SNAPSHOT: Renewables and Efficiency Jobs Surge While Fossil Employment Sags

 
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At the level of raw numbers, job creation in 2018 was one of the simplest, most straightforward pieces of the climate change puzzle: while renewable energy and energy efficiency delivered more than 10 million jobs around the world and promised many more in the near future, oil and gas producers were trying to actively trim their work force, while a crashing coal industry continued to lay off workers by the hundred.

In May, the International Renewable Energy Agency reported that renewables had created 10.3 million jobs worldwide as far back as 2016 and was on track to employ as many as 28 million people by 2050. An early September report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate was even more optimistic, projecting that “bold action” on climate could deliver more than 65 million low-carbon jobs and at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.

Environmental Entrepreneurs identified the cities that had become “America’s top 50 clean energy job engines,” with more than half of the national total of nearly 3.2 million jobs. “Each day, more than three million Americans wake up and get to work building our clean energy economy,” E2 reported. “These workers install solar panels atop our homes and commercial buildings, manufacture wind turbines, and reduce wasted energy by making our homes, schools, and offices more energy efficient. And they now work in every zip code in the country.” Renewables employment was booming in the United States in spite of trade action against the country’s solar industry and assorted uncertainties at the state level, and New York’s new energy efficiency target included training for 19,500 workers.

Canadian fossil lobbyists continued to tout their industry’s commitment to job creation despite continuing efforts to “de-man” the industry, and U.S. fossils tried to court Hispanic and African-American communities by promising employment in a re-emerging offshore drilling industry. Labour-saving efficiencies wiped out thousands of fossil jobs in Alberta, although Canada’s railways went on a bit of a hiring spree as oil-by-rail shipments set new records. A moment of relatively high oil prices produced optimism but not euphoria in the Canadian oilpatch, as analysts conceded that even a full fossil recovery would not bring a huge spike in employment. Suncor introduced driverless trucks and cut 400 tar sands/oil sands jobs, and Parkland Institute political economist Ian Hussey cited declining jobs and tax revenue as evidence that the tar sands/oil sands era is over.

Globe and Mail columnist and self-described climate hawk Denise Balkissoon said a commitment to a just job transition would help bridge the divide over the intensely controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. I’m glad the oil sands are a sunset industry: they’re an absolute environmental nightmare,” she wrote. “That doesn’t mean those who work there are bad people, but that everyone in Canada needs to help them move on.”

The Dogwood Initiative shone a light on the coastal jobs in British Columbia that would be put at risk by Trans Mountain. Colorado ski operators and their employees stood to lose billions due to warmer, drier winters; the Trump administration’s attack on tailpipe emission standards was set to undercut the competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry; and questions about the future of work in a warming world were being met with deafening silence.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives issued a just transition report calling for a stronger social safety net for workers affected by the post-carbon transition. Ottawa unveiled its 2030 transition plan for coal workers and communities and appointed Hassan Yussuff of the Canadian Labour Congress and Lois Corbett of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick to co-chair its 11-member Just Transition Task Force. In early November, the task force called for a longer time span for retraining grants for coal workers. “It’s easy to say, ‘You’re going to phase out an industry, this is government policy,’” Yussuff said. “The next thing is, what will take its place? Because you can’t just shut down a coal generation facility.”

A study for Efficiency Canada calculated that the pan-Canadian climate plan will generate 118,000 energy efficiency jobs through 2030, Alberta introduced a new training course for solar and wind farm technicians, and a technicians’ course in Texas had students “climbing wind turbines to the middle class.” Coal miners and their work ethic were finding a home in the green economy.

In the United States, meanwhile, government data showed a purported coal industry recovery evaporating. The looming closure of the Navajo coal-fired generating station in Arizona imperiled 800 jobs, a West Virginia coal mine closure cost another 400, and eight coal executives took away US$10.2 million in salary and bonuses when the Westmoreland Coal Company went bankrupt. Oakland cancelled a coal export lease, Kentucky’s coal industry continued to decline despite Trump’s overblown promises to the contrary, Korean banks refused to finance the massive Adani coal mine in Australia, and the global coal industry was on track to shed 100,000 jobs this decade.

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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.

Four-Day Work Week Could Boost Post-Pandemic Economy

Canadian workplace health experts are urging policy-makers to consider a condensed work week to reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost a post-coronavirus economy. A three-day weekend could also be a boon to the pandemic-ravaged tourism sector, which lost 50% of its work force this past spring.

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.

Virginia Launches Technical Assistance to Make Solar ‘Faster, Easier, More Affordable’

Smart Prosperity Institute Publishes Resilient Recovery Framework

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.

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. 

Shell Turns to ‘Voluntary’ Layoffs to Conserve Scarce Cash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Rwanda Emerges as Climate Leader with Updated 2030 Carbon Target

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

New Quebec Liberal Leader to Emphasize Environment, Economy

Toronto Community Housing Brings Passive House to Alexandra Park

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.”

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

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

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. 

Vancouver Passive Solar Building Will Deliver 146 Affordable Housing Units

Homes with No Rooftop Exposure Turn to Community Solar

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.

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

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

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

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

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).

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.

Offshore Wind Emerges as Lifeline for Oilfield Service Contractors

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.

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.

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

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

‘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.

Alberta Hires 200 More Wildland Firefighters

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Week 18, May 4: Green Business

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

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

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.

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”.

Vietnamese Mangrove Biosphere Thrives Under Citizen Management Program

Under the care of a citizen army of forest managers, Ho Chi Minh City’s precious but little-known Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve has not only rebounded from devastating chemical defoliation during the Vietnam War, but has actually begun to thrive. Development and aquaculture, however, loom as ongoing threats to the area.

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.

B.C. Rethinks EV Charging with Accessibility in Mind

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

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

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

‘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.

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

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

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

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

U.S. Community Solar is Hiring While Pandemic Rages

Utilities Could Help Low-Income Customers Buy Solar

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ontario Records Big Emissions Spike After Axing Cap and Trade

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

Wildfire

Wildfire Crews Must Change Tactics, Rethink Camp Hygiene to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

With wildfire smoke putting firefighters at greater risk of dangerous complications from coronavirus infection, experts are urging multiple changes in firefighting procedures, including improved camp hygiene, adjusted fire lines, regular testing, and even keeping wildfires small to circumvent the need for large crews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explosion at Hydrogen Fuel Cell Plant Damages 60 Homes

A recent, massive explosion at a OneH2 hydrogen fuel cell plant in Long View, North Carolina has left the facility’s 44 employees shaken, but unscathed and 60 homes damaged, one of them beyond repair. 

