Roundtable: Oil sands has to embrace new low-carbon technologies to prosper

While working on game-changing innovations like carbon fibres, Alberta should make jet fuel from food waste, panel hears

The oil sands sector will have to embrace new technology and new products if it is going to prosper as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.

Addressing a roundtable hosted by Corporate Knights on May 27, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said the federal government is working on a strategy that will not only exceed Canada’s existing commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2030, but put the country on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

He said Canada’s oil sector – the fourth largest producer in the world – will not disappear over the medium-term and has to be part of a national climate-change strategy.

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Roundtable urges feds to dramatically scale up support for nature-based climate solutions

Canada could reap sizeable economic and environmental gains by supporting better carbon management in our forests and farms

Canada could reap sizeable economic and environmental gains by supporting better carbon management in our forests and on our farms, which are often treated as afterthoughts in the climate-crisis debate.

In an online roundtable Wednesday, experts urged the federal government to dramatically scale up its support for nature-based climate solutions.

The approach would not only contribute to the country’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; it would protect nature, create jobs, provide additional income to struggling farmers and promote reconciliation with Indigenous communities, a white paper produced for the session by Ralph Torrie of Torrie Smith Associates and Céline Bak of Analytica Advisors concluded.

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Roundtable: Paying steel and cement to go green could generate huge carbon savings

Smaller manufacturers could boost recycling and lower GHGs if government delivers recycled content requirements

Canada’s heavy industry is gearing up to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but will need government support to hit net-zero emission targets.

In an online roundtable Wednesday, policy experts said that even “smokestack industries” in Canada can become low-carbon sectors using existing technology. To make the transition, however, they’ll require government subsidies.

Manufacturers generate more than 10% of the country’s gross domestic product, export more than $354 billion in goods annually, and employ 1.7 million Canadians. Energy-intensive heavy industry – including steel, cement, pulp and paper, and chemicals – accounts for 85% of the sector’s emissions.

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Roundtable: Canada needs to ramp up EV strategy – and make transit free

More made-in-Canada EVs, support for green freight and a year of free transit could turn Canada from a laggard to a leader

Canada needs to move aggressively to shift the transportation sector off fossil fuels and get people out of cars while taking full advantage of the economic opportunities available in the transition.

In an online roundtable Wednesday, a chorus of policy experts urged the federal government to undertake a 10-year, multibillion-dollar effort to electrify the transport sector as part of its effort to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.

Transportation – including passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, planes and trains – accounts for 25% of Canada’s emissions. Emissions from the sector have grown by 53% since 1990.

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Roundtable: Greening Canada’s electricity could help kickstart economy

Unprecedented federal-provincial co-operation needed to overcome the balkanization of country’s electricity, say panelists

The federal government could create thousands of jobs and virtually eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country’s electricity sector with a $1.7 billion investment in transmission projects, analysis prepared for Corporate Knights suggests.

However, the effort would require unprecedented federal-provincial cooperation to overcome the balkanization of the country’s existing electricity markets, experts said during an online conference Wednesday.

With Canada mired in a deep economic slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ottawa is preparing to launch a massive stimulus program to get the country back to work.

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Does it pay to green oil?

Fuelling innovation in the oil and gas sector, while contentious, could generate significant GHG payback

We asked Canada’s thought leaders to weigh in with ideas for how the government should spend stimulus money as part of a Green Recovery. To read the entire report series, head to Planning for Green Recovery.


Teck Resources’ decision to shelve its proposed Frontier oil sands mine prior to a federal permitting decision in February is seen by many as a clear signal to the country that a strategy is needed to ensure the oil and gas sector contributes to Canada’s climate change goals.

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Feds under growing pressure to act on climate finance in next budget

As feds prep for minority-government budget, Morneau faces calls to fold climate impacts into investment decision-making

Ottawa –Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said little publicly about sustainable finance over the past seven months since a federally appointed panel argued that climate-related issues must become mainstream considerations in Canada’s financial sector.

But with the Liberals preparing for their first minority-government budget, Morneau is under growing pressure to act on the panel’s call for better data and clearer rules on climate-related finance and other incentives to drive capital into emerging low-carbon technologies.

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Hydro-Quebec plugs into China’s EV push

Canada’s largest power utility pins big hopes on growth opportunities beyond its border

Hydro-Québec is making a push into China’s exploding market for electric vehicles.

The provincially owned utility is evolving from a company that simply generates and delivers power to one that does business across the electricity supply chain.

In its strategic plan, released in December, Canada’s largest power utility pins big hopes on growth opportunities beyond its border, including convincing the world’s leading auto manufacturers to integrate Hydro-Québec’s EV powertrains into their vehicles.

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Canada’s second largest pension fund gets deadly serious about climate crisis

Outgoing Quebec CDPQ head, Michael Sabia, says taking action on low-carbon investing is not a political act

As world leaders converge at this week’s climate summit in Madrid to debate how best to shift to a net zero-economy, Michael Sabia is leaving the helm of Canada’s second-largest pension plan having firmly placed Quebec’s retirement savings at the forefront of the global movement for low-carbon investing.

Sabia, who recently announced he’s stepping down from the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) in early 2020, ushered in a fundamental change in how the $326 billion Quebec pension fund treats the climate-related risks and opportunities that are embedded in the 21st-century global economy.

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“Bridge” to clean energy goes up in smoke

As renewables grow cheaper, betting on natural gas as a transition fuel is proving to be a costly error

It’s been a tough few years for the world’s largest manufacturers of natural-gas-fired turbines for the electricity sector, as the much-heralded dash to gas in the power sector is showing signs of flagging.

The three big makers of gas turbines are General Electric, Siemens and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, and together they have seen global sales – as measured by total megawatts of capacity – decline by half since the high-water mark in 2014.

Faced with growing competition from low-cost clean energy options, all three companies are cutting back global operations related to the gas-fired power business after ramping up in anticipation of a shift away from coal and nuclear.

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