SNAPSHOT: The Fossil Industry Goes for Broke

 
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The top-line fossil sector news in 2018 made it tough to imagine the collapse of one of the world’s most powerful and politically connected industries. But while fossils held onto their considerable financial and political control over energy worldwide, deep cracks started to appear for the first time that will ultimately challenge their long-term dominance.

Coal closures were commonplace in 2018, oil and gas prices fluctuated wildly, and the realization increasingly dawned that proven hydrocarbon reserves can and must stay in the ground. But while the industry began to buckle under the weight of a global transition it could not stop, that shift was not keeping pace with countries’ commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement, much less the urgent 1.5°C target set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in early October.

The Collapse of Coal

The most obvious, pervasive sign of fossil industry distress was the accelerating collapse of what was once a dominant coal industry. But coal plants were still operating in 2018, new ones were still being built, and the industry’s decline fell far short of the Paris targets. While momentum was quickly shifting away from the electricity source that will have to be the first phased out in any reasonable post-carbon pathway, there was still much more to be done as 2018 drew to a close.

The year opened on news that renewable energy in the European Union had outpaced coal in 2017, but the continent was still short of a full phaseout. Germany faced increased pressure to make the phaseout happen. France declared a 2021 phaseout deadline, less than a month after introducing a fossil production ban that would keep five billion barrels in the ground. Finland set a 2029 coal phaseout date and offered subsidies for faster action.

Spain’s new government unveiled a €250-million job transition fund to support its plan to shut down most coal mines by the end of the year. Canada’s coal phaseout was expected to eliminate 16 megatonnes of carbon pollution by 2030 and 100 megatonnes by 2055, and the co-chair of its Just Transition Task Force asked for a longer time span for job retraining funds. Renewable energy installations exceeded fossil capacity for the first time ever in the United Kingdom, where subsidy-free renewables and affordable storage were expected to leave natural gas out in the cold by 2030, and private sector action was speeding coal’s demise in Australia, despite the intentions of its pro-coal Liberal Coalition government.

Coal’s dominance in India was threatened by falling solar costs and mounting air pollution. New research showed 40% of China’s coal plants losing money, though the country quietly restarted construction on 46.7 gigawatts of new capacity. In Japan, other big industrials were expected to follow Tokyo-based conglomerate Marubeni’s lead after it signaled its exit from coal. Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines were on track to lose US$60 billion on stranded coal assets in the next decade, and South Africa laid plans to replace coal and nuclear capacity with renewables and natural gas.

In the United States, power utilities hit an inflexion point, with solar and wind farms coming in less costly to own and operate than coal plants that were already built and paid for. Regional grid manager PJM Interconnection determined that power utility FirstEnergy Solutions could shut down four gigawatts—four billion watts—of existing coal capacity without compromising grid reliability, even as U.S. coal barons’ wish list became Donald Trump’s to-do list. Despite the former reality TV star’s best efforts, U.S. government data showed a promised coal recovery evaporating. Trump’s own appointees to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected his bailout plan for financially stressed coal and nuclear utilities, and the massive, 2,250-megawatt Navajo coal station in Arizona faced the reality of a 2019 closure date after a potential new owner backed out. Separate reports by the World Bank and the U.S. Energy Information Administration pointed to the futility of trying to rebuild the world’s rapidly failing coal industry.

Delegates to the IPCC meeting on low-carbon pathways in Incheon, South Korea, considered drastic coal cuts as a way to protect the 1.5°C target, and Bloomberg News analyst David Fickling said coal consumption just might achieve the required 60% reduction by 2030. But Carbon Tracker warned that coal plant retirements would have to triple just to match up with the Paris targets, and Oil Change International scorched the International Energy Agency for a set of future scenarios that would take climate change over the cliff.

