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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Ohio Regulatory Hearing Shows Strong Support for New Solar Farms

Japanese Trading House Sumimoto Swears Off New Oil Investments

Croatia Turns to Adriatic for Offshore Wind

Colossal Fossil Equinor Writes Off $982M Loss on Tanzania LNG Plant

Kenya to Add Solar to 22 Diesel Mini-Grids

Shareholders Squirm, Climate Analysts Pounce as Shell Releases ‘Grotesque’, ‘Delusional’ Climate Plan

Colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell is taking criticism from all sides for its latest attempt at a decarbonization strategy, with fossil-friendly investors driving its share price down 2% after last week’s announcement while climate campaigners declare the plan “grotesque” and “delusional”.

Wilkinson, McCarthy Hold First Talks on Cross-Border Climate Action

With a new administration in Washington, DC setting climate action as one of its four defining priorities, Canadian Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has opened conversations with his U.S. counterpart on “an array of potential new agreements” for cross-border cooperation, the Globe and Mail reports.

Valentine’s Day Campaign, New Research Highlight B.C. Subsidies to Top Fracking Companies

“Roses are red/Money is green/Thanks for the cheque/Glad we’re on the same team.”
That’s the tone of a series of valentines released late last week by Dogwood BC, this one addressed from fossil producer Encana (now Ovintiv) to Premier John Horgan, just days after a four-page analysis by the Wilderness Committee listed the subsidies going to the province’s top 10 fracking companies.

1930s Jobs Program Holds Mixed Lessons for Biden’s U.S. Climate Corps

A recent executive order by President Biden has set policy-makers on course to design a strategy for a new U.S. Civilian Climate Corps, with details due by late April. Comparisons to the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps and to the present-day AmeriCorps are inevitable, but also problematic, observers warn.

Indigenous Clean Energy Seeks Federal Endowment to Build ‘Decolonized Energy Future’

With nearly 200 renewable energy projects in progress, each of them generating more than a megawatt of electricity at full capacity, Indigenous Clean Energy is calling on the federal government to invest C$500 million in a “decolonized energy future” for Indigenous communities.

Science ‘Translators’ Needed to Help Investors Avoid Climate Greenwashing

Investors and their advisors may be making a dangerous mistake if they allow climate modelling to give them a false sense of certainty over the physical impacts to be expected from climate change, according to a new article in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Alberta, B.C. Receive New Funding Under Federal Oil Well Cleanup Program

The Alberta, British Columbia, and federal governments have unveiled a new round of funding to help clean up inactive oil and gas sites in the province, including C$400 million in Alberta and $120 million for B.C.

South Korea Lays Out $43B Plan for World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm

Squamish Nation Plans Sustainable Community for 9,000

New Brunswick Announces $20 Million for Small Modular Reactors

Advocates Push Teachers’ Pension Fund on Green Shift

Chevron’s Richmond Oil Refinery Spills 600 Gallons into San Francisco Bay

U.S. Utilities, Independent Power Producers Take Closer Look at Green Hydrogen

Romania Sweetens Rebates for Rooftop Solar

Japan Develops New Procurement System for Renewables

IEA Sees India Solar Output Pulling Even with Coal in 2040

UK Nuclear Project Reports Rising Costs, Missed Deadlines

Egypt Pushes to Increase LNG Exports

South Africa Miner Promises No New Coal Projects

National Programs Point to ‘Explosion’ of Interest in Hydrogen

EXCLUSIVE: Study Shows Governments’ Oil and Gas Revenue Crashing as Decarbonization Takes Hold

Canadian governments stand to lose more than half of their revenue from oil and gas activities through 2040, and nearly nine-tenths of the taxes and royalties the industry says they will collect, as the global economy decarbonizes and shifts away from fossil fuel production, the UK-based Carbon Tracker Initiative concludes in an analysis released this week.

Fund Low-Income Building Retrofits in Upcoming Budget, Efficiency Canada Urges Ottawa [Sign-Ons]

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s 2021 budget must include funding for building energy retrofits for low-income households that can’t afford the up-front cost of a home renovation, Efficiency Canada argues in a sign-on published this week.

Big City Mayors Cheer as Trudeau Offers Permanent Federal Transit Funding

The federal Liberal government is promising cash-strapped cities billions of dollars in permanent funding for their public transit systems—though most of the money won’t start flowing until later in the decade.

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

Climate Crisis Will Be More Deadly than COVID, Carney Warns

Climate change could cause as many deaths each year by mid-century as the COVID-19 pandemic has produced over the last 12 months, UN climate action and finance envoy Mark Carney said last week, in an interview in which he called on governments to double their investments in a green recovery.