Renewables Reduce Inequalities Across Asia Pacific

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). 

Citizen Scientists to Mark Earth Day by Crowdsourcing Ecological Data Collection

A new research initiative is allowing anyone in possession of a mobile device to become a scientific sleuth for the planet—collecting and submitting data on everything from plastic pollution to air quality to, eventually, climate change and food security.

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. 

Cap and Trade Revenue Helps California Cut Power Bills During Pandemic

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

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

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

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.

Week 15, April 13: First Nations and Rural Opportunities

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

Orphan Well Cleanup Could Be Big Job Creator

UK Could Miss Out on 105,000 Jobs Without EV Battery Plants

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.

Ontario Gas Tax Pours $1.89M Into Peterborough Transit

Indianapolis Solar Installer Sees New Demand, Creates Jobs in Midst of Pandemic

BP Pledges to Protect Jobs for Three Months

Green Economy Increases Demand for Science, Analytical Skills

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.

Child cycling with a mask

Air Pollution, Lack of Clean Water Increase Infection Risk for Poorer Communities

Chronic health problems—often owing to high levels of pollution—and poor access to clean water are putting poor, Indigenous, and non-white communities across the world at greater risk of infection and hospitalization in the face of COVID-19.

Amazon Climate Strikers Now Demand Better Virus Protection

A group of Amazon employees, fresh from last year’s strikes for climate action, are now extending their fight to demand stronger COVID-19 protections for their fellow fulfilment centre and warehouse workers.

COVID Denial Mirrors Climate Attitudes Based on Demographics, Voting Preference

Older, right-leaning Canadian men are far more likely than their fellow citizens to consider the threat of COVID-19 to be exaggerated, and they’re proving more reluctant to practice recommended prevention measures like scrupulous handwashing and social distancing, according to recent research by the Angus Reid 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.

Trump Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standard Aimed at Cleansing the Air, Cutting Emissions

With his country in the grips of an out-of-control pandemic of respiratory disease, Donald Trump is pressing ahead with his long-standing plan to gut vehicle fuel efficiency standards designed to cleanse the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in what InsideClimate News describes as the country’s “largest anti-climate rollback ever”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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.

Low-Income Communities to Benefit from Ohio Solar Project

Electricity, Clean Water Hold Keys to Human and Climate Health

While the world’s most industrialized countries grapples with health care systems that are strained and fraying in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, large parts of the developing world still lack two simple resources that are the foundations for any kind of health system at all: electricity and clean water.

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

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

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

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

Kenney Seeks North American Oil Cartel to Counter Saudi Price Cuts

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

Renewable Energy

Pandemic Response Should Mobilize Around Low-Carbon Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solar Workers May Be Declared Essential in Age of Social Distancing

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

Shovels or ladders?

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

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

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

Borealis Lodge man camp Fort McMurray

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

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

Youth Climate Campaigners Show Empathy, Ingenuity in Face of Pandemic Crisis

As COVID-19 explodes around the world, youth climate activists are responding with empathy and ingenuity, moving en masse from the streets to the web, determined that the necessity of social distancing will not impede the equally urgent fight for carbon reductions.

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

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

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

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

coronavirus COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Telecommuting May Outlast Virus Outbreak

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

Global Climate Events Postponed to Help #FlattenTheCurve

Critical climate meetings across the globe are being cancelled or postponed in the weeks ahead in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic could also delay the rollout of at least one major emissions reduction program.

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

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

U.S. Federal Judge Gives Thumbs-Up to Quebec-California Cap-and-Trade

Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Transit Free

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

coronavirus COVID-19

Climate Action Can Deliver Economic Stimulus After Coronavirus Crash: Abreu

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

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

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

Climate Gentrification Threatens Miami Neighbourhood

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

Former New Mexico Inmates Form Wildland Firefighting Company

A group of former inmates at Los Lunas prison in New Mexico have formed a wildland firefighting company, using the training and experience they gained while they were incarcerated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia Working Toward Net Zero Despite Federal Stonewalling

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

Bahamas Fights to Rebuild after Devastating Hurricanes

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

Hope for Stability Fades as Guyana Becomes Nascent Petro-State

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

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

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

Cleveland Retirees Spread Solar to Churches, Other Non-Profits

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

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

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Saskatchewan Announces $10 Million Fund to Help Coal Communities Diversify

Saskatchewan is making good on a Throne Speech promise last fall to direct C$10 million to coal communities to help them diversify into new economic development opportunities.

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

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

Coastal Cities Must Fight or Flee as Global Waters Rise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU European Union

EU Considers Border Adjustment Charge to Penalize Carbon-Intensive Imports

The European Union is poised to fast-track some form of border adjustment to protect its domestic industries from international competitors in countries with less stringent carbon reduction policies.

Offshore Wind Could Deliver More Power Than China’s Coastal Regions Currently Use

Offshore wind could supply 5.4 times as much electricity as China’s coastal regions currently require, according to a new study by a student team at Harvard University.

Great Bear Rainforest Faces Delays on $25M in Offsets

Canadian Climate Outrage Should Translate Into EV Job Training

Alberta Delays Report Showing Warming, Climate Impacts Above Global Average

The Alberta government dragged its feet for six months before releasing a report it previously commissioned from climate scientists Katharine Hayhoe and Anne Stoner that shows the province warming faster than the rest of the planet due to human activity, with “profound impacts on the province’s economy, infrastructure, and public health,” Global News reports.

BP Quits Three Fossil Trade Groups, Remains Member of American Petroleum Institute

Colossal fossil BP is dropping its membership in three U.S. industry organizations, but continuing its association with the American Petroleum Institute, the ubiquitous national lobby group that has pushed for a wide-ranging rollback of climate and environmental regulations under Donald Trump.

Shift Fossil Subsidies Into Orphan Well Reclamation Jobs, Green MPs Urge Morneau

The federal Green Party caucus is calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to redirect fossil fuel subsidies to fund orphan well reclamation that would create jobs in the country’s fossil regions and ease the transition off oil and gas, iPolitics reports.