Extreme Oil Meets Supply-Side Campaigning

After many years of determined, creative effort to reduce demand for fossil energy, campaigners pushed for a wider mix of decarbonization strategies, with a stepped-up focus on keeping known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

Economists Fergus Green of the London School of Economics and Richard Denniss of the Australia Institute earned a thumbs-up from veteran Vox.com climate columnist David Roberts for their “cogent argument that the activists are onto something—that restrictive supply-side (RSS) climate policies have unique economic and political benefits and deserve a place alongside carbon prices and renewable energy supports in the climate policy toolkit.” The Stockholm Environment Institute said new fossil infrastructure imperils domestic and global climate goals. Earth scientist David Hughes showed that Canada will never meet its Paris Agreement targets if it keeps on scaling up oil and gas infrastructure, and Oil Change Senior Advisor Adam Scott pointed to Canadian fossils’ late-fall production cuts as a remarkable example of what a managed decline could look like. Fossil analysts at Wood Mackenzie concluded that a 2035 target for the off-fossil transition to reach the point of no return was too late to meet the IPCC’s 1.5°C target. Securing America’s Future Energy cast the country’s military spending as a minimum US$81-billion subsidy to the fossil industry

New Zealand banned new oil and gas exploration, while Danish Oil and Natural Gas renamed itself for noted Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted (over the legal objections of their new namesake’s descendants) and completed its transformation into an offshore wind powerhouse. California was told in no uncertain terms that it must phase out its fossil fuel production or lose its status as a climate change leader. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) looked askance at the business case for the new Teck Resources tar sands/oil sands megaproject in Alberta, and ExxonMobil subsidiary Imperial Oil announced a new bitumen project of its own, just as some of the province’s biggest fossils began cutting back production.

Renewables Win on Price

The other memo many fossils seemed to be missing was that the shift to renewable energy was continuing as the cost of renewables and energy storage continued to fall.

Oxford, U.K.-based Aurora Energy Research Ltd concluded that fossil companies stood to lose US$19 trillion in income by 2040, as cumulative electric vehicle sales hit 540 million and oil demand peaked in less than a decade. A Carbon Tracker analysis released at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco showed fossil demand peaking in 2023. The economics of new coal and natural gas plants crumbled, Denver-based Xcel Energy said renewables were already undercutting the cost of existing fossil generation, and a study in the journal Nature Climate Change cautioned that a carbon bubble driven by cheap renewables could trigger a global economic crisis. Investment executives advised oil and gas to “face its future as a declining industry” and leave it to financial professionals to allocate the US$29 trillion that will be needed by 2050 to decarbonize the global energy system

Fossils Fight Back

Several fossil companies faced sustained pressure from their own investors. An annual general meeting resolution asked TransCanada Corporation to assess the business risk it faces in the low-carbon transition, and Kinder Morgan shareholders demanded the company report on its sustainability practices and climate-related investment risk. “As you are probably aware, these proposals are non-binding,” Executive Chair Rich Kinder said in a statement following the vote. IEEFA said ExxonMobil shareholders committed a “failure of epic proportions,” after an earlier push to hold the company’s board to a higher standard of climate risk disclosure fizzled, and New York said it would see Exxon in court.

But the company was undeterred, with management doubling down on future oil and gas production even as a former executive urged fossils to get with the program. BP foresaw its emissions rising through 2040, with oil demand peaking at 110 million barrels per day, and CEO Bob Dudley called for trillions in new fossil spending. Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden refused to set a carbon reduction target after his company sustained a shareholder grilling on its greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately pursuing a strategy of extracting all its fossil fuel reserves before they become stranded assets. A lawsuit asserted that #shellknew about the dangers of climate change as far back as 1988. In early December, Shell became the world’s first colossal fossil to tie executive pay to greenhouse gas reductions. OPEC expected oil to draw US$11 trillion in new investment through 2040.

Carbon disclosure and pricing emerged as mainstream practices for investors and big businesses, and fossil-focused Houston, Texas, recognized that it faces Rust Belt status if it fails to embrace a renewable energy future. The Petroleum Services Association of Canada said it would lobby the Canadian government for an energy industry that includes renewables as well as fossils.

But taxpayers were still underwriting the fossil industries their governments needed to rein in in time to deliver on the post-carbon transition. The Trump administration used tax breaks and regulatory fixes to keep U.S. pipeliners and coal operators afloat; OECD countries issued fossil fuel subsidies worth at least US$373 billion as recently as 2015; and the average Canadian tax return included a $234 giveaway to Big Oil, even though two-thirds of those taxpayers opposed fossil subsidies. During midterm elections in November, U.S. citizens in 24 states seized control of the energy agenda with a total of 64 ballot initiatives, though fossils won big in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington State when they chose to throw their overwhelming financial weight around on specific ballot issues. U.S. fossils lost control of the climate denial network they had spawned, but still sought the right PR strategies to fight public opinion and slow down the shift away from fossil fuels.