Ex-Exxon Engineer Personifies ‘Generational Schism’ Facing Millennial Oil and Gas Workers

As pressure on climate-unfriendly Big Fossil builds, so does the sense of disillusionment among the industry’s younger employees, for whom climate change is a real and present danger—for themselves and for their children.

Study Shows U.S. Decarbonizing by 2050 for $1 Per Person Per Day

The United States—per head of population perhaps the world’s most prodigal emitter of greenhouse gases—can reverse that and have a carbon-free future within three decades, at a cost of no more than $1 per person per day, according to a new study in the journal AGU Advances.

London Hedge Funds Bet on US$100 Carbon Price

Alberta Looks to Lithium in Oil Deposits to Stock Electric Vehicle Batteries

Students Demand Faster Action After UVic Moves $80 Million to Low-Carbon Investment Fund

New Owner Takes Over Quebec Uranium Mine Site

Suncor Restarts Emission Reduction Projects Despite Spending Freeze

U.S. Fossil Utilities Fund Republicans in Georgia Runoff Elections

Integrating Clean Energy Options Could Create ‘Paradigm Shift’, U.S. Researchers Find

Ford Boosts EV Investment After $1.28-Billion Loss Last Year

South Africa Aims to Buy 6,800 MW of Renewables this Year

Foreign Funders Bolster India’s Green Energy Ambitions

China Designates Tidal Flat for 300-MW Solar Project

Thailand Set to Open World’s Biggest Floating Solar Project in June

Utility Giant RWE Sues for €2 Billion in Netherlands Coal Exit

Norway Probes Corruption in National Oil Companies

Shale Producer Chesapeake Lays Off 15% of Work Force After Emerging from Bankruptcy

Microsoft Claims 6% Emissions Cut in One Year

Report Shows 330 Companies Moving Faster than Paris Targets

Canada Can Thrive on Road to Net-Zero if Governments Make Good Decisions Now

Canada has multiple opportunities to thrive along the road to a net-zero economy by 2050 as long as governments make the right decisions now, concludes a study released this week by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC).

U.S. Can Save $3.5 Trillion by Launching Climate Transition Today, Not Waiting Until 2030

The United States can save US$3.5 trillion by launching a serious greenhouse gas reduction effort now, rather than waiting until 2030—without even factoring in the public health benefits of fossil fuel reductions, or the avoided cost of climate-driven extreme weather, according to a new report by San Francisco-based Energy Innovation.

In Conversation: New Fibre Sources Are Key to Protecting Forest Ecosystems, Drawing Down Carbon, Rycroft Says

Nicole Rycroft is founder and executive director of Vancouver-based Canopy, and one of this year’s two recipients of the 2020 Climate Breakthrough award, a US$3-million, unrestricted award that supports “the kind of novel and potentially game-changing strategies we need in order to achieve massive greenhouse gas reductions”. In this feature interview, she talks about how to quickly and fundamentally shift supply chains and scale up next-generation alternative fibres as a key step to protect intact, carbon- and biodiversity-rich forest ecosystems.

Capital Markets ‘Shift Decisively’ Out of Oil and Gas as Investors Place Their Bets on Renewables

Investors are increasingly placing their bets with renewable energy and abandoning oil and gas, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports, in an analysis that shows capital markets “shifting decisively towards cleaner investments”.

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

Line 5 Pipeline Battle Produces Overheated Claims on Job vs. Environment

As officials in Michigan look to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, business interests in Ontario and Quebec are warning of dire economic effects. But others—like Green Party Leader Annamie Paul—say there are opportunities, too, and that presenting the pipeline as a choice between jobs and the environment is a false, and dangerous, dichotomy.

Floating Solar Could Boost African Hydropower Output by 50%

Covering just 1% of Africa’s hydroelectric reservoirs with floating solar panels could double the continent’s hydro capacity while increasing dams’ output by 50%, delivering a huge boost to a region struggling with the dual impacts of the climate emergency and widespread energy poverty, a new study concludes.

Alberta Fossil Cenovus Declares $100-Million Loss on Keystone XL Cancellation

The cancellation of the Keystone XL oil export pipeline has resulted in a second tar sands/oil sands company posting a multi-million-dollar impairment charge in its fourth quarter earnings report.

GM to Supply Fuel Cells for Hybrid-Electric Trucks

In about three years, Lisle, Illinois-based engine maker Navistar plans to start selling low-emission hydrogen-powered heavy trucks under a partnership with General Motors and a small distribution company called OneH2.

