August 3 – 7, 2015

White House unveils final Clean Power Plan

President Barack Obama formally unveiled his administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants this week, which will require the power sector to cut its emissions by 32 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. It will do so by setting state-by-state emission reduction levels. While Republicans were quick to roll out a series of increasingly outrageous claims about the bill, it’s important to note that 42 states are currently reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants on their own, while 49 states are already mapping out how to comply with the ruling.


CRA targeting mining-sector tax havens

Canadian corporations that use tax havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands to reduce the taxes they pay at home have good reason to worry. The Canada Revenue Agency has been stepping up its scrutiny of Canadian companies with offshore subsidiaries, as evidenced earlier this month when it was announced that Vancouver silver-mining company Silver Wheaton is facing a potential reassessment that could cost the company more than $600 million.


SEC backs rule forcing companies to compare CEO and worker pay

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved a rule Wednesday requiring companies to reveal the pay gap between the chief executive officer and their typical worker, handing a new weapon to groups protesting rising income inequality. The commission voted 3-to-2 to mandate the disclosure. The disclosure is required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which hasn’t stopped it from being criticized by business groups arguing it’s meant to embarrass CEOs and won’t be useful to investors.


Deconstructing North America’s most contested pipeline project

The talk around Washington, D.C., these days is that U.S. President Barack Obama will issue his final rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project as early as this month. For environmentalists, the seven-year battle over the Keystone expansion has been a proxy for their larger war against the oil sands, which has become a symbol of climate destruction. For Alberta, it is considered an enabler of oil sands growth – a way to get more of its product to market.

How did Keystone XL come to be such a lightning rod?

Oil and gas industry expert Dan Zilnik teamed up this week with environmental consultant Jason Switzer to put together an ambitious three-part series on the rapid rise and fall of Keystone XL, and what it means for the future of Canada’s oil sands sector and the global fight against climate change. This primer on the history of Keystone is well worth your time.


Norway pumps up ‘green battery’ plan for Europe

Norway is hoping to become the “green battery of Europe” by using its hydropower plants to provide instant extra electricity when production from wind and solar power sources in other countries fluctuate. Without building any new power stations, engineers believe they could use the existing network to instantly boost European supplies and avoid other countries having to switch on fossil fuel plants to make up shortfalls.

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