U.S. Solar Jobs Bounce Back Despite Trump Tariffs

Solar energy jobs in many parts of the United States have been bouncing back over the last year, with falling costs and a rush of new installations before federal tax credits expire offsetting the past impact of Donald Trump’s punishing tariffs on imported panels, according to new data from The Solar Foundation.

Mammoth U.S. Utility Increases Solar Share by 44%

Making good on its pledge to expand into clean energy while shrinking its reliance on coal, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is increasing its share of solar generation by a whopping 44% with new contracts announced earlier this month. 

Democrats Propose Three-Year Ban on New U.S. Plastics Plants

Democrats in the House of Representatives are calling for a three-year moratorium on new plastics plants across the United States, while the National Academy of Sciences studies the health and climate impacts of a massive buildout in the country’s plastic manufacturing capacity.

Alberta Appeal Court Rejects Federal Carbon Price

The Court of Appeal of Alberta has declared the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme unconstitutional, calling it a “constitutional Trojan horse” that intrudes on provincial jurisdiction.

Windsor Aims for Deep Energy Retrofits in 80% of Homes by 2041

The City of Windsor is closer to adopting a deep retrofit program to slash energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in 80% of its housing stock by 2041, following a unanimous standing committee vote last week.

Teck Withdrawal a ‘Wake-Up Call’ for a ‘Version of Alberta that No Longer Exists’

Teck Resources’ blockbuster decision to walk away from its C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine was a “wake-up call” to abandon “a version of Alberta that no longer exists,” Calgary-based opinion writer and self-described “proud centrist” Max Fawcett writes in an opinion piece for CBC News.

JPMorgan Chase Policy ‘Tweaks’ Cut Coal Investment, Ban New Arctic Oil and Gas Deals

Facing intense pressure from climate campaigners, the United States’ biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, is making some tentative moves to scale back its investments in coal and eliminate new financing for Arctic oil and gas projects.

Siemens Support for Adani Mine Drives ‘Largest Climate Destruction Project on Planet’

After the storm of protest and mockery that greeted President and CEO Joe Kaeser’s decision to supply essential signalling equipment to the Adani mega-coal mine in Australia, German industrial giant Siemens shouldn’t even assume the project makes economic sense, according to a senior advisor to the Australian government.

French Ski Resort Brings In Snow By Helicopter, Draws Fire from Local Green Groups

The Luchon-Superbagnères ski resort in France’s Pyrenées Mountains brought in about 50 tonnes of snow by helicopter earlier this month, after 10°C temperatures threatened a premature end to the annual ski season.

Coronavirus Pushes Oil Demand Growth to 10-Year Low

The global coronavirus crisis has already brought the growth of oil demand to a 10-year low, and could drive it lower still, the International Energy Agency reported yesterday.

Week 8, February 24: Cohesive Communities

Every community in Canada needs the capacity and skills to embrace the transition, becoming strong and resourceful. In Britain, the Lambeth Study on participatory culture found that success in building a cohesive community requires regular engagement by 10-15% of the residents, and an investment of $140 per resident.

Colorado Utility Plans Seven Community Microgrids

As It Happened: Pressure Was Building Against Teck Mine Proposal as 41 Nobel Laureates Weighed In

With the federal cabinet still on track last week to decide whether to approve the C$20.6-billion Teck Frontier megaproject, 41 Nobel laureates urged the government to reject the project, a columnist argued that any decision was better than postponing the issue, and the company that ultimately pulled the plug on its own proposal was already considering exiting the tar sands/oil sands entirely.

Federal Budget Must Scale Up Energy Efficiency, Signal Long-Term Commitment, Analysts Urge

After Canadians voted for strong climate action in last fall’s federal election, and all the political parties represented in Parliament included energy efficiency in their platforms, the upcoming federal budget is an essential opportunity to slash pollution, create jobs, and make everyone’s lives more comfortable, Efficiency Canada argues in a recent opinion piece.

New Research Institute Supports ‘Burgeoning’ Canadian Electric Bus Sector

Powered by C$4.7 million in federal and industry funding, seven mostly post-secondary institutions in Ontario are forming North America’s first research cluster providing research support to zero-emission buses (ZEBs) powered by batteries or fuel cells.

New U.S. Efficiency Bill Would Massively Cut Energy Waste, Save $51 Billion

U.S. households stand to massively cut energy waste and save $51 billion if a bipartisan group of legislators in both the House and the Senate can push through a package of measures to increase energy efficiency in homes and commercial, industrial, and federal government buildings, Utility Dive reports.

Rural Solar Evolves from ‘Panel Monocrops’ to Multiple Uses

Coronavirus Drives China’s CO2 Emissions Down 25%

A huge economic slowdown driven by the coronavirus has reduced China’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 100 million tonnes, or 25%, and the country’ energy demand and industrial demand may not yet have hit bottom, according to a new analysis released this week.

India Reduces Coal-Fired Electricity Production for First Time in 10 Years

Last year saw a decline in the electricity India produces from coal for the first time in a decade, the product of a slower economy plus increased reliance on renewable energy.

Week 6, February 10: Prairie Solutions

To the frontline workers in the coal, oil, and gas industries: we understand your concerns. We need to bring the age of fossil fuels to a smooth but rapid ending, while protecting you and your families and communities.

New UK Tariff Supports Community Wind, Solar

Canadian Pension Board Becomes Lead Shareholder in India’s Biggest Renewables Company

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is about to become the largest shareholder in ReNew Power, India’s biggest renewable energy company, a business with 3.1 gigawatts of wind and 1.9 GW of solar generation currently in operation.

Canada On Track to Hit Carbon Reduction Target for Grid Electricity

Be sure to sit down before you read this: Canada is in good shape to meet one of its national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, according to a report the federal government recently filed with the United Nations.

Delayed Coal Closures Harm Minority Communities’ Health, Indiana NAACP Warns

The state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is urging Indiana legislators to defeat a bill that would harm the health of low-income and minority communities by the extending the operating life of nearby coal plants.

GM Announces New Electric, Autonomous Vehicle Plant in Detroit

General Motors has announced plans to invest US$2.2 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to produce all-electric trucks and sport utility vehicles, as well as a new-model self-driving taxi.