WE Charity Bans Reference to Oil, Photo of Suzuki After 2016 Event in Alberta

Offshore Rig Builder Cites Renewables in Decision to Shut Down Operations

Montreal Cleantech Leader Raises $100M for New Investment Fund

Alberta Builders Pitch Renovation Tax Credit

Brookfield Sells Off Toronto District Energy Utility Enwave

U.S. Utility Boosts Gas Plant Demand by Overstating Future Energy Demand

Sweden Plans Onshore Wind Farm with Turbines as Tall as Eiffel Tower

Fiji Sets 2036 Target for 100% RE

South Australia Looks for More Options to Add Rooftop Solar

Sri Lanka Utility Uses ‘Creative Accounting’ to Justify Continuing Coal Reliance

EV Maker Faraday Future Aims for $3.4 Billion with Public Offering

‘Hydropower Era May Be Over’ as Wind Farms Draw New Investment in Quebec, B.C.

Wind energy investment received twin boosts in Quebec and British Columbia last week, with one of the announcements prompting the Globe and Mail to comment that “the era of building big new hydropower dams in Quebec might be over”.

Tech Sector Helps Diversify Alberta Job Market, But Gains May Not Last

Technology companies are delivering a ray of hope to an Alberta economy facing the combined impact of a global health crisis and shaky demand for oil. But the sector’s success could be precarious as the province competes with other jurisdictions for investment and jobs.

Permian Basin Drilling Leases Put New Mexico’s Aquifers at Risk

The vast and pristine network of caves that thread through the limestone and gypsum landscape of southeastern New Mexico are otherworldly in their beauty, rich in scientific and cultural revelation—and increasingly threatened by ongoing Permian Basin fossil exploration.

Veteran Negotiators, ‘Dream Team’ of Advocates May Bode Well for COP 26 ‘Moment’

With at least two veteran negotiators back for a repeat engagement, a “dream team” of newer advocates coalescing, and a massive sense of urgency carrying over from 2020, this year’s United Nations climate conference in Glasgow may be shaping up as the biggest COP “moment” since the 2015 Paris Agreement—even with the expected gaps in a major upcoming science report drawing comparisons to “Star Wars without Darth Vader”.

Industrial Hog Farm Biogas Projects Ignore Community Impacts

Many Black and low-income communities in the U.S. have long played unwilling hosts to industrial hog farms and their sub-par waste-treatment processes. Now, efforts to turn hog-generated methane into renewable natural gas are doing little to improve the quality of life in these communities—and may even be making it worse.

Ottawa Instructs Infrastructure Bank to Invest $1 Billion in Indigenous Projects

EU Transition Fund Won’t Support Gas Projects

Despite ‘Tons and Tons of Space’, Canada Lags on Rooftop Solar

Federal, Provincial Governments Fund Heating Efficiency in Manitoba

Poland Plans to Sideline Coal, Embrace Renewables

Climate Strategy Will Reshape EU Foreign Policy, Cut Oil Imports 79%

Rising Deforestation Pulls Amazon Biome toward ‘Death Spiral’

WoodMac Foresees Green Hydrogen Costs Falling Fast

60% of North American Fleets Can Save Money by Electrifying

212,000 Kilometres of New Pipelines World-Wide Would Enable 170 Billion Tonnes of Emissions, Analysts Warn

A 212,000-kilometre network of oil and gas pipelines now in construction or under development around the world could set investors up for US$1 trillion in stranded asset risk, while enabling 170 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over their full operating lives, Global Energy Monitor (GEM) warns in a devastating assessment released this week.

Wyoming Citizens Divided on Economic Shift from Fossil to Renewables

As the low-carbon transition takes hold, fossil-producing Wyoming is at a crossroads. The windy state is grasping at the potential to invest big in renewable power—but old habits die hard, and uncertainty about wind’s ability to deliver has many citizens fearing change.

‘Ending Zero-Sum Green Energy Politics’ Depends on Local Solutions, Win-Win Thinking

A detailed, local pitch for jobs and economic activity will be central to the Biden administration’s push to transform the way the United States produces energy and addresses the climate crisis, writes Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, in a recent opinion piece on the pathway to “ending zero-sum green energy politics”.

