retrofits Cut 10-Year Emissions by 40%

Thanks to a scrupulously well-planned retrofit, the owners of the Empire State Building have been able to reduce the structure’s emissions by 40% over the last decade. They’re now determined to cut emissions a further 40% by 2030, an ambition borne forward, in part, by the conviction that the building must remain what it has always been: a beacon of faith that better times lie ahead.

Europe’s Green Recovery Includes ‘Caveat’ for Natural Gas

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.”

In Conversation: 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.

In Conversation: 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.

In Conversation: 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.