Canada just became a world-first, an exciting new EV law, and why you need to add puffins to your worry list


Canadian clean energy takes centre stage

Through the lingering haze from Alberta’s wildfires, the world’s energy eyes turned to Vancouver last week as it hosted the tenth annual Clean Energy Ministerial, attended by ministers and officials from around the globe.

The ministerial gave clean energy a chance in the spotlight on a stage that is typically dominated by oil and gas. As I wrote in an op-ed for the Daily Hive, “the clean energy sector is not just the fossil fuel sector with a clean coat of paint. It represents a broad range of jobs and businesses helping make our energy system contribute less to climate change.”

The ministerial was as much about showcasing clean energy as it was about supporting it. Clean energy is no longer just a solution to the climate change problem. It’s a thriving economic sector in its own right. As Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi remarked in the opening address, “climate change and clean energy may be two of the biggest challenges of our generation, but they are also an opportunity.”

A world-first for Canada

And speaking of opportunities, here is one that Canada is keen not to miss: zero-emission commercial vehicles. As part of the ministerial, Clean Energy Canada co-hosted a Drive to Zero workshop, which talked all things commercial transport—from hydrogen-powered trains to electric delivery trucks. In an exciting interlude to the workshop, Canada’s environment and climate change minister, Catherine McKenna, announced that Canada will become the first country in the world to sign up to the Drive to Zero pledge, supporting low- and zero-emission commercial vehicles. You can read more about the pledge here.

NDP has a serious climate plan

The NDP’s new climate plan, which aims to spend $15 billion boosting jobs and fighting climate change, brings the total number of serious plans to tackle climate change to three. With only the Conservative plan yet to be released, let’s hope it takes the climate threat just as seriously. 

Electric cars in B.C. are now law

This week, B.C. rounded an important corner on the road to 100% electric cars. The government passed a new law that will see electric cars make up 10% of new cars sales by 2025 and 100% by 2040. The law will help ensure supply keeps up with demand, making it easier for people to go electric while helping B.C. cut pollution.

California (emissions standard) dreamin'

With Washington looking increasingly in favour of weakening vehicle emissions standards, we should align ourselves with California's more ambitious standards, as I told the Toronto Star. Strengthening vehicles emission standards saves money, fights climate change, and improves health. I mean, what’s not to like?

Rebates abound

In case I haven’t said this enough, the great thing about carbon pricing is that lowering pollution equals saving money. The rebates take several forms and are constantly adapting to best suit the needs of the country. Now the government has announced rebates of up to $20,000 for small business, “from farmers to convenience-store owners and restaurateurs.”

Wildfire satire 

As wildfires raged through Alberta last week, Premier Jason Kenney delivered on his promise to repeal the carbon tax in the province. The day, however, didn’t go entirely as planned, as Kenney and his team were forced to cancel the post-repeal celebration so the premier could get a real-time briefing on the state of the wildfires. I’ll just leave this here.

A Sudbury emergency

Greater Sudbury has become the latest Canadian municipality to take up to the climate leadership mantle and declare a climate emergency. The motion was passed with very little opposition, with one of the councillors saying the brunt of climate change will “be felt most on the local level.”

Banking on climate

If you’re looking for some clarity about what the Bank of Canada’s inclusion of climate change in its list of “vulnerabilities” means, then look no further than this Globe and Mail op-ed. Key takeaway: when the bank speaks, investors listen. The bank should raise its voice.

‘Mass die-offs’

This isn’t a happy end to this week’s review. But I think it’s important to keep reminding ourselves how much we stand to lose from climate inaction. The latest victim? Puffins. Thousands of puffins in the Bering sea are starving to death due to conditions brought on by climate change.

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