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Gambling on climate disaster-preparedness is high risk

By Shawn McCarthy
New report says climate change impacts have been disregarded, but adaptation is still a blip in the feds updated plan

Canadas governments and corporate leaders are failing to account for the growing and costly impacts that the climate crisis will wreak on the countrys physical landscape and infrastructure, and their lack of foresight will drive up the cost of adaptation in the future. 

The federal government is increasing its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and meet tough new targets on the way to the country having net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, it has taken relatively little action to prepare for the catastrophic physical threats that climate change poses to the nations people, businesses and ecosystems, warns the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. 

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Feds’ fall economic statement shortchanges climate

What gets funded gets done, and Ottawa’s climate plan falls 80% short of what’s required

Canadians are going to have to wait until the next Liberal budget to get a full sense of the government’s commitment to a green recovery, though Ottawa has unveiled some key parts of the plan this fall.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a down payment on clean-energy stimulus in her fall economic statement on November 30, but the $6.64-billion package of new measures over 10 years was far smaller than some clean-energy advocates had called for.

Corporate Knights calculates that the funding announced for a climate-focused recovery plan represents only 20% of the federal investment needed to meet the government’s own commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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How to trigger a net-zero building wave

Roundtable makes business case for deep retrofits and net-zero new builds

Meeting Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require an all-out national effort to transform our buildings from energy-wasting, fossil-fuel-gulping structures to global models of clean-energy efficiency.

The endeavour will require concerted action from governments, banks and other lenders, asset managers, developers, landlords and tenants, and individual homeowners.

“Buildings are the biggest source of emissions in cities and so a huge opportunity for meeting our climate targets … but we have to get on with this with alacrity,” Julia Langer, chief executive of Toronto-based Atmospheric Fund, told an online panel Wednesday. “We certainly see things from the perspective of ‘all hands on deck.’ ”

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Hydrogen’s high stakes for Canada

Minister O'Regan touts hydrogen-strategy potential to create jobs and slash GHGs by 25% at Building Back Better event

The federal government is set to launch a hydrogen strategy that will vault Canada into world leadership in the clean-energy market and help the country achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Thursday.

“If Canada is going to continue to prosper, we’ve got to skate to where the puck is going,” the minister told a virtual roundtable hosted by Corporate Knights and the Embassy of Germany. “Hydrogen is where the puck is going.”

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CKTV: Green pot of gold at bottom of the barrel

Alberta could be generating more revenue from carbon fibres than oil and gas by the middle of next decade

Alberta is setting its sights on non-transportation markets for oil-sands bitumen that could drive a vast increase in the value of production by 2035 – assuming that major technological hurdles can be overcome.

Alberta Innovates – a Crown agency – says the biggest opportunity lies in the production of carbon fibre, a high-strength material that can be used in wind turbines, automotive applications and the aerospace industry. The agency has launched a $15-million “Grand Challenge” in which 20 laboratories around the world are participating in research to commercialize the production of carbon fibre from the heavy asphaltenes contained in bitumen, in the so-called bottom of the barrel.

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To pay for the green recovery, we’ll need to leverage public investment

To maximize impact, it’s critical that government and business leaders combine public and private financial efforts

If governments want to ensure that they can fund the green recovery plans needed to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, they’ll have to collaborate with private sector financial institutions.

As governments in Europe, North America and around the world announce trillions of dollars in stimulus to revive moribund economies, many experts are urging them to focus on climate-related efforts that will help the world avert the worst impacts on climate change.

This is a sentiment that has moved from the sidelines to becoming a key recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF’s recently released flagship publication in advance of its annual meeting emphasized the power of public investment in uncertain times, noting that raising public investment by 1% can increase private investment by more than 10%. It also noted that “the goal of bringing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 in each country can be achieved through a comprehensive policy package that is growth friendly (especially in the short term).”

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Lessons from the last recovery for this recovery

Building back to business-as-usual will reignite GHGs and represent a tragic missed opportunity

Governments looking to stimulate their economies to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic should heed a lesson from the financial crisis a decade ago: building back to business-as-usual will reignite greenhouse gas emissions growth and represent a tragic missed opportunity to align economies with clean growth trends.

GHG emissions are expected to decline by 8% in 2020, down to 2010 levels, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a September report. However, unless governments impose a strict climate lens on their recovery programs, the GHG reductions will likely be short-lived and growth will resume at an even-quicker pace, said the Paris-based organization that provides policy advice to developed nations.

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IEA summit urges global energy ministers to adopt ambitious green recovery plans

At clean transition summit, IEA executive director Fatih Birol warns that investment in clean energy must increase fourfold

The steep drop in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could make 2019 the peak year for GHGs, but only if governments around the world adopt ambitious economic recovery policies that accelerate the clean energy transition, the executive director of the International Energy Agency said last week.

The IEA’s Fatih Birol addressed the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit, a virtual meeting that drew energy ministers from 40 countries, leaders from business and non-government organizations, and 500,000 viewers worldwide.

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Canadian boards legally obliged to address climate risk, new study reveals

New analysis finds corporate directors have a duty to assess how climate change will impact a company over the long-term

Corporate directors have a legal obligation to address the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to the companies on whose board they serve, a corporate governance expert says in a new study.

“Directors should recognize that the courts, regulators and investors accept that climate change poses real risks,” veteran lawyer Carol Hansell wrote in a 25-page legal opinion released on June 25.

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Bridge-builder in the oil patch  

Can former Enbridge exec turned Pembina head convince Alberta to transition to lower carbon economy?

Linda Coady is a rare bird who can work on both sides of the deep and bitter divide separating oil-industry partisans and environmental advocates.

After spending six years as vice-president for sustainability at pipeline giant Enbridge Inc., Coady took up the reins at the Pembina Institute environmental think tank at the end of March.

Environmental advocates have long regarded Enbridge as a public enemy because of its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, the current expansion of its mainline oil pipeline in the U.S., and its fight over refurbishing a pipeline in Michigan where it had a major spill into the Kalamazoo River a decade ago.

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