Pollution in All Places

The fossil industry continued to do severe damage to the atmosphere and the environment, even as its business model became more and more tenuous.

NASA pointed a finger at natural gas as the clear culprit in spiking methane emissions, and Oil Change said G20 countries’ plans for new gas infrastructure would undercut their climate promises. Fracking needed a 329-fold reduction in its environmental impact to match the sustainability of renewables, and fossils geared up for a new wave of liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion. The LNG Canada consortium approved a C$40-billion megaproject in British Columbia, three more Canadian LNG projects inched toward construction in 2019, and the Squamish Nation in British Columbia approved a C$1.1-billion impact and benefit agreement with the Woodfibre LNG project.

As the reality of declining gasoline demand began to set in, fossils launched a US$186-billion investment binge in future plastic pollution, betting big that plastics and petrochemical demand would be enough to offset emission reductions in other sectors. Tar sands/oil sands producers began searching for bitumen products “beyond combustion,” while some U.S. states looked to the petrochemical boom to turn the Rust Belt into the Plastics Belt.

After Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna approved oil and gas drilling off the Nova Scotia coast, it took less than four months for BP’s “safe” offshore drilling program about 330 kilometres east of Halifax to spill 136,000 litres of toxic mud into the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. risk mitigation specialist Dr. Robert Bea, leader of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group and co-founder of the U.S. Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, concluded that BP had underestimated the risk of a “sustained, uncontrolled blowout.”

After the Newfoundland and Labrador government set a 12-year strategy to step up its search for offshore oil, Husky Oil’s SeaRose offshore drilling platform lost 250,000 litres in a major storm, producing the region’s worst oil spill ever and putting seabirds at risk of an agonizing death. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers got special advance access to federal marine protection regulations for the Laurentian Channel, a biologically diverse portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence southwest of Newfoundland, and the 2018 federal budget included major funding for a protected areas strategy but no action on fossil fuel subsidies. European Union parliamentarians noticed a revolving door between public sector regulatory positions and the fossil industry.

A wave of opposition greeted a White House plan to expand offshore oil drilling, with coastal states worried about putting tourism and recreation businesses at risk. “Ain’t gonna happen. Not on my watch!” declared South Carolina state representative Nancy Mace, a newly elected legislator described by the Washington Post as a former Trump campaign worker and fiscal conservative.

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Batteries Will Turn European Peaker Plants to Stranded Assets by 2030: WoodMac

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

China Dumps Fossil Stocks to Lure Green Bond Investors

Colossal Fossil Total Buys Controlling Share of Scottish Offshore Wind Farm

120 Permit Violations Make Coal Plant Indiana’s Worst Water Polluter

Chevron LNG Megaproject Faces $100M Carbon Charge in Australia

Investors Put $15 Billion into Mozambique LNG Project

Ontario Farm Community Frets About Taking ‘Forever’ Nuclear Waste

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.

Greta Thunberg Justin Trudeau

Tie Canada’s UN Security Council Bid to Climate Action, Thunberg Urges Island States

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushing hard for a long-coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council, #FridaysforFuture founder Greta Thunberg is urging small island states to hinge their votes for both Canada and Norway on the two fossil countries stepping up their action on climate change.

Conservative Leadership Candidate Erin O’Toole Pledges Fossil Subsidy Phaseout

Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole declares fossil fuel subsidies “a form of corporate welfare” and promises to phase them out if he ever forms a government, in a 50-page policy platform released Wednesday.

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.

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.

B.C., Coastal GasLink Drop Charges Against 22 Wet’suwet’en Protesters

Exxon Climate Case Clearly Belonged in Mass. State Court, Federal Judge Asserts

Locals See Hope of Cleaner Air as Maharashtra State Delays 1,320-MW Coal Plant

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

Italian Regulator Approves 605-MW Coal Shutdown

Nobel Economist Nordhaus Proposes Import Tariffs to Enforce National Climate Action

The U.S. economist who shared a Nobel Prize for his work as a carbon pricing pioneer is now advocating import tariffs to penalize countries that don’t participate in international climate agreements.