Report Tracks $67B in Scandinavian Banks’ Fossil Investments Since Paris Agreement

Crédit Suisse, BNP Bow to Campaigners, Drop Amazon Oil Financing

Indigenous Ownership of B.C. Small Hydro Project Boosts Community Health, Well-Being

Black Property Owners at Risk as U.S. Pipeliners Assert Eminent Domain

Vancouver Transit Agency Buys 15 New Electric Buses

New York Pushes Utilities to Disclose Climate-Related Risk

Florida Utility Shutters its Last Coal Station

Morocco Touts Green Hydrogen Gains

Iberdola, Danone Build Europe’s Biggest Solar Project in Spain

Italian Fossil Leads Push for Wind Energy

Serbia Hires Norwegian, Belgian Developers for 800 MW of Wind by 2026

Mars, DHL Invest £350 Million in Sustainable Warehousing, Logistics

Fossils Plan Biggest Geothermal Investments in Three Decades

Exxon Faces ‘Frustrated Investors’ After First-Ever Financial Loss

Colossal fossil ExxonMobil declared an annual financial loss yesterday for the first time ever, capping a year in which it had to borrow money and sell off assets to manage a US$15.2-billion payout to its shareholders.

New Campaign Presses RBC, Other Canadian Banks to Drop Fossil Investments [How-to Guide]

A series of socially-distanced demonstrations across Canada last Friday kicked off a national campaign to press the Royal Bank of Canada and other big banks to stop investing in fossil fuel projects and respect Indigenous rights.

Banking Industry Funnelled $17 Trillion into Big Plastic over 4½ Years

A groundbreaking investigation into plastics funding has found that the world’s biggest financial institutions have been “silently and indiscriminately” bankrolling the biggest actors in the global plastic supply chain. Between January 2015 and September 2019, they wrote cheques totalling more than US$1.7 trillion.

Musk Faces Headwinds in Bid to Power SpaceX Rockets with Fossil Gas

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is facing serious criticism for plans to power his other major business venture, SpaceX, with fossil gas.

Circular Approach Can Cut Automakers’ Carbon Intensity 75%, Resource Consumption 80%

A circular economy approach to auto manufacturing could cut the sector’s per-passenger life cycle carbon emissions by 75% and its “non-circular” resource consumption 80% while driving “transformative solutions for the automotive industry,” write two consultants from Accenture and one executive from the World Economic Forum in a recent post for the WEF blog.

First Nations Say Hydro-Québec Jumping the Gun on U.S. Transmission Line

Analyst Suggests Path to Clean Up Ontario’s Hydro ‘Mess’

U.S. Announces $123.6 Billion for Manufacturing Innovation

Deutsche Bank Sees Climate Regs as Threat to German Automakers

Mining Giant BHP Admits Losses up to $1.25B on Australian Coal Mine

Denver Sets 2030 Net-Zero Target for New Homes, Buildings

Abu Dhabi Funds Solar Project for 50,000 in Somaliland

Fossils ‘Stunned’, ‘Aghast’ After Biden Pauses New Oil and Gas Leases

North American fossils are declaring themselves “stunned” and “aghast” at the wave of climate action emanating from the White House last week, with U.S. President Joe Biden ordering a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land and climate advisor Gina McCarthy promising “the most aggressive” greenhouse gas reductions the country can achieve.

Jason Kenney vs. the Plimsoll Line

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney proved to be “all hat but no horse” when it came to roping and tying down the ill-fated Keystone XL pipeline. Now, after risking billions in taxpayer funds on that folly, it appears he may soon be riding out of town on a one-trick pony. A metaphorical analysis by veteran journalist Paul McKay.

Global Climate Adaptation Funding Overreported, Underspent

Even if global climate adaptation financing were as high as reported—and it isn’t—it would still fall woefully short of what’s needed. And the projects that are being funded may be leaving their intended beneficiaries worse off due to oblivious planning that ignores local drivers of vulnerability.

Trudeau Tree-Planting Plan to Run $2.78B Over Budget, PBO Warns

The parliamentary budget office says a pledge by the Trudeau Liberals to plant two billion trees could cost almost double what the government says.

