An 'unprecedented' extinction, why a famous Canadian is soon to be battery-powered, and an electric highway that charges while you drive


Changing the climate conversation

As the federal elections draw ever nearer, the discourse around climate is (rather like the planet) getting hotter. But as my colleagues at Clean Energy Canada wrote in an op-ed in the National Observer last week, the way we talk about climate change needs to, well, change. 

In a world where communications is dominated by social media, a truth with few retweets can’t compete with a viral lie (and there have been plenty of these in relation to climate policy). It keeps the lie rolling, building, a snowball growing bigger.

Canadians don’t have time to be experts on everything. Many only see the rolling snowballs. And they remain largely oblivious to actual climate change solutions, of which there are many. In fact, Canada has excelled in many aspects of climate leadership, from the clean fuel standard to our phase out of coal power. We need to expand the conversation—after all, climate policy is about much more than just carbon pricing.

Humans speeding ‘unprecedented’ extinction

I sometimes see the climate change fight as just that: a fight. We get news coming in from all over—sometimes it’s good news of policy wins, or new technologies to help us keep fighting (more of these below). Other times we get casualty reports that show us just how much we stand to lose. This is one of the latter: “one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction.”

Zero emissions on the U.K. horizon

If we want climate victories, we need climate leadership. And here is a good example. Plans are afoot for a U.K. net zero emissions target for 2050. Such a move “would amount to the most stringent curbs on greenhouse gases adopted by any major economy.” 

Speaking of leadership

Ireland has joined the U.K. in announcing a climate emergency, becoming the second country in the world to do so. The question is, will Canada join this call to arms? (Stay tuned for the debate next week.) In other news from across the Atlantic, Scotland has dropped its tax cuts for aviation fuels after the first minister said “the world is facing a climate emergency.”  

Now Canada’s turn

One of Canada’s most iconic boats is about to voyage the clean energy transition. The Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls' site-seeing ferry, is going electric, with two battery-powered passenger ferries arriving later this season. Meanwhile in Vancouver, transit provider TransLink has received its first (slightly less iconic but no less exciting) battery-powered bus from a Canadian manufacturer.

Charge while you drive

If Tom Cochrane is right and life is a highway, then I want mine to be electric—like this new electric highway that just opened in Germany. The six-mile stretch allows trucks to recharge their batteries from overhead wires as they drive.

GM’s Oshawa plant to be kept alive

GM has announced it will retain 300 jobs at its Oshawa plant, transforming it into a supplier of aftermarket parts as it continues its shift towards EVs. Have a read of my twitter thread on this if you’re curious as to how policy failures around EVs have contributed to plant closures.

B.C.’s lighthouses light a clean future

Lighthouses along the B.C. coast are soon to be lit by power from the wind and sun. Not only will the new power pay for itself in only four years by reducing expensive diesel shipments, it’s also improving life for the lighthouse keepers who can now enjoy B.C.’s beautiful coastline without the constant hum of diesel generators.

Calls for a Canadian Green New Deal

Riding on the momentum of the U.S. Green New Deal, Canada has formed its own version: the "Pact for a Green New Deal." The coalition, which is organizing a series of rallies, wants to halve Canadian emission by 2030 through an approach that addresses "issues like economic inequality, green transportation and job creation."

One of the biggest voices in the climate fight?

Your kids. I mean, this is probably unsurprising given recent events—and after all they will inherit the world from us. But a recent study has found that teaching a child about climate change often raised climate concerns with their parents. Intergenerational wisdom is a two-way street. 

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