Why the rate of climate change is 'really scary even to climate scientists,' a French first for wind power, and solar power plants—in space


Climate action’s other benefits

Climate change, while generally very bad news, has at least one silver lining. Yes, it’s a physical and economic disaster (a recent report from the Canadian Climate Institute found that unabated climate change could cause a 12% drop in Canada’s GDP by the end of the century). But on the flipside, the need to fight climate change has accelerated policies and solutions that make life better and cheaper for Canadians (check out this new Clean Energy Canada media brief for more on that). This week’s headlines illustrate this juxtaposition nicely.

The federal government has announced $1.6 billion in funding for a climate adaptation strategy that commits it to “new targets for preventing extreme heat deaths, reversing species loss and protecting homes in flood- and wildfire-prone areas.” The funding goes some way toward the $5.3 billion per year that the Insurance Bureau of Canada says is necessary to address the impacts of climate change. In short, climate change is already delivering a massive bill—and it will only get bigger the slower we act.

The federal government also revealed last week that it will implement the federal carbon price in three Atlantic provinces next summer. As the Toronto Star points out, residents in the provinces where this carbon pricing backstop applies will receive quarterly rebates that, in 80% of cases, will amount to more than they pay. Meanwhile, another federal fund announced last week will provide low- and medium-income households with up to $5,000 to switch from oil to heat pumps, allowing households to save “between $1,500 and $4,700 a year on energy bills.”

Put simply, climate action isn’t about making life more expensive. The opposite, in fact.

COP takeaways

COP is over for another year. What can we take away from its 27th iteration? Read this new blog from Clean Energy Canada’s Felix Whitton for our take on its major successes and failures as well as the implications for Canada.

How to Buy Clean, better

“There is a pollution problem hidden in the built environment around us, from the buildings we live in to the roads we drive on,” write Clean Energy Canada’s Ollie Sheldrick and Felix Whitton in a new op-ed. Around a seventh of global emissions are associated with construction materials like steel and cement. But solutions exist, and Canada’s governments have the power to help grow the market for these lower carbon materials by “buying clean.” Critically, despite some recent progress, Canada’s current approach needs an upgrade.

Canada’s EV power play

Canada’s EV supply chain is getting stronger—and longer. Bloomberg recently profiled the small Quebec town of Becancour, which has big ambitions to become a leader in battery materials processing and manufacturing. Similarly, the CEO of Snow Lake Lithium, a Manitoba-based mining company, says his company plans to open the world’s first all-electric lithium mine amid “wild” demand for EVs.

Ontario’s missing piece

“EV adoption policies would be good for Ontario’s economy, its environment and its citizen’s health,” concludes an op-ed in the Toronto Star from Electric Mobility Canada’s Daniel Breton. The province is touting its EV manufacturing successes, but by failing to introduce EV rebates to help residents buy the EVs they make, Ontario is missing a key piece of the puzzle. And it's Ontarians who are ultimately paying the price at the gas pump.

Blaming the blaze

Last year’s devastating heat dome in B.C., which killed 619 people and contributed to a wildfire that destroyed the village of Lytton, would not have been possible without human-induced warming, finds a new study from Columbia University. As one of the study’s co-authors put it, while climate change impacts were expected, the rate of change is “really scary to even climate scientists.”

Spot the Rivian

B.C. residents may soon spot one of Rivian’s flashy new electric pickups in the wild as the U.S.-based company just made its first international deliveries to the province. The car maker said that “B.C. deliveries will continue through the end of the year and accelerate in 2023.”

A French first for wind power

France’s first offshore wind farm, developed by Canada’s Enbridge in partnership with French utility EDF and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, officially opened last week. The 80-turbine project is expected to power the equivalent of 400,000 homes.

Solar power—wait for it—in space

When it comes to the range of possible clean energy solutions, some are more “out there” than others. This one is out of this world. The European Space Agency has approved a three-year study investigating the possibility of giant solar farms in space that would beam electricity back to Earth in the form of microwaves. Because the sun never sets in space (not to mention the absence of clouds), the usual issues around solar’s variability do not apply. As one of the lead scientists said, “The idea of space-based solar power is no longer science fiction.”

The Clean Energy Review is co-authored by Trevor Melanson and Keri McNamara
IMAGE & MEDIA CREDITS: UNclimatechange via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
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