South Australia Hits 100% Solar with Lowest Prices in Country

Three New York City Pension Funds Pull $4B Out of Fossil Fuels

France’s Central Bank Sets 2024 Deadline to Dump Coal, Limit Oil and Gas Investments

Cenovus to Lay Off 2,150 as Spending Plan Emphasizes Debt Reduction

Ontario Pension Fund Buys In to U.S. Solar Project Developer

U.S. Fossils Seek Farm Belt Allies to Fight Biden EV Plan

U.S. EV Charging Company Angles for $2.6 Billion in Public Offering

Coal Plant Closure Leaves Portugal with One More in Operation

Cambodia Lines Up Investors for $400M Large Hydro Project

Millions of Americans Expected to Relocate in Bid to Dodge Climate Impacts

LNG in Vietnam Faces Regulatory, Market Obstacles

Three Floating Solar Plants to Deliver 265 MW in Greece

Sweeping Biden Executive Orders Halt Fossil Leases, Boost Renewables, Stress Environmental Justice and Scientific Integrity

With a set of three sweeping executive orders Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden launched an abrupt shift from four years of climate denial and inaction. The orders included measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, increase its reliance on renewable energy, accelerate government renewables procurement and research, restore scientific integrity, and begin addressing the searing inequities and environmental justice issues that had been allowed to fester under his predecessor’s watch.

GM Pledges to Phase Out Gasoline and Diesel Cars, SUVs by 2035

Giant U.S. automaker General Motors is declaring an end to new cars and SUVs with gasoline and diesel engines by 2035 and promising carbon-neutral operations by 2040, marking what the Washington Post calls “an historic turning point for the iconic American automobile company” and a “future full of new electric vehicles for American motorists.”

CNRL, Imperial, 11 Others Face Rating Downgrades Due to Competition from Renewables

Alberta fossils Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Imperial Oil are on a list of 13 big oil and gas companies that may face rating downgrades within weeks, and Suncor Energy was also assigned a negative outlook, after ratings agency Standard & Poors shifted its risk assessment for the entire fossil industry from “intermediate” to “moderately high”.

‘Net Negative’ Claims from Alberta Fossils Underscore Flaws with Carbon Capture

Two Alberta-based fossil companies are reporting that they’ve reached “net-negative” carbon emissions, thanks to carbon capture technology. But while the news sounds promising for CCS—which experts increasingly believe will be necessary to keep average global warming below 2°C—there are still concerns about how emissions reductions are calculated, and how CCS may reduce the incentive to actually reduce emissions.

Critics Weigh Merits of Soil Sequestration-Based Carbon Storage

Soil scientists, carbon credit start-ups, and now U.S. President Joe Biden want to enlist American farmers to fight the climate crisis through soil sequestration. Some, however, are questioning whether the benefits are as advertised, or if the initiative is a dangerous distraction from more proven, heavyweight carbon solutions like peatland restoration and forest protection.

Offsets May Give Big Polluters a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card on Carbon Emissions

Some of the world’s biggest carbon polluters, including colossal fossils Royal Dutch Shell and BP, may be on the verge of receiving a “get out of jail free” card by exerting influence on the design of a new global market for voluntary carbon offsets, DeSmog UK reports.

New York Approves New Transmission Line, Calculates 39,000 MW of Renewables Demand by 2040

New York’s utility regulator has approved a new 93-mile, US$854-million transmission line that is just one part of a wider effort to decarbonize the state’s electricity grid by 2040.

Fossil Industry’s Oceans Project Falls Flat After Promising Major Plastics Cleanup

Citing lack of capacity, the fossil industry is walking away from its much-touted Renew Oceans project, a flagship in its pledge to spend US$1.5 billion over five years to help clean up the world’s most polluted rivers.

Ex-U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson Signs On to Climate Investment Fund

North Sea Fossil Work Force Faces Looming Job Cuts

Tesla Renews Research Partnership with Dalhousie University

Mississauga Logistics Firm Orders 6,300 Electric Trucks

Shopify Founder Drops Investment Dollars into Nuclear Fusion Developer

Construction Set to Start on Montana’s Biggest Wind Farm

170 Jobs Lost as SunPower Shuts Oregon Assembly Plant

Japan Aims for 50% RE by 2050

Maersk, Total Line Up $100 Million in Suriname Oil Drilling Contracts

Biden to Pause Oil and Gas Leasing, Emphasize Environmental Justice in ‘Climate Day’ Executive Orders Expected Today

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to pause new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters and unveil an ambitious plan to put environmental justice at the centre of his climate program in a series of executive orders to be signed later today.

Inventors Unveil New EV Battery that Charges in Five Minutes

An electric vehicle battery that charges in just five minutes is now commercially ready—so long as EV charging systems are up to the task, say its inventors. And BP’s Advanced Mobility division is keen to make that happen.

Vulcan County, Alberta Sets Sights on 500-MW Wind Farm

The rural county in Alberta that brought Canada its biggest solar farm to date is at it again, with word this week that it is seeking regulatory approval for a 500-megawatt wind farm.

