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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Council urges new Parliament to take on massive climate investment plan

Clean Capitalism Council proposes economy-wide intervention to prepare Canada for rapid transition to a low-carbon economy

With the world facing a climate emergency, a business-backed “clean capitalism” group is urging Canada to go on a war footing with a massive investment plan that would drive economy-wide innovation and energy efficiency and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, put forward by the Council for Clean Capitalism, calls for the federal government to invest $50 billion per year over six years in key sectors: buildings, transportation, electricity, heavy industry, and oil and gas.

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Bridging the divide

More power lines between Alberta and British Columbia would save the provinces money and help the environment.

It would seem to promise an energy marriage made in heaven – matching up Alberta’s world-class wind resources and British Columbia’s bountiful hydroelectric capacity.

As Alberta moves to retire coal-fired power, the province will have to replace it with new sources. The current plan calls for a mix of natural gas and renewable generation to fill the void, with renewables to meet two-thirds of the capacity lost due to coal-plant retirements.

However, several studies suggest Alberta would benefit from greater electricity trade with BC Hydro, which could provide hydroelectric power to its neighbour when needed and offer a market for wind-generated electricity when supply in Alberta exceeds off-peak demand.

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Lines in the sands

By Shawn McCarthy
Students around the world are pushing universities to take a symbolic stand by divesting from fossil fuels.

Hampshire College has a long history of putting its money behind its progressive principles, serving in the vanguard of various divestment movements. A 1,400-student liberal arts college in the western Massachusetts town of Amherst, Hampshire was the first college to divest from apartheid South Africa in 1977. Trustees voted in 2009 to divest from an investment fund that was red flagged during to social responsibility screening. (Ed. Note: The college says the move was not motivated by concerns certain corporations’ support for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, as reported in the Fall 2013 edition of Corporate Knights.)

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