Air Pollution Impacts Cost $8 Billion Per Day, Greenpeace Study Shows

The health impacts of air pollution cost countries US$8 billion per day, according to a study released this week by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Hold the Line on Urban Sprawl, Local Campaigners Urge Ottawa City Council

Holding the line on the City of Ottawa’s urban boundary is an essential first step if the community hopes to do its part to get the climate crisis under control, local green space advocate Daniel Buckles wrote in a recent Ottawa Citizen op ed.

City Data Show Young Talent Leaving Town as Calgary Stagnates

Young people in Calgary are moving on, with census data picking up a demographic shift driven in part by the decline of the city’s dominant industry.

CCS, Hydrogen Won’t Be Ready by 2050, UK Academics Warn

Neither carbon capture and storage (CCS) nor the hydrogen economy can scale up fast enough to play a significant part in decarbonizing the UK economy by mid-century, a consortium of government-funded academics warned last week.

IEA: Electricity Emissions Hold Steady in 2019 as Developed Countries Dump Coal

Global carbon dioxide emissions from electricity unexpectedly held steady in 2019, at 33 billion tonnes, after increasing over the two previous years, even though economic activity increased by 2.9% over the same period, the International Agency reported yesterday.

Halifax Takes Top Honours in National Climate League 2019 Standings

Halifax took top honours in four categories and eight Canadian municipalities were singled out for recognition last week as the National Climate League released its coveted Season 2 standings.

Cape Breton’s Donkin Coal Mine Reports 11th Rockfall Since 2017

The Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton is reporting its eleventh rockfall since it opened in February 2017, about 20 metres away from where miners were last working.

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

Ottawa Mulls Alberta ‘Aid Package’ as Province Angles for Teck Mine Approval

With an end-of-month deadline looming for a cabinet decision on Teck Resources’ proposed Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine, Ottawa was preparing an “aid package” to cushion the blow for Alberta if it rejects the company’s plan, Alberta said it wasn’t interested in a federal “handout”, and Teck itself was facing stiff financial headwinds that were entirely unrelated to the C$20.6-billion megaproject.

Coronavirus Drives Sharpest Oil Demand Drop Since 9/11

Oil consumption in China is down 20 to 25% this month and at least one market analyst firm has cut its projection for global oil prices, as the coronavirus drives the biggest demand shock fossils have seen since the 2008 economic crash, and the most sudden one since 9/11.

Week 3, January 20: Canada’s Carbon Tax

Carbon taxation is a net benefit to all Canadians and an essential tool as we navigate a rapid transition to renewable energy. The current tax is $30 per tonne in 2020, rising by $10 a year to $50 by 2022, the revenue from which is being returned to Canadians as tax rebates.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Sees Most Households Coming Out Ahead from Federal Carbon Price

Most households in provinces subject to the federal government’s backstop price on carbon will get more money back in rebates than they pay out in taxes, though less than Ottawa projected last year, the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded in a new analysis released this week.

Pennsylvania Democrats Say Fracking Ban Won’t Fly with State’s Voters

With months to go before a never-ending presidential primary season produces a candidate to defeat Donald Trump, Democrats in the United States are fretting about whether a strong policy commitment to ban oil and gas fracking will dash their chances of winning in Pennsylvania in the general election November 3.

Oakland Co-op Turns Community Ownership Into Community Solar

Alberta Solar Farm, Canada’s Biggest, Nets $500 Million from Danish Infrastructure Fund

Canada’s biggest solar farm, the 400-MW, 1,900-hectare Travers Solar Energy Project in Alberta, has received a C$500-million cash infusion from Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners that will allow Calgary-based Greengate Power to start construction at the site near the village of Lomond in Vulcan County.

House Democrats Put Climate, Environment at Centre of $760-Billion Infrastructure Plan

Grid modernization, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, public transit, and incentives for sustainable aviation fuels are key components of a five-year, US$760-billion infrastructure framework introduced last week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, with The Hill concluding the plan puts environment at centre stage.

Wind power turbine

Wanted: 400,000 New Recruits for UK Clean Energy Jobs by 2050

The United Kingdom will have to recruit 400,000 people into clean energy jobs of all kinds to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, according to a recent study conducted for National Grid, the country’s electricity and gas provider.

Agroforestry Can Reduce Wildfire Risk for Mediterranean, Australia

Bringing together crops, trees, livestock, and local farmers in a land management system based on agroforestry can significantly reduce wildfire risk in the Mediterranean, as well as places like Australia, according to research recently published in the journal Agroforestry Systems.

Week 2, January 13: A Green New Deal

In Week 2 of Guy Dauncey’s 26-week climate emergency transition plan, Canada introduces a Green New Deal in partnership with business, labour unions, First Nations and non-profit societies to manage a 20-year transition off fossil fuels in a planned, coordinated manner.

Developing Countries at Greatest Risk as Biodiversity Loss Threatens 50% of World GDP

Biodiversity loss is now one of the top five risks to the global economy, with more than 50% of worldwide GDP significantly dependent upon natural ecosystems that are being rapidly destroyed by climate change, deforestation, and disease, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that stresses the threat to developing countries.

China’s Aviation Emissions Set to Quadruple by 2050

Despite the spread of the “flight shame” phenomenon and industry pledges to address the carbon footprint of aviation, greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights are expected to increase 300% by 2050, with emissions from China’s aviation sector projected to nearly quadruple.

‘Politics of Hope’ on Climate Could Also Turn the Tide Against Ultra-Right

A foreign policy specialist is arguing that progressive forces can drive down greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, revive public faith in the possibility of a better world, and halt the rise of the ultra-right, all by zeroing in on self-styled populists’ utter failure to respond credibly to the climate crisis and contrasting that gap with the potential for a global Green New Deal.

Jonathan WIlkinson

Cabinet Could Delay Teck Decision, as Company Says Mega-Mine May Never Be Built

Maneuvering around Teck Resources’ controversial Frontier tar sands/oil sands proposal is heating up, with Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson saying Cabinet review of the project may be delayed, while Teck CEO Don Lindsay says it’s “anyone’s guess” whether his company will build the C$20.6-billion project if it’s approved.

U.S. Agency Sees Renewables Surging But GHG Emissions Nearly Unchanged Through 2050

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is changing its tune on the rise of renewable energy, projecting for the first time in its Annual Energy Outlook that renewable energy will double its share of total generation and dash past natural gas as the country’s leading electricity source before 2050. But the agency paints a deeply troubling picture for the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon pollution dipping briefly this decade, increasing in the 2030s, and falling only 4% overall by 2050, The Hill reports.