Hydro-Québec Lands 88-MW Green Hydrogen Deal with Thyssenkrupp

Provincial utility Hydro-Québec has signed a deal with a division of Essen, Germany-based industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp to build one of the world’s biggest green hydrogen plants, an 88-megawatt facility in Varennes that will produce 11,100 tonnes of the product per year.

BlackRock Presses Businesses on Climate Disclosure as Campaigners Push BlackRock to Divest

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is receiving media play for endorsing net-zero investments in his annual letter to investors, but taking fire from fossil divestment analysts who see little change in what one group calls the company’s “extremely weak coal commitment”.

TC Energy May Survive Keystone Cancellation Unscathed. Alberta Not So Much.

In the wake of U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, analysts say proponent TC Energy should be able to walk away from the intensely controversial megaproject relatively unscathed. But the same can’t be said for the Jason Kenney government in Alberta, whose eleventh-hour subsidy kept the pipeline alive long enough for Biden to shut it down.

BP Slashes Fossil Exploration Team from 700 to 100 as Shift to Renewables Takes Hold

Colossal fossil BP has cut its oil and gas exploration team from more than 700 geologists, engineers, and scientists to fewer than 100, as new CEO Bernard Looney begins reorganizing the company’s operations in response to the climate crisis.

92 Big Corporations Push Japan to Double Climate Target

Japanese ‘Environmental’ Fund Finances Vietnam Coal Plant

UVic Divestment Plan Falls Short on Carbon Cuts, Reconciliation

IEEFA Warns Investors Off Two New Virginia Gas Plants

Minnesota Ratepayers to Save $160M from Wind Farm Repowering Project

Two Spanish Developers Compete for Big New Pumped Storage Project

Eastern Indonesia Aims for Big Solar-Electric Deployment

Colossal Fossil Total Buys 20% of Coal Giant Adani’s Green Subsidiary

German Company Plans to Licence Solar Truck Trailer Design

Time to Move On from Keystone, Ambassador Says, as Biden, Trudeau Talk Climate Cooperation

With U.S. President Joe Biden making climate action a top priority for his new administration, and an analyst warning that the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation will stifle Alberta’s fossil industry for years, Canada’s U.S. ambassador is saying that it’s time to move on and focus on other opportunities in the bilateral relationship.

‘Gas Is Over’, EU Banker Declares, Casting Pall on Ontario Teachers’ Fund’s Net-Zero Plans

A European banking executive’s declaration that “to put it mildly, gas is over” is casting a pall over what should have been a moment of triumph for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)—the release of a new net-zero emissions plan, just a month after the fund became majority owner of Italy’s second-largest natural gas pipeline network.

EVs Surge Toward Mass Adoption as Sticker Price Falls, More Models Enter Market

Two new analyses show electric vehicles approaching a “tipping point” for mass adoption, with global sales rising 43% last year, battery costs plunging, and the number of models available in the United States expected to triple over the next three years.

81% of ‘Removed’ Atmospheric Carbon is Reused to Extract More Fossil Fuel

The global operational capacity of carbon capture and storage (CCS) currently stands at 39 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 per year, or roughly 0.1% of global annual emissions, with deployment slow and plagued by accidents. And despite its fervid marketing as a climate saviour, CCS today is primarily used merely to extract more fossil fuels.

Severe Weather Costs Canadian Insurers $2.4 Billion in 2020

Australian Gas Companies Investing Heavily in Political Influence, New Analysis Shows

Pipeline Builder Enbridge Pitches Shares to Environmentally Conscious Investors

Irving Refinery Cites Falling Demand after Laying Off 60 in St. John

Japan Development Bank Earmarks $500M for Wind

North Macedonia Issues Call for 60 MW of Solar

Turkey Places Itself Among Top Four Countries for Geothermal

Equinor May Sell Off Failed Fracking Operations in Montana, North Dakota

Vestas Cuts 220 Wind Manufacturing Jobs in Denmark, UK

‘Humiliated’ Kenney Demands Trade Sanctions, Could Sell Pipeline for Scrap as TC Shuts Down Keystone Construction

A “humiliated” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney demanded trade sanctions against the United States, TC Energy cut 1,000 construction jobs, Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal falsely claimed 10,000 to 11,000 jobs lost, and the Keystone XL pipeline was at risk of being sold off for scrap after President Joe Biden signed a Day One executive order cancelling the presidential permit for the intensely controversial fossil megaproject.