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.

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.

Colossal Fossil BP Cuts Nearly 10,000 Jobs

Community Solar, Storage Can Replace Dirty Gas Peaker Plants

Minnesota Investment Board Dumps Thermal Coal Holdings

Climeworks Raises $76 Million in Latest Investment Round

Corona Lockdown Speeds India’s Transition from Coal to Renewables

Greening Steel, Cement Can Deliver Huge Carbon Savings

U.S. Oil Refinery Shifts to Biodiesel

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

Australia Gas Industry was Already Crashing Before Pandemic

Opposition Builds Over South Bruce Nuclear Waste Disposal Plan

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.

Resist Fossil Lobbying, End Oil and Gas Subsidies, International Agencies Urge Canada

Two leading international agencies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency, are urging the federal and provincial governments to do away with fossil subsidies worth US$3.7 billion last year, just as the fossil lobby accelerates its demands for exactly that kind of largesse from taxpayers.

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.

Alberta Under Pressure to Restart Environmental Monitoring for Oil and Gas Operations

A group of seven environmental groups and Indigenous communities in Alberta is pressing the Jason Kenney government to restart environmental monitoring for oil and gas operations and release its criteria for when that work will begin again.

New U.S. EPA Rule Curbs Pipeline Protests

Desjardins Signs On to Powering Past Coal Coalition

Duke Power CEO Bemoans Pushback on Gas-Fired Electricity

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Tracks ‘Dirty Battle’ for Ohio Nuclear Bailout

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

SoCalEd to Build 770 MW of Storage by Next Year

Charges Laid in Extinction Rebellion Protest Outside Horgan’s Home

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.

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. 

Early Hurricanes Kill 14 in El Salvador, Threaten Major Damage in Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane season in the East Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico is off to an early and deadly start this year, with 14 killed as Tropical Storm Amanda swept through El Salvador and forecasters keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Cristobal as it moves toward the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Amazon Touts Cloud Services Deal with TC Energy as Keystone Becomes ‘Walking Zombie’

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is drawing the wrath of one of North America’s leading climate campaigners, after proudly announcing in mid-May that TC Energy, the Calgary-based company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, is “going all-in” as a customer for its cloud-based computing service.

Minnesota Regulator Delays Line 3 Construction to 2021

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. will have to postpone a large chunk of the work on its controversial Line 3 pipeline to 2021, after a Minnesota regulator announced a public hearing this summer to review the company’s plans to protect streams and wetlands.

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

Pandemic Produces Moratorium on Ontario Nuclear Rebuild

Irving Oil Buys Come-By-Chance Refinery

Gulf of Mexico Fossils See Political Risk on the Horizon

BNP Paribas Plans to Quit Coal Loans by 2030

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.

Here’s What Canada’s Climate Strategy Would Look Like if it were Modelled on the COVID-19 Response

Canada’s approach to climate change would look a lot different if it were modelled on the all-in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, five of the country’s leading climate advocates argue this week in an opinion piece published simultaneously in The Hill Times and La Presse.

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.

Keystone Faces Delays After Appeal Court Upholds Withdrawal of Environmental Permit

The Keystone XL pipeline and other U.S. pipeline projects are facing further delays, after a federal appeal court in California declined last week to reverse a lower court decision to cancel a national environmental permit that had enabled construction to proceed.

Germany Fires up New Coal Plant, Undermines Climate Pledge

Germany has fired up a spanking new coal plant only a few short months after pledging to phase out coal production by 2038, an act of hypocritical double-think that has been roundly condemned by domestic and international climate activists.

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

UK’s Biggest Pension Plan Manager Unfriends Coal

Toronto Organics Plant Converts Food Waste to Renewable Natural Gas

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

Alberta Fossils Plot Reboot on Higher Oil Prices

Gas Pipeline Leaks Cause Urban Tree Deaths

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.

EU Confirms Green Strings Attached to €750-Billion Recovery Package, €1-Trillion/Seven-Year Budget

News reports are confirming that the European Union’s seven-year, €1-trillion budget proposal and its €750-billion coronavirus recovery package will both have green strings attached, with 25% of the funds devoted to climate action and a “do no harm” clause to prevent environmentally damaging investments.

