How local governments can 'change the world,' why Ford is planning to build a pickup truck on a skateboard, and some fact-checked recession realities


The climate needs your vote

A group of climate scientists, business owners, and climate advocates have spoken up this week about the importance of voting for climate action in the upcoming election. As Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith told the Star, “the political fight about the federal Liberals’ carbon tax has become a distraction…. If this election is not about stopping climate change, Canada and the world will suffer immensely.”

If you care about climate action, there’s no place for voter apathy or political fatigue. In not unrelated news, the federal government has invested $430 million in zero-emission vehicles. As Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi put it, the policy “will not only reduce pollution, it will reduce transportation costs for middle-class Canadians and for businesses.”

‘Local governments can change the world’

Despite a vacuum of climate leadership in some aspects of Canadian politics, inspiration can be increasingly found in the form of local leadership. In Vancouver, for instance, city council is set to vote on six “big moves” in response to its recently declared climate emergency. The moves aim to “transform Vancouver” into a low-emissions city. And in Edmonton, the Mayor Don Iveson is coming up with a back up plan in case the newly elected government goes ahead with plans to scrap Energy Efficiency Alberta. 

Ford’s electric future

Auto giant Ford is betting on an electric future, investing $500 million in EV startup Rivian to use its “skateboard” chassis (which literally looks like a giant electric skateboard). The chassis is already part of a series of Rivian’s own soon-to-be-released electric “adventure vehicles” and pickup trucks.

Emissions admonitions 

According to its provincial government, Ontario has done its “fair share” of carbon emissions reductions (having reduced emissions by 22% since 2005 under policies put in place by previous leadership, namely the phaseout of coal power). The problem is, this attitude merely passes the buck west—to provinces with growing emissions like Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Transatlantic oil patch attitudes 

Norwegian energy company Equinor (formerly Statoil) has joined the likes of BP and Shell in aligning its strategy with the Paris agreement following pressure from investors. This enthusiasm has yet to seep into our own oil patch however, with Canadian oil company Cenovus Energy’s shareholders voting down a similar proposition last week due to “challenges” with its “prescriptive nature.”

EVs steal the show

New York’s recent auto show was channelling its inner Danny Zuko with an “electrifying” display of over 40 new EVs. From a new Mercedes e-SUV to a Pininfarina “luxury hypercar” to the everpresent Teslas—EVs stole the show, making up two of the three finalists.

Lungfuls of denial

An editorial by Nature notes a worrying gust of air-quality denial blowing around the globe, often whipped up by oil and gas advocates. This is slightly alarming given a recent State of the Global Air report that lists air quality as the fifth largest risk factor by death numbers in the world.

The floodgates are open

Only days after the Ontario government cut natural hazards funding, Ottawa has declared a state of emergency after flood waters threatened to overwhelm parts of the city. To paraphrase Conservation Ontario’s general manager: “cutting funding is particularly problematic” given the prevalence of “stronger and more frequent flood events as a result of climate change."

Recession realities

The Bank of Canada has cast serious doubt on Doug Ford’s predictions of a carbon tax recession following a quarterly update reporting wage increases and employment growth across Canada. Meanwhile, Ford’s plans to stick anti-carbon tax propaganda on gas pumps has proven to be a sticky issue with Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce, which described it as unnecessary “red tape” for businesses.

CN is going electric

CN is taking another step toward an electric future, signing a deal with Lion Electric Co. for eight zero-emission trucks. Each truck will remove 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. 

Clean Energy Review is sponsored in part by Genus Capital Management, a leading provider of fossil-fuel-free investments. 
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