Flurry of Biden Executive Orders Returns U.S. to Paris Agreement, Begins Reversing Trump Deregulatory Agenda

News reports Wednesday heralded the dawn of a new era in U.S. climate, energy, and environmental justice policy, as President Joe Biden marked his first day in office by signing a wave of executive orders to begin rolling back four years of deregulation under Donald Trump.

Global Energy Transition Investment Grows 9% in 2020, Hits Record $501 Billion Despite Pandemic

Global investment in the energy transition hit a record US$501.3 billion last year, posting a brisk 9% increase in spite of the severe restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released this week by BloombergNEF.

Power Corp. Division Says $1-Billion Renewables Fund Will Be ‘First of Several’

A division of storied Quebec industrial conglomerate Power Corporation is launching a C$1-billion investment fund focused on solar and wind projects.

Federal Green Economy Procurement May Kick Off in October, Government Relations Specialist Advises

A Toronto-based government relations specialist is advising clean transition entrepreneurs to tentatively mark October in their calendars for the first signs of federal procurement supporting a Build Back Better agenda.

Canadian Carbon Price Proponent Pushes Back on False Narratives

Those peddling the notion that Canada’s federal government is holding back some portion of the federal carbon tax from its citizens are pushing a false narrative, writes Toronto-based Clean Prosperity, in an analysis that lays out the plain truth: nine out of every ten dollars is returned via taxpayer rebates, with the remainder going to support local emissions reduction projects.

Survey Shows Oklahoma, Texas Drawing More Fossil Investment than Alberta

Norway Projects Oil Production Cuts through 2023

Climate Change Drives Up Cost of U.S. Flooding

Hydrogen Train Deal Brings Investor Attention to B.C-Based Ballard

Analysts Tout Intertie Between Site C in B.C., Electricity Demand in Alberta

‘Charging Deserts’ for EVs Create Racial Divide in Chicago

Developer Makes First Pitch for 2.5-GW Wind Development Off Virginia, NC Coast

New Mexico Regulators Cite 100% Clean Power Law in Blocking Utility Gas Project

Japanese Owner Writes Off Australia’s Newest Coal Plant as Worthless

New Renewables Investment Follows South Korea’s Net-Zero Promise

Political Uncertainty Drives Fossils, Renewable Developers Out of Mexico

Brazil’s Installed Solar Reaches 7 GW as Country Sets 45% RE Goal for Mid-Century

Extreme Weather Gaining Severity Across Nova Scotia

Colossal Fossil Total Buys French Biogas Company

$38-Million Investment to Help Nigerian Firm Bring Solar to West Africa

Fossils Create Less than 1% of Canadian Jobs, Making 20-Year Phaseout ‘Very Feasible’, Study Concludes

The Canadian economy has added 42 new jobs for each one it has lost in fossil fuels since 2014, and a 20-year industry phaseout would only reduce fossil employment by about 8,500 positions per year—as many as the country usually creates every 10 days—concludes economist Jim Stanford in an analysis published this week by Environmental Defence.

Biden Brings a Policy ‘Sea Change’, Podesta Tells GreenPAC Webinar

An aggressive program of executive actions and green investments, a White House staffed with “climate champions”, and a concerted effort to rebuild the U.S. government’s scientific capacity and morale will all begin to take shape today with the inauguration of President Joe Biden, former White House counsellor John Podesta said Tuesday afternoon, during a webinar hosted by Toronto-based GreenPAC.

Campaign Promises, Cabinet and Senate Leadership Put Climate at Centre of Biden Agenda

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in later today as the 46th president and 49th vice-president of the United States, they’ll take office with a raft of campaign promises and a team cabinet nominees and committee chairs that hold the potential to deliver fast, decisive action on the climate crisis.

TC Energy Touts ‘Zero-Emissions’ Plan, Kenney Threatens Court Action as Keystone Cancellation Looms

Calgary-based pipeliner TC Energy touted a “zero-emissions” approach to its fossil fuel transportation business, the federal and Alberta government vowed to continue the fight, and Premier Jason Kenney admitted his province stands to lose a billion-dollar gamble as the reality sank in that U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline after he’s sworn in later today.

84% of New U.S. Generating Capacity Will Deliver Fossil-Free Electricity This Year

Wind and solar will deliver 70% of new U.S. renewable energy capacity this year, compared to only 16% expected to come from natural gas, while battery storage will vault to 11% of the total, according to new data released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Be Wary of Plans for Direct CO2 Removal, Greenpeace Warns Investors

While direct carbon removal (DCR) technologies like afforestation and direct air carbon capture are showing up in climate plans across the corporate world, it will be sharp emissions reductions, not DCR, that actually will keep a 1.5˚C climate target in view, Greenpeace UK warns in a new report.