Radioactive Fossil Wastewater Still Flows, 40 Years After Damning Insider Report

Nearly 40 years after the American Petroleum Institute (API) warned industry officials that oil and gas wastewater is “significantly” radioactive, regulation remains non-existent, callously leaving largely unaware industry workers and the broader public exposed to life-threatening toxins.

India Would Need Massive New Solar Capacity to Replace 500,000 Coal Jobs

India would need to install 1,000 gigawatts of new solar capacity if it set out to replace the country’s 500,000 coal mining jobs solely with new employment in renewable energy generation, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

https://pixabay.com/en/plastic-bottles-fishing-net-netting-388679/

Fracking Industry Driving Massive Boom in Plastic Production

Ignoring a shocking carbon footprint, a broken global recycling system, and ever-growing public outcry, the fossil and petrochemical industries are banking big on plastics, pouring billions into new production facilities as a hedge against the coming crash of the internal combustion engine.

Climate Crisis Means Shrinking Populations for Caribbean Countries

Freeland Pushes for Quick Vote on Trade Deal with Big Concessions to Fossils

The Trudeau government is making it a top legislative priority to ratify a trade agreement with the United States and Mexico that is under fire in the U.S. for its concessions to oil and gas companies.

Ocean Heat Wave Drove ‘Unprecedented’ Whale Entanglements Off California Coast

An ocean heat wave in the mid-2010s drove whales closer to the California coast, where an “unprecedented” number of them became entangled in fishing gear, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.

357 Amazon Employees Break Company Policy, Speak Out Online for Faster Climate Action

Cloud computing and online commerce behemoth Amazon is facing an unprecedented revolt by 357 employees participating in a public display of support for colleagues who were warned they could be dismissed for speaking out against the company’s climate practices.

Fossil Industry Sees Financial Value Collapse as Prices Stay Low, Renewables Surge

Despite record production and rapidly-rising greenhouse gas emissions, North American oil and gas companies are coming off a notably bad financial year in 2019, and analysts are predicting they won’t be any happier about their financial results in 2020.

New Decade Opens with Cascade of U.S. Coal Plant Closures

The new decade is opening with a mounting cascade of plant closures in the United States coal industry, with investors abandoning ship, revenue being driven down by record-low gas and renewable energy prices, and communities asking increasingly tough questions about the economic, environmental, and health impacts of the coal-fired generating stations in their midst.

Michael Chong, MP

Demands for Climate Action Put Pressure on Conservatives in Canada, Australia

From Canada to Australia, the resistance to climate action generally associated with conservative governments may be showing early signs of burning to the ground—though CBC isn’t minimizing the challenges the next Conservative Party of Canada leader will face reconciling the urgency of the climate crisis with a largely westernized political base.

Free Transit Fights Inequality, But May Not Cut Emissions

Experiments with free public transit in cities across the U.S. are returning a mix of responses, including support from riders, cost concerns from managers, and questions about whether they actually result in fewer cars on the road.

Farmland Restoration Would Save 14.08 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Farmland Restoration places #23 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Restoring 424 million acres of abandoned farmland to rich agricultural life by 2050 would, after a total investment of $72 billion, sequester 14.08 gigatons of carbon dioxide while providing a financial return of $1.3 trillion—and an additional 9.5 billion tonnes of food.

Analysts See Pitfalls in ‘Blue Carbon’ Offsets

Ex-Alberta Liberal Leader Declares Tax Revolt Over Deadbeat Fossils’ $173M Debt to Rural Municipalities

A former opposition politician in Alberta is calling for a tax revolt after Premier Jason Kenney sided with deadbeat fossils against the rural municipalities they’re depriving of C$173 million in local tax revenue.

power pylons sunrise grid

57% of Australians See Direct Effects of Bushfires as Power Grid Faces Peak Cooling Demand

With more than half the population directly affected by raging bushfires, a record-hot summer is producing frequent power outages on an electricity grid powered largely by the coal industry that Australia’s climate-denying government is still striving to defend.

Trump Policies Hand Poor, Non-White Areas the ‘Brunt’ of Climate Impacts

Critics are warning that the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the environmental review process for pipeline and highway megaprojects will hit poor and minority Americans hardest.

‘Words Make Worlds’: Holthaus Issues Call to Imagine, Create a Radically Positive Future

As the climate crisis deepens, we must be “radically imaginative,” telling ourselves and each other stories of fiercely visionary, loving, and productive collective actions that will help end the climate emergency, veteran meteorologist and climate hawk Eric Holthaus writes in The Correspondent.

Harvard Students Protest After Exxon’s Law Firm Tries to Recruit Them

An elite U.S. corporate law firm flopped badly in its recent bid to recruit Harvard law students, when nearly a third of the invitees delivered a sharp rebuke for the firm’s ongoing role in defending colossal fossil ExxonMobil, making it clear they saw no kind of professional future with an organization that traffics in fossils.

Australian Indigenous Knowledge Holds Potential for Climate Mitigation, Economic Growth

Australia’s Indigenous peoples have been living peaceably, and sustainably, with their fire-prone environment for 65,000 years, and so the nation at large—particularly the urban areas and the south, where fewer Indigenous people live—has much to learn from them about how to survive the bushfires of the 21st century.

Mixed Results for 2019 Show Slight Rise in Renewable Energy Investment

World renewable energy investment hit US$282.2 billion last year, slightly higher than 2018’s total of $280.2 billion, with investment declining in China but hitting a record high in the United States, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microsoft_CES_2009.jpg

Microsoft Pledges $1 Billion to Become Carbon-Negative by 2030

Software giant Microsoft is embarking on a four-year, US$1-billion effort to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, aiming to remove more CO2 than it emits by 2030 and offset all its historic emissions by 2050.

Summerside

High-Fives in PEI After Officials Announce $68-Million Solar+Storage Project

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey shared a “small victorious high-five” in Summerside, PEI last week after announcing construction of a C$68-million, 21-megawatt solar farm with 10 MW of battery storage.