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.

Mini-Boom in Renewables Hiring Offers Lifeline to Laid-Off Texas Fossil Workers

Even as the coronavirus pandemic wipes out tens of thousands of renewable energy jobs, Texas is going through a mini-boom in renewables hiring, Bloomberg Green reports, as a handful of clean energy executives in the state tap into an opportunity to recruit talent from an industry that has been hit even harder.

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

Berman, Campanale Call for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

With fossil jobs drying up, the industry bent under a “staggering mound of debt” despite trillions in subsidies, fossil fuels responsible for 75% of the world’s past greenhouse gas emissions, and companies plotting a massive expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must adopt a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty alongside a strengthened Paris Agreement, according to Canadian climate campaigner Tzeporah Berman and Carbon Tracker Initiative founder Mark Campanale.

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.

100 Groups Ask Ottawa for Pause on Nuclear Waste Disposal Plans

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

Alaska LNG Project Receives Regulator’s Green Light

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.

Courts Rule Against Fossils in California Climate Disclosure Case, Reject Montana Oil and Gas Leases Over Sage Grouse Protection

Five of the world’s most colossal fossils will have to face a pair of lawsuits from California cities and counties in state court, rather than trying for more favourable rulings from federal judges, after an appeals court ruled this week that the state level is the proper venue for the courts.

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. 

Mayo Clinic Loses $45 Million on Fossil Investment Gone Bad

B.C. Abandoned Wells Program is ‘Swamped’ with Requests

Shell Turns to ‘Voluntary’ Layoffs to Conserve Scarce Cash

Investment Writer Gives Up on Kinder Morgan

U.S. Renewable Generation Exceeds Coal for 40 Days Straight

Early Coal Plant Closure Will Cut Costs for Wisconsin Ratepayers

Coal Utility Uniper Uses Investor Dispute Clause to Fight Netherlands Phaseout

UK Converts NE England Coal Mines to Renewable Facilities

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.

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

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

Oil Price Crash Hits Royalty-Dependent Indigenous Communities

Plummeting oil revenues are walloping more than 100 Indigenous communities across Western Canada that depend financially on fossil drilling within their territories—with the lost royalties and jobs putting social programs, youth supports, and personal livelihoods at risk in the face of steep pandemic-related costs.

Landmark NY Pipeline Rejection a Turning Point for State Action

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

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

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

Alberta Flooded with Applications for Orphan Well Cleanup Fund

Britain Hits ‘Milestone’, Goes One Month Without Coal

TC Energy Joins Pumped Hydro Project at Former Coal Site

Regulators Almost Always Side with Pipeliners, U.S. Legislators Discover

Australia’s Adani Mine Approval Ignored Science

California Oil and Gas Drilling Goes Full Steam Ahead During COVID

France’s Big Nuclear Company Sees Future in Small Renewables

FortisBC Offers ‘Renewable’ Gas from Wood Waste

Morgan Stanley Tightens Rules for Coal Lending

Sweden Shuts Down Its Last Coal Plant

Gas Appliances Can Be Bad for Your Health

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.

Alberta tar sands oil sands

Alberta Killing Fossil Jobs with Massive Regulatory Rollback, Notley Charges

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

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. 

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

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

Trump’s ‘Blitzkrieg Against the Environment’ Speeds Up as COVID Distracts, Election Nears

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the latest pretext for Donald Trump to shower his fossil industry benefactors with support, with the White House accelerating its rollback of environmental regulations, a key U.S. government agency foregoing royalties on oil and gas drilling on public lands, and fossil companies set to cash in from a coronavirus bond buyback program instituted by the Federal Reserve.

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

India Approves Coal Mining, Endangers Elephant Reserve in ‘Amazon of the East’

COVID-19 Sets Back Subsidy-Free Solar in Italy

New Quebec Liberal Leader to Emphasize Environment, Economy

Wisconsin Biogas Project Aims for Renewables Credits

Qatar Stands to Lose in Global Gas Competition

Carbon Emissions Fell 17% at Pandemic’s Peak, But Will Rebound Without Bigger Changes

While the economic crash brought on by the coronavirus pandemic reduced daily greenhouse gas emissions 17% in early April, and will likely produce a 4.0 to 7.0% emissions reduction for the year, the real takeaway from a new analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change is that those carbon cuts will only be temporary without an aggressive response to the climate crisis.

