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BoJo’s bold, green plan?

U.K. PM Boris Johnson committed to the most ambitious GHG cuts of the G20, however gaping holes in his green agenda remain

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson surprised his country in November by introducing a 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution.” His £12-billion plan aims to phase out petrol-powered vehicles by 2030, quadruple offshore wind power, boost hydrogen power, develop zero-emission planes and ships, invest in new carbon-capture projects, retrofit homes and public buildings, and make London the world’s centre of green finance – all while creating 250,000 new jobs.

Naturally, the PM took a pasting for thinking too small.

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Biden sets new pace in climate race

Armed with slim majority in the Senate, Biden may soon challenge Canada to keep up on climate policies

While running for the U.S. presidency, Joe Biden championed climate action and promoted a US$2-trillion “Build Back Better” action plan. As president-elect, Biden showed he means business by naming a tough, experienced team to bring a climate lens to transition challenges – not just in Energy and related departments, but also in Defense, Treasury and Justice.

After four years of Donald Trump’s coal and fracking cronies, U.S. environmental groups were elated that progressive, professional experts were taking back government.

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Where’s the beef tax?

FAIRR report estimates that new carbon taxes could cost 40 global meat companies up to US$11.6 billion by 2050

The true cost of your favourite steak or chop may be much higher than the price you pay at the store. Thanks to the potential health risks of eating meat – higher incidences of obesity, heart disease, cancer and premature death – as well as the environmental devastation caused by mass-market meat production, society gets stuck with the tab every time you bite into a Whopper or a roast.

Now a growing chorus of researchers is pushing for a combination of carbon taxes and “sin taxes” to mitigate meat’s impact – and the result may curb your appetite.

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Companies that pay fair wages weather downturn better

Just Capital research finds that firms that pay employees living wages performed 12.3% better than their peers

Determining just what makes a company socially responsible involves an ever-growing list of factors, from producing safe, reliable products and minimizing pollution to community development and protecting consumer privacy. But according to Just Capital, a New York–based association that measures and promotes positive business practices, there’s one indicator that the public considers most important: how companies invest in their workforce.

In simplest terms: do firms pay their employees a fair wage – or the lowest amount they can get away with?

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Biden’s battle cry for a Clean Energy Revolution

Win or lose, Joe Biden’s plan to Build Back Better has given new hope to the climate movement

For every action, said Isaac Newton, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it’s only fitting that Donald Trump’s fossil-friendly administration ended up spawning the most aggressive environmental program ever developed by a presidential candidate: Joe Biden’s $2-trillion climate plan.

Win or lose, Biden’s “Clean Energy Revolution” gave new hope to activists who have seen country after country (including Canada) pass the buck on climate change. At last a major-party candidate was acknowledging the crisis by committing himself to a detailed plan (19 pages long) that addresses not just carbon emissions but a whole ecosystem of related issues, including housing and social justice.

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Wind and solar now power a 10th of the world, while coal smoulders

But Canadians can't brag, wind and solar generate only 5.3% of our total electricity – about half the global share

News of the stunning growth in generation of wind and solar energy came in a recent report from London-based Ember, a research organization that tracks the globe’s electricity transition “from coal to clean.” In fact, the report’s title gives the plot away: Wind and Solar Now Generate One-Tenth of Global Electricity.

According to Ember’s calculations, based on mid-year stats for 48 countries that account for 83% of global electricity production, “wind and solar have quickly increased to become a major source of electricity in most countries in the world, and are successfully reducing coal burn throughout the world.”

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2/3 of Canadian companies offer no paid sick leave

Corporate Knights research on 850 companies in 43 countries finds Canada, U.S. lagging

Will the cycling boom be a lasting side effect of pandemic?

The humble bicycle has become one of the few winners in the COVID-19 lockdown

Healthy, carbon-free, easy to park, the humble bicycle has become one of the few winners in the COVID-19 lockdown. With businesses shut and people staying home, fearful of infecting or being infected, cycling emerged as the safest mode of transportation – not to mention the most popular vehicle for food deliveries, trips to the store or escaping home for a mental health break.

Across Canada, cyclists are enjoying new respect. Calgary city officials started closing major roads on weekends to give walkers and cyclists more room to roam. Vancouver banned cars from Stanley Park Drive, the picturesque road through the city’s famous park, and partially closed nearby Beach Avenue to make more room for humans. Toronto is fast-tracking plans for 40 kilometres of new lanes. Montreal announced plans to add 327 kilometres of bicycle paths and pedestrian lanes this summer. Abroad, France is creating 650 kilometres of cycleways and offering €50 per person for bike repairs.

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Oil nosedives while renewables rise

Exxon Q2 profits down $1.1 billion as BP announces it's upping low-carbon investments ten-fold by 2030

U.S. President Donald Trump has proven to have a soft spot for flatterers, quacks, polluters and coal companies. Little wonder, then, that when oil prices plunged in mid-April, Trump tweeted, “We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down” (the random capitals are his).

“I have instructed the Secretary of Energy,” Trump continued, “to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future.”

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Top 50 Corporate Citizens: Thought leaders, role models, change makers

Canada’s top corporate citizens make caring part of their strategy

When the pandemic lockdown began, some of Canada’s most civic-minded companies looked past the chaos and confusion to do what they could to help.

Vancouver’s community-minded credit union Vancity leapt into action, reducing credit card interest rates to zero, buying back foreign currencies from customers who’d had travel plans cancelled, at the same rates as they had been sold, offering small businesses emergency zero-interest working capital, and waiving ATM and Interac e-transfer fees. In addition to a $1 million Community Response Fund to support Vancouver groups fighting the pandemic, it also set up a Unity Term Deposit, which raised an impressive $200 million in just one month – money that’s being used to fund programs that will directly support those affected by COVID-19.

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