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

Teck Mega-Mine Shows ‘Misguided and Reckless’ Disregard for Low Oil Prices

Teck Resources’ proposed C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mega-mine in Alberta reflects a “misguided and reckless” disregard for economics, given a review panel’s approval that assumed an unrealistically high world oil price “for years to come”, according to an analysis released this week by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

LED lighting energy efficiency

LED Retrofit Cuts Lighting Costs 94%, Points to Fast ROI for Commercial Buildings

An LED lighting replacement project at a manufacturing plant in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata cut lighting costs 94% while providing better illumination, delivering the equivalent of a one-day return on investment after factoring in federal and provincial incentives.

Fracking Undercuts Colorado Coal Community’s Shift to Organic Farming, Renewables, Tourism

A rural Colorado community that turned to organic farming, renewable energy, and tourism to help it break its dependence on coal mining is now looking over its shoulder at oil and gas fracking projects that could undercut its hard-earned gains.

Swedish Fossil Sees Dimming Prospects for Offshore Oilfield in Norwegian Arctic

Norway’s hope of opening up a major, new cluster of Arctic oil and gas developments may be slipping farther from reality, after Stockholm-based Lundin Petroleum reduced its resource estimate for its Alta discovery in the Barents Sea and announced it wouldn’t be developing the site on its own.

Rooftop Solar Would Save 24.6 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Rooftop Solar places #10 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions, with 7% global usage by 2050 projected to cut 24.6 gigatons of emissions by 2050 at a net cost of $453.1 billion, but net savings of $3.46 trillion.

IRENA Reports on Sustainable Energy for Refugee Settlements

All-Female, All-Indigenous Fire Brigade Defends Remote Settlement in Southeast Australia

With their community tinder-dry, and most of their menfolk disinclined to pitch in, it is the women of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in southeast Victoria, Australia who are rallying to protect 5,000 hectares of forest, 200 permanent residents, and a wealth of sacred artifacts from the region’s terrifying bushfires.

‘Good News-Bad News’ Report Shows U.S. Emissions Down 2% in 2019

The United States saw its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decline last year, according to new analysis last week by the New York-based Rhodium Group, with reductions in the electricity sector coming on strong and fast enough to offset increases in other parts of the economy.

Wave and Tidal Power Would Save 9.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Wave and tidal power ranks #29 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, this alternative energy source could eliminate 9.2 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide at a cost of US$412 billion. Drawdown calculates that the installations would produce a net financial loss of $1 trillion over three decades, but the investment would result in substantial emission reductions over that time.

New Trump Regulation Would Take Climate Out of the Discussion on New Infrastructure Projects

The Trump administration is planning revisions to the U.S. National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to remove the requirement for federal agencies to take the climate crisis into account in their assessments of new pipelines, highways, and other infrastructure projects.

Tesla Boosts Annual Deliveries by 50%, Exceeds Combined Market Value of GM and Ford

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Inc. entered the new decade on a roll, with its deliveries up 50% in just a year and its market value suddenly higher than General Motors’ and Ford’s combined.

Green-Themed Christmas Pageant Triggers Outrage in Saskatchewan Oil Town

The angry backlash against a green-themed Christmas pageant at a small-town Saskatchewan public school revealed the fear-filled defensiveness produced by a precarious western Canadian fossil economy—while offering unsettling proof of the “social power” Big Oil holds over vulnerable people still dependent on the industry for a paycheque.

75% Say Carbon-Free Transition Helps Canada Over Long Term

Three-quarters of Canadians see the shift to less carbon-intensive energy as a necessary transition that will help the country over the long term, even if it raises the cost of living, according to a new Abacus Data survey conducted for Vancouver-based Clean Energy Canada.

Government-Backed Report Urges China to Stop Building Coal Plants, Use Existing Ones Less

A new report co-authored by China’s government-backed National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) says phasing out construction of all new coal-fired generating stations is the most economically achievable way to hit the country’s long-term climate targets.

Amazon Staff Face ‘Formal Corrective Action’ for Challenging Company’s Climate Performance

While pledging aggressive action to reduce a carbon footprint that approaches that of Denmark, Amazon is policing climate activists on its payroll, recently threatening to dismiss several employees who’ve publicly called on the sprawling tech giant to do more, including severing its ties with Big Oil.

Climate-Driven Temperatures Will Kill More in 2100 than Infectious Diseases Today

Climate-driven temperature shifts will kill more people in 2100 that infectious diseases do today, making health and safety impacts an important factor in calculating the social cost of carbon, says University of Chicago economist Michael Greenstone, co-director of the university’s Climate Impact Lab.

California Cap and Trade Isn’t Bringing Emissions Down

Tropical Staple Trees Would Save 20.19 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Tropical staple trees rank #14 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. This option could eliminate 20.19 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide at a cost of $US120.1 billion, producing savings of $627 billion.

Coal Miners’ Kids Become Solar Installers in Rural Colorado

Moroccan Town is Africa’s First All-Solar Village

Europe Threatens Border Adjustment Tariff for Climate Laggards Like U.S.

In what Politico interprets as a lesson learned from Donald Trump’s trade wars, the European Union is threatening a carbon tariff on countries like the United States that refuse to step up and commit to getting their greenhouse gas emissions under control.

Alberta Faces Skepticism for War Room Announcement, Trashes Its Own Claim that Carbon Tax Hurts GDP

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is having a rough week, with two veteran journalists questioning the potential impact of his much-anticipated fossil war room and his own government’s court documents undercutting his claim that the previous NDP government’s carbon levy harmed the province’s economy.

Fossil ‘Youth-Washing’ Includes Sponsorship Funding, Free Trips to COP

Youth climate activists are crying foul as fossil companies keen to burnish their public images as “makers” of the future woo young people with protestations of concern, and promises of funding, while continuing to push US$1.4 trillion in new oil and gas projects through 2024.

U.S. Community Solar Comes of Age, Becomes ‘Something I’d Sign My Mom Up For’

With a proven product, a more flexible approach to contracts, and a different notion of customer service and communications, community solar in the United States is getting closer to offering a broadly accessible, scaled-up product for the 50 to 75% of households that don’t have the option of installing their own rooftop systems.

Analyst Says Saudi Aramco Shares Could Hit $0 in 2020

While Saudi Aramco is riding high right now with a US$2-trillion valuation after its recent initial public offering, a veteran oil and gas analyst and financial journalist says the stocks could lose all their value in the next year, driven to zero by Donald Trump’s impulsiveness and OPEC’s waning control over global oil markets.