Weak Climate Risk Disclosure Puts Canadian Businesses at Disadvantage

With Canadian companies continuing to flout climate risk disclosure regulations, even as many of their global competitors come clean, the CEO of one of the nation’s largest investment managers says the disconnect will come back to burn the economy, particularly as the country struggles to rebuild from the pandemic.

‘Smart Cities’ Hype Enters the Global South, after North American Projects Fall Short

While oft-criticized in North America for promising much and delivering little, the “smart city” concept is gaining a foothold in the Global South—a troubling development for those who worry about the incursions of Big Data, or see the projects as little more than oversized gated communities.

Massachusetts Governor Vetoes 2050 Net-Zero Law

BitCrude Completes Commercial Demonstration for Semi-Solid Bitumen Shipping

Muskrat Falls Hydro Megaproject Gets $844M in Federal Debt Deferrals

Delay of Calgary’s Green Line LRT Could Cost Tens of Millions: Nenshi

Toronto’s First Cobalt Signs Tentative Deal for Supplies from Congo

Prince George Petrochemical Plan Gets New Lease on Life

United Airlines Pins Hopes on Carbon Capture to Hit 100% Goal by 2050

Minnesota Considers Solar for Closed Landfill Sites

Investors’ Group Supports Mandatory Annual Climate Votes at Corporate AGMs

Engie, Neoen Plan $1.2-Billion Solar+Storage Project in France

Swedish Utility Vattenfall Aims for Wind-Powered Mining

Qatar Investment Fund, Colossal Fossil Enel to Fund Renewables Push in Africa

Ørsted Green Hydrogen Plan Gains EU Backing

Solar+Hydro Storage Brings Hawaiian Island to 80% RE

UNEP Calls for Better Funding to Speed Global Climate Adaptation

As the climate crisis accelerates and the Earth nears a fast-approaching “temperature tipping point,” the world’s nations need to speed up their adaptation planning and funding, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warns in its latest Adaptation Gap Report.

GM Canada Announces $1-Billion Electric Van Investment in Ingersoll, Ontario

Results of a ratification vote were to be released today after GM Canada and Unifor reached a tentative deal that will see the giant automaker invest C$1 billion to build electric vans at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

New Exposé Reveals $171 Million in No-Bid Contracts on Site C Hydro Megaproject

Disgraced engineering giant SNC Lavalin and a former BC Hydro chief engineer were among the big winners when the provincial utility awarded C$171 million in sole-source, “no-bid” contracts for its controversial Site C hydropower megaproject, according to an exposé published by The Narwhal last week.

New Ministerial Mandate Letters Lay Out Federal Agenda on Climate, Green Recovery

While the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is still necessarily taking up most of the oxygen on Parliament Hill, climate action and a green recovery figure fairly prominently in a new batch of ministerial mandate letters released last Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

McCarthy: 2021 Could Be ‘Pivotal Year’ for Climate Action

With climate action and ambition accelerating toward the end of last year, in Canada and internationally, and COVID-19 vaccine distribution under way, 2021 could be a pivotal year in the fight to get the climate crisis under control, writes Shawn McCarthy, senior counsel at the Sussex Strategy Group, in a post last week for Policy Options.

Science Must Determine Climate Targets, Business Execs Insist

Forward-thinking executives are calling on their peers in the business world to listen to science in a bid to avert catastrophic global warming. That means investing in low-carbon technologies, supporting carbon pricing, and putting a stop to hollow, disingenuous actions—like making far-future net-zero pledges with no plans or accountability systems in place.

Report Declares Carbon Capture and Storage a ‘Dangerous Distraction’

Anyone banking on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the silver bullet that will allow for undisturbed continuation of the fossil fuel business had better have (extremely) deep pockets, reports Grist, citing a new study that declares the technology gobsmackingly expensive, wildly inefficient, and a dangerous form of climate-action delay.

Newfoundland Offers Suncor $175 Million to Restart Terra Nova Offshore Oilfield

Newfoundland and Labrador is offering C$175 million to the owners of the dormant Terra Nova offshore oilfield, but only if oil starts pumping again.

U.S. Expects 15.4 GW of New Grid-Scale Solar in 2021

Feds, Province Announce $10M for Ontario Cobalt Refinery

Ottawa Funds Solar Projects with Two Northern Sask First Nations

Louisiana Sees Offshore Oil and Gas Hub Shifting to Wind

Uzbekistan Sets Course for Up to 800 MW New Solar