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.”

Google Pledges to Cut Off Artificial Intelligence Services for Fossil Extraction

Tech giant Google has announced it will no longer use its formidable artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help fossils do a better job of extracting oil and gas, after a Greenpeace USA report documented how Google, Microsoft, and Amazon were using AI and cloud computing to make it easier to find and develop deposits.

Idling Tankers Clutter Shores, Spew CO2 While Waiting out Oil Crash

As the global collapse in fossil fuel demand leaves oil tankers—and their toxic cargo—idling offshore around the world, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is raising concerns about the risks to air quality and marine life.

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

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

Shell Spent Decades Backing Dutch Climate Denial ‘Coordinator’

Papuans Ask Who Stands to Gain from Coming Coal Boom

Austria Closes Its Last Coal Station

Texas to Restart Shuttered Coal Plant

Pruitt Negotiates $10-Million ‘Small Business’ Loan for Trump-Affiliated Coal Company

Colossal U.S. Shale Driller Chesapeake Teeters Toward Bankruptcy

Pandemic Could Undercut Massive Vaca Muerta Fracking Project in Patagonia

Chinese Coal Miner Starts Work on World’s Biggest Solar Hydrogen Plant

Biden Pledges to Cancel Keystone XL

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is promising to cancel the intensely controversial Keystone XL pipeline after he enters the White House in January.

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.

Tar Sands/Oil Sands ‘Man Camp’ Drives COVID-19 Spread to Five Provinces

While actions taken to contain the COVID-19 outbreak at Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake tar sands/oil sands mine seem to have slowed infection rates, both labour and community officials are calling for a ban on fly-in workers, a labour model that has proven literally deadly in its power to both incubate and spread the virus.

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.

COVID-19 Wipes Out Nearly 600,000 U.S. Clean Energy Jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out nearly 600,000 energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs in the United States, more than twice as many as the country has created since 2017, and the numbers are set to rise through the spring, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data released last week by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

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

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

Biden Names Ocasio-Cortez, Kerry to Co-Chair Climate Task Force

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took a major step last week toward unifying his party for the fall election, appointing Green New Deal architect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and former secretary of state John Kerry to co-chair what one analyst called “the Climate Dream Team of Democrats”.

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.

B.C. Unveils Orphan Wells Plan

Rock Bottom Oil Prices Push Fossils Out of Arctic Drilling

Norwegian Fossils Angle for Better Bailout

30 Workers Test Positive for COVID on Equatorial Guinea Oil Platform

Virus Forces Retirees to Shelter Near Colorado Fracking Site

Campaigners Get Ex-Exxon Exec Demoted on JPMorgan Chase Board

Minnesota Power Co-op Plans Coal Shutdown

U.S. Coal Gets $117M Subsidy for Questionable Carbon Capture Schemes

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

Offshore Wind Emerges as Lifeline for Oilfield Service Contractors

Clean Power ‘Hammers’ U.S. Nuclear During Pandemic

Saudi Aramco Pulls ‘Sustainable’ Oil Claims After 60+ Complaints

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.

Canada’s ‘Rich Carbon Sink’ Peatlands Need Urgent Protection, Story Map Shows

Northern peatlands—the richest carbon sinks on the planet and epicentres of biodiversity—are in urgent need of protection from human development, the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada asserts, in a detailed “story map” that outlines why and how these “enormous carbon storehouses” must be preserved, with Indigenous peoples leading the way.

‘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.

Climate Deniers Step Up to Defend Deeply Flawed Michael Moore Film

Condemned by energy and climate specialists as a lazy and out-of-date weave of cherry-picked data and fossil talking points, Michael Moore’s latest film Planet of the Humans is being lauded by climate deniers as proof that the sun should not set on fossil fuels.

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.