COP 25

‘Disgraceful’ COP 25 Shows Big Emitters ‘Betraying People Across the World’

After running 44 hours beyond its scheduled end time, this year’s United Nations climate conference dissolved in failure, frustration, and anger Sunday morning, with a large bloc of countries and an exhausted climate advocacy community blaming the world’s biggest emitters and the fossil fuel interests behind them.

House of Commons Motion Backs a Green New Deal for Canada

The first motion filed in the reconstituted House of Commons calls for MPs to endorse a Green New Deal for Canada.

Radwanski: Scheer’s Exit Could Open Doors for Conservatives Who Want Climate Action

Andrew Scheer’s abrupt exit from the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada is a “step in the right direction” for Tories who want their party to get more serious about the climate crisis, Globe and Mail columnist Adam Radwanski writes in a new opinion piece.

Greta Thunberg

Thunberg, 15 Other Youth Call Out Canadian, Norwegian Fossils for Violating Children’s Rights

With #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg and 15 other youth campaigners in Madrid calling out Canada and Norway for violating children’s rights and urging them to wind down their oil and gas production, Norway’s top fossil lobbyist is openly fretting about the “intense” nature of the debate around his industry’s climate impact.

U.S. Loses Thousands of Upstream Oil and Gas Jobs in November

U.S. Declared ‘Climate Criminal’ as ‘Stalemated’ COP 25 Limps to a Close

Reporters on the ground described two weeks of stalemated United Nations climate negotiations limping to a close, a diplomat branded the United States a “climate criminal” for its stance on the crucial issue of loss and damage, and the hundreds of youth, Indigenous, and other community representatives onsite talked about the grassroot action back home that will continue to spur faster, more ambitious climate action, as COP 25 entered its final hours in Madrid.

Ottawa Won’t Confirm Trans Mountain Timeline or Budget as Cost Estimate Balloons to $12 Billion [Petition]

Despite the Trudeau government’s assurance that the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the national interest, and will turn a profit for the taxpayers who became its involuntary owners last year, new disclosures show the project could run out of cash in the next few months and cost more to complete than Ottawa estimated, National Observer reports.

Chevron to Dump 50% Share in Kitimat LNG, Writes Off $10 Billion in Oil and Gas Assets

California-based colossal fossil Chevron Corporation has announced it is writing off US$10 billion of the value attached to its various projects and selling its 50% stake in British Columbia’s Kitimat LNG project, blaming a drop in the long-term price of oil and gas.

Minority Communities Face Greatest Risk as Atlantic Coast Pipeline Pushes Into Rural America

Promising jobs and property tax revenue, owners of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are pushing ahead against grassroots resistance and expert testimony, both maintaining that such gains are outweighed by the potential for great harm to be borne mostly by rural, African-American, and Indigenous communities, as well as delicate ecosystems.

District Energy Systems Gain Ground Despite High Up-Front Cost, Low Gas Prices

Community-based district energy systems are spreading across Canada despite steep up-front costs and tough competition from cheap natural gas, with innovative examples popping up in Vancouver, Yellowknife, Charlottetown, and more than 2,600 other places in between.

Thunberg Named Time Magazine Person of the Year

For speaking truth to power, and inspiring millions of people of all ages around the world to do the same, 16 year-old #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

Sacramento Electrification Plan Keeps Low-Income Homes in Focus

Major Ohio County Helps Homeowners Embrace Solar

Jonathan Wilkinson COP 25 climate Canada

Canada Pledges Net Zero by 2050 as Major Emitters Dig In to Block COP 25 Progress

Canada earned praise for promising to legislate a 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions, but big emitters like Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, and China were called out for blocking progress, as COP 25 moved into a crucial round of high-level negotiations this week in Madrid.

Wilkinson Throws Cold Water on Carbon Credits for LNG Exports

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is raising major flags about the fossil industry’s hope of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to earn carbon reduction credits under the hotly-contested Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and aiming to meet Canada’s Paris targets without resorting to international carbon trades.

Canadian Sustainable Beef Standard is ‘Marbled with Loopholes’

Lacking real substance, marbled with loopholes, and in need of a crash course in regenerative agriculture is Corporate Knights’ assessment of the green burger promise being served up by the Calgary-based Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).

Halliburton Lays Off 800 in Oklahoma City

Businesses See Climate Action Emerging as Job Creator, Economic Driver: Pittis

Overheated claims that climate action will cost millions of jobs are quickly giving way to the realization that the transition off carbon will produce an employment boom, CBC business columnist Don Pittis reports in a post-Throne Speech analysis.

Ottawa Approves Alberta Tax on Industrial Carbon Emitters

The federal government has approved Alberta’s new C$30 per tonne tax on industrial carbon emitters, a move that “avoids escalating a fight between Ottawa and the Prairie province but does nothing to end the battle over the consumer-based carbon tax, which the federal Liberals say will still come into effect in Alberta on January 1,” the Globe and Mail reports.

Carbon Pricing ‘Isn’t the Only Tool in the Toolbox’: Wilkinson

Carbon pricing is just one part of a complete climate plan, and it will be at least two years before the Canadian government decides whether to extend the federal floor price beyond C$50 per tonne after 2022, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told The Canadian Press last week.

Former Oilpatch Roughneck Traces Hardships of Fossil Employment, Urges Better Deal in Carbon-Free Transition

The boom and bust nature of a fossil-fuel based economy, together with the callous greed of those at the top, means a “pretty brutal, pretty unforgiving” existence for oilpatch workers, self-described “oilpatch brat,” one-time roughneck, and oil and gas anthropologist Rylan Higgins writes in a recent CBC op ed.

Navajo Coal Plant Closure Opens Door for Solar+Storage, Distributed Power

The recent retirement of Arizona’s massive Navajo coal-fired generating station, one of America’s largest, has opened up considerable space for solar+storage, and a new frontier for Indigenous entrepreneurs seeking to ensure their communities thrive in the green economy—as they never did under the regime of fossil fuels.

Washington State Shifts Ferry Fleet from Diesel to Batteries

The west coast of North America is making initial moves toward decarbonizing marine shipping and aviation, with Washington State Ferries switching its vessels from diesel to batteries and Richmond, British Columbia-based Harbour Air Seaplanes just days away from testing the world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft.

