THIS WEEK

Two new electric cars on the horizon (and why they'll probably sell like hot cakes), one chart that explains the coal phase out, and eight minutes of hydrogen

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

Conservative leadership hopefuls take aim at carbon pricing (sound familiar?)

As the federal Conservative leadership race gathers momentum, there have been rumblings in the party of the need to signal stronger climate ambition. But it seems it won’t be extending to carbon pricing.

The current top candidates—Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, and Marilyn Gladu—have confirmed they will not support a carbon price. The move begs the question of how the Conservative candidates intend to update the party’s stance on climate while still recycling a pre-election position that did not resonate with the voters they needed. After all, 63% voted for parties that supported a price.

What’s more, carbon pricing is widely held as one of the most effective ways to cut emissions. One need only look to B.C. for evidence of success. As I wrote a year ago in an op-ed about carbon pricing with our executive director, Merran Smith, “evidence and expertise are essential—not optional—for good policy. Discarding them in favour of easy politics is nothing more than a failure of leadership.”

Results win support—not policies

And yet, while good policy (like carbon pricing) is paramount, Canadians also need climate solutions they can see and feel. As Merran and I  wrote for iPolitics this week, “‘megatonnes’ and ‘market-based mechanism’ are not the parlance of most Canadians.” For a climate plan to be successful in every sense, leaders must remember that most Canadians don’t gauge success by charts and percentage changes—but by how it impacts their lives. 


A manufacturing frenzy

It’s been a big week for electric vehicle manufacturing. General motors is opening its first all-electric production plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, leading to speculation that Canada-based plants will have a big role in the supply chain. Meanwhile, Ford has announced its new electric vehicle, created with technology by startup Rivian, will be sold under its Lincoln brand. And it’s been a good week for buses too. BYD has delivered its first Canadian-made electric buses to Toronto, while Quebec-based Lion Electric has leased space in a business park in California, suggesting there is no letup in U.S. demand for the Canadian e-buses. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a new electric Hummer on its way. 


Like hot cakes

Electric vehicles are flying off the lot. So much so that half of the funding in the federal government’s electric vehicle rebate program, expected to last for three years, has been used up after only eight months. And the rest is expected to disappear by the end of the year. For anyone out there who says there’s little demand for electric cars—you might need to rethink your position. 


All aboard

BC Ferries is embarking on a new kind of voyage after two new electric ships arrived on Vancouver Island last week. The ships are diesel hybrids with the potential to go fully electric once the onshore technology is ready. And if a video of a new electric ferry cruising into dock at sunrise isn’t filling you with clean energy excitement, the fact that they use batteries by world-leading, B.C.-based Corvus Energy might help. 

BC Ferries launch new electric vessels

Keeping up with the times

“Countries that position themselves in renewable energy and other low-carbon technology now will benefit. Those that wait, will be left out.” The next century is going to be very different to the last, and with it comes a whole host of clean opportunities. A smart country, according to this op-ed in the Winnipeg Sun, is one that positions itself ahead of the curve. It’s worked elsewhere, like the European Battery Alliance that saw the EU grow into a battery manufacturing hub. 


What does a coal phase-out look like?

Aside from cleaner air and fewer smoke stacks, it looks like this. According to the latest Canada Energy Regulator’s outlook, coal-fired power’s share of the electricity energy mix will decline to less than 1% by 2030. The most impressive phase out is projected to be in Alberta. The province, which is currently the most reliant on coal-powered electricity, will see it completely disappear over the next eight years.


Eight minutes of hydrogen

Feeling curious about hydrogen? Heard about its potential but craving some context? Then go pour yourself a cup of coffee and click here. You’ll find an eight-minute video by the Wall Street Journal exploring the past, present, and future applications of the most abundant element on the planet. Spoiler alert: there’s burning balloons and rockets.


Bridging the gap

Following the worst wildfire season in decades, the pressure is mounting for Australia to make changes to its heavily-coal-powered grid. And so Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced plans to boost natural gas supply in an attempt to cut emissions from the country’s most populous state of New South Wales. But as this Greentech Media piece explains, using a bridge of natural gas to transition to clean energy maybe a longer and more rickety route than many believe. 


Toronto tops climate change hit-list

Toronto is set to feel the heat. Of 85 major cities worldwide, Toronto is set to experience the fourth-largest temperature shift, with 2050 temperatures expected to be three degrees hotter than previous decades. As one Toronto resident told HuffPost, “I try to be optimistic and realistic. I tell my kids we are doing the best we can. So many parts of our lives are going to change.”

Clean Energy Review is sponsored in part by Genus Capital Management, a leading provider of fossil-fuel-free investments. 
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IMAGE & MEDIA CREDITS: BC FerriesCanadian Energy Regulator
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