Irving Oil Applies to Ship Alberta Oil Via Panama Canal

Dozens of Birds Dead at Kearl Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings Pond

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

Geothermal Could Gain from Slumping Oil Prices

Siemens, Uniper Sign Green Hydrogen Deal

U.S. Oil Capital Houston Sets 2050 Carbon Neutrality Goal

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

Sea Level Rise Could Imperil UK Nuclear Plans

Philippines Power Company Promises Coal-Free by 2030

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Bank of Canada Governor Led Sustainable Finance Task Force

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

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

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

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

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

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.

CAPP Affirms Support for Indigenous Rights After Harsh Words from AFN

Newfoundland Presses Ottawa for Fossil Bailout

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

Kinder Morgan Loses Permits After Texas Construction Spill Fouls Drinking Water

Close the Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ Quickly, CSR Group Urges

Pandemic Stalls Out Australia’s LNG Industry

Solar, Wind Are Cheapest New Power Sources for Two-Thirds of World Population

Solar and wind are now the cheapest source of new electricity for at least two-thirds of the world’s population, with prices coming in at just 4.4¢ per kilowatt-hour for wind and 5¢ for solar, BloombergNEF (formerly Bloomberg New Energy Finance) reported this week.

Philippe Dunsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Coal-Heavy Indiana Could Get 16 GW of New Solar

Chicago Furious After Coal Plant Demolition Coats Neighbourhood in Dust

Shell Abandons Joint Venture with Russian Gas Giant

African Development Bank Won’t Back Uganda-Tanzania Pipeline

WoodMac Sees Surging Demand for Green Hydrogen

U.S. Agency Looks to Deregulate Nuclear Waste Disposal

Parliament Buildings Ottawa Centre Block

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

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

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

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

Alberta_oil_energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keystone Court Ruling Delays Pipelines Across U.S.

Chinese Consortium Pulls Plug on Plans for World’s Second-Biggest Coal Plant

North Dakota Flares 19% of Gas Production Into Atmosphere in 2019

More Than 150 Catholic Institutions Divest Fossil Fuels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ontario Records Big Emissions Spike After Axing Cap and Trade

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

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

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

Tenth Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon Disaster Shows Few Lessons Learned

Ten years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, producing the largest oil spill in U.S. history and devastating avian and marine ecosystems as well as local economies, the Trump administration is reneging on safeguards put in place in the disaster’s wake, even as the odds of a worse catastrophe grow larger.

Two Recent Court Rulings Bring Wins for the Green Economy

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

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

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

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

North Carolina Carbon Capture Plan Aims to ‘Greenwash’ Coal

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

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

Fossil Lobby Demands Massive Deregulation in ‘Crass Attempt to Exploit Global Pandemic’

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) called on the federal government to suspend more than 30 environmental regulations, laws, and policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in a 13-page letter issued March 27 and released last week by Environmental Defence.

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

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

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

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

Shell Draws Praise, Pushback for 2050 Net-Zero Pledge

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

12 Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Kearl Lake Tar Sands/Oil Sands Work Force

NS Fossil Pieridae Delays Decision on LNG Export Terminal

Kentucky Coal Closures Produce Reduction in Hospital Admissions

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

Squamish May Join Review of Woodfibre Work Camp

Investors Press Colossal Fossil Total for Faster Climate Action

Swedish Pension Fund Quits Fossil Fuels

South Korea Campaigners Oppose Bailout for Doosan Heavy Industries

Oil Spill Hits Ecuadoran Amazon

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

100-MW Battery Will Compete with California Gas Plants

Swedish Consortium Claims Carbon-Neutral Fuel from Hydrogen

BREAKING: U.S. Judge Rejects Essential Construction Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline

Construction along hundreds of water crossings along Keystone XL pipeline route was thrown into doubt late yesterday, after Montana District Court judge Brian Morris threw out a key permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate Hawks Press Liberty Mutual to Quit Keystone, Trans Mountain

Singapore LNG Buyer Asks Suppliers to Quantify GHG Impacts

Oregon Campaigners Push Back on LNG Plant, Pipeline Approval

BBC Probes Pollution, Working Conditions at South Asian Shipbreaking Yards

Cap and Trade Revenue Helps California Cut Power Bills During Pandemic

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

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

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

SolarAid solar lights Zambia

‘Imagine Facing COVID in the Dark’: SolarAid Raises Rural Electrification Funds for Zambia [Donor Appeal]

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins spreading across the African continent, with Malawi and Zambia each recently recording their first death, UK-based SolarAid has set out to raise £162,000 to support fast dissemination of local health advice, light and basic power for rural clinics, and other measures to adapt and respond to immediate needs in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Oil Prices Tumble Again as OPEC+ Cuts Production, G20 Aims for ‘Stability’

A week of high-stakes deal-making came up short Friday, as energy ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) industrialized nations decided against cutting oil production in a last-ditch bid to drive up prices.

NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014

Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.

Ukraine Wildfire Burns to Within Three Kilometres of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Site

A wildfire in Ukraine has burned to within three kilometres of the containment structure that covers the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, site of one of the world’s worst-ever nuclear disasters when it exploded in 1986.

Time to Cancel Coal Plants as Renewables Compete on Cost

Scottish Pension Funds Back Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada

Midwestern U.S. Grid to Add 4.25 GW Wind, 730 MW Gas by Mid-Summer

U.S. Fossil Apache Reports ‘Significant’ Oil Find Off Suriname

Orphan Well Cleanup Could Be Big Job Creator

Michigan Anti-Fracking Initiative Could Land on November Ballot

Enbridge Pushes Ahead with Line 5 Tunnel Permitting

Puerto Rico’s 100% RE Goal Imperiled by Over-Reliance on Gas

Peruvian Fossil Pluspetrol Accused of Devastating Amazon Communities

Japan Coal Output Set to Fall Over Next 20 Years

PepsiCo Closes Supply Chain Loophole in Palm Oil Policy

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

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

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Alberta Demands Fossil Relief While Neglected Tech Firms Plan Their Exit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four B.C. First Nations Seek Supreme Court Appeal on Trans Mountain

Four British Columbia First Nations are seeking permission for a Supreme Court appeal of a lower court’s unanimous decision supporting the federal government’s re-approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

China Coal Boom Drives Up Power Plant Count in 2019

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

Cape Breton’s Donkin Coal Mine Closes

Fracking Weighs Down Pennsylvania County as Pandemic Recession Hits

Ontario Gas Tax Pours $1.89M Into Peterborough Transit

Market Crash Kills New Mexico Carbon Capture Project

BP Pledges to Protect Jobs for Three Months

Regulator in Iowa Agrees to Double Capacity of Dakota Access Pipeline

Indiana Legislators Give Coal Plants a One-Year Extension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 14, April 6: Renewable Electricity

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

New Coal Plants in India Running Out of Investment Cash

Shell Abandons Major U.S. LNG Project

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

Drilling Spill Forces Kinder Morgan to Suspend Work on Texas Gas Pipeline

Quebec, Ontario First Nations Plan Joint Study of Gazoduc Impact

Bak: Canadian Banks Fail to Disclose Fossil Risks

China’s Biggest Steelmaker Sets Sights on Coal-Free Production

BP, Investment Activist Group Develop Joint Climate Resolution

Budget Cuts Likely to Drive Down Fossils’ Support for Renewables

Fossil Use Not Linked to Longer Life Expectancy

Come By Chance Oil Refinery Shuts Down in Global Price War

Mar Steps Down from Petroleum Services Association

Colossal Fossil Equinor Quits Independent Petroleum Association Over Climate Policy

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

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

Alberta Suspends All Environmental Reporting, Cuts Back Fossil War Room

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

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

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

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

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

‘Epic’ Oil Crash Crowns Coal as the Priciest Fossil

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

Trump Loses, Climate Wins as 1,150-MW Kentucky Coal Plant Shuts Down

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

Study Finds Coal Mines Emit More Methane than Oil and Gas

Pemex Refinery Project Illegally Destroys Threatened Mangroves

Houston Wasn’t Ready for Oil Price Crash

Spanish Fossil Repsol Plans 860 MW of Wind on Home Turf

Australian Committee Nixes Plan for Major Coal Upgrade

European Green Deal Will Guide Coronavirus Recovery Plan, EU Leaders Pledge

European Union leaders have agreed to make the massive economic measures they’re planning in response to the coronavirus match up with the continent-wide Green Deal they adopted not long before the pandemic struck.

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

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

Scotford Upgrader Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

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

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