Labour Shortage Hits U.S. Solar Market

Local Content Demands Confront Europe Offshore Wind Industry

Throne speech Ottawa 2019 climate action emissions Trudeau Payette

Wilkinson Vows Tougher 2030 Emissions Target as Throne Speech Promises Net-Zero by 2050

A 2050 deadline to achieve net-zero emissions, a price on carbon in every part of the country, and new initiatives on energy-efficient buildings, zero-emission vehicles, “clean, affordable power”, and climate change adaptation are major elements of the legislative program the incoming federal government laid out in the Speech from the Throne delivered in Ottawa yesterday by Governor General Julie Payette.

Canadian Food Prices Set to Rise $487 Per Family, with Climate a Major Cause

The average Canadian family will pay $487 more for food next year, and the authors of the country’s annual food price report are pointing to climate change as a major cause of the increase.

Thunberg arrives Madrid COP 25 bossito:Twitter

‘Two Worlds Collide’ as Urgent Street Protests Meet Slow, Deliberate COP Negotiations

With negotiations at this year’s United Nations climate conference in Madrid, COP 25, reaching their midpoint, some delegates and observers are getting a sense of what Climate Home News calls “two worlds about to collide”.

Hamilton Granddad Sees Hope for Alberta Transition in Ontario’s Past Economic Pain

In a heartfelt letter to westerners going through the economic pain he endured in the 1990s, when free trade agreements shut down 200,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario’s industrial heartland, Hamilton resident Robert Fraser is urging his fellow Canadians in the oilpatch to “put aside the climate change thing for a bit and focus on some realities”.

100-MW Power Purchase Shows Unsubsidized Offshore Wind Taking Off in Europe

The world’s biggest-ever contract for unsubsidized offshore wind, a 100-megawatt power purchase deal between Danish wind powerhouse Ørsted and German chemicals company Covestro, is being touted as a sign that the offshore industry is moving from the margins to the mainstream.

New Coal Plant Construction Puts Indonesia at Odds with 1.5°C Carbon Target

Even as its neighbours join the rest of the world in turning increasingly away from coal, Indonesia is charging full steam ahead with new coal plant construction, putting any hope of aligning with a 1.5°C average global warming target under the 2015 Paris Agreement in serious jeopardy along the way.

Ann Arbor Plans for Mixed Income Solar Development

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

BREAKING: Moody’s Downgrades Alberta’s Credit While Federal Regulator Predicts Continuing Over-Dependence on Oil

One of the world’s leading credit assessment agencies has downgraded its rating for Alberta, citing the province’s over-dependence on fossil fuels, lack of pipeline access, carbon intensity, and vulnerability to climate disasters.

António Guterres

COP 25: Guterres Conveys ‘Hope, Not Despair’ as Vulnerable Countries Demand Action

UN Secretary General António Guterres showed up with a mix of urgency and hope, the Climate Vulnerable Forum called for a commitment from countries to adopt more ambitious climate targets by next year, and delegates heard from youth leaders and businesses, movie stars and retired politicians pushing for faster, deeper carbon cuts as COP 25 negotiations in Madrid got under way Monday and Tuesday.

‘Transformational Ramping Up’ Can Deliver 50% Emissions Reduction by 2030

It will take a “transformational ramping up” with all the world’s biggest emitters fully onboard. But with a 50% improvement in emission reduction targets for 2030, the countries attending this year’s UN climate negotiations in Madrid can get back on track to meet the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement, Berlin-based Climate Analytics concludes in a report released on the eve of the conference.

Throne Speech in Ottawa, COP Negotiations in Madrid Raise Pressure on Canada for Climate Action

With a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne taking place tomorrow in Ottawa, and United Nations climate negotiations under way in Madrid, the Trudeau government is under sustained pressure to make climate action a priority at home and do its fair share internationally to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.

Investors Scorch Big Four Auditing Firms for Failing to Assess Climate Risk

The world’s four biggest auditing firms are taking fire for their failure to adequately assess the systemic risks posed by climate change, with 29 European investors managing more than £1 trillion (US$1.28 trillion) in assets warning the gap in their analysis could do more harm than the 2008 financial crash.

U.S. Solar+Storage Rivals Utility-Scale Installations as California Power Shutoffs Hit Home

The U.S. residential solar market is on a fast track, with rooftop deployment numbers rivaling utility-scale plants and wildfire-induced power shutdowns turning more ratepayers in the direction of solar+storage installations.

Mental Health Expertise Meets Sandbags in Helping Communities Build Climate Resilience

It was judicious use of mental health expertise, along with many, many sandbags, that enabled Fargo, North Dakota to weather the challenges of the epic 2009 Red River flood. That was one of the experiences that pointed to a basic precondition for building communities’ ability to face the climate emergency: Recognizing climate change as a profound threat to mental health, responding with messages of “hopeful realism” and ongoing compassion, particularly for older adults and children, and helping communities acquire the psychological and social resilience to cope.

COP 25

‘Vanguard vs. Laggards’: Spain Presses COP 25 Delegates for Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts

As this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP 25, got under way in Madrid, initial news coverage pointed to a division between the plodding, formal negotiating process and the broader, global urgency of getting 195 countries together to find common ground on a more urgent response to the climate crisis.

IEA Growth Projection for U.S. Fracking Produces Eye-Rolls from Texas Fossils

A hotly-contested report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that projects continuing growth in fossil fuel demand and greenhouse gas emissions is generating eye-rolls from the one community that might have been expected to welcome the overheated projection: the Texas shale industry.

Nuclear power plant

Lovins: Nuclear Makes Climate Crisis Worse by Blocking Faster Uptake of Cheaper Options

Contrary to industry propaganda, nuclear power plants are not an essential tool in the fight against climate change, but an increasingly dangerous drag on the deployment of more practical renewables and energy efficiency, Rocky Mountain Institute Chair and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins declares in a recent post for Forbes.

Shifting Every Texas Home from Gas to Electricity Would Save Money, Cut Carbon

Converting every single-family home in Texas from natural gas to electric heating would reduce homeowner utility bills by as much as US$450 per year, slash emissions, and be nothing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) system couldn’t handle, says a recent paper from an Austin-based energy research non-profit.

AOC, Sanders Push Green New Deal for Public Housing

McKenna Pledges Fast Action on Infrastructure Through a ‘Climate Lens’

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna donned a hard hat for her first major speech in her new portfolio this week, telling the Federation of Canadian Municipalities she plans to get money out the door and shovels in the ground on projects that are all undertaken through a “climate lens”.