Why G7 countries made a 'historic' agreement, how the outlook for EVs is 'brighter than ever,' and a solar-powered car that looks like a spaceship


The economics of action

Taking action on climate change is not just an environmental imperative but an economic one, according to a new study by an umbrella group of the world's top central banks. New analysis has shown that if the shift to clean energy is "quick and orderly,” it could lead to an increase in global GDP and lower unemployment. However, if the transition fails, “up to 13% of global GDP would be at risk by the end of the century,” even before accounting for severe weather events. The research is joined by another study that found that the economies of G7 countries, including Canada, “will shrink twice as much as they did during the COVID-19 pandemic” by 2050 if climate change is not properly addressed.

And if the economic case for the energy transition wasn’t already strong enough, the recent termination of the Keystone XL pipeline is yet more evidence that spending billions on future fossil fuel infrastructure isn't a particularly good long-term investment (or a short-term one, for that matter).

On the other hand, there is a clean energy “boom” already underway—so much so there is a “war” over clean energy talent. It’s clear that Canada needs to prepare for this employment shift, something that it is arguably failing to do at present. And if Canadian clean energy jobs are your jam, mark your calendars as Clean Energy Canada is releasing its big report on jobs in Canada’s clean energy sector this Thursday, June 17.

Alberta goes big on hydrogen

The federal and Alberta governments have signed a memorandum of understanding that could lead to a $1.3-billion hydrogen plant in Edmonton, capable of producing 1,500 tonnes of hydrogen a day. The facility will make hydrogen from Alberta’s natural gas and, crucially, will capture 95% of carbon emissions, which will subsequently be stored underground. The federal minister of innovation, science and industry said that the facility ”will help make Canada, Alberta and Edmonton global leaders in growing the clean hydrogen sector.”

Rumblings from south of the border

And speaking of  hydrogen, the U.S. is seeking out ways to lower its cost, with the U.S. energy secretary describing clean hydrogen as “a game changer” for the country’s pollution cutting plans. And it’s not just hydrogen on the U.S.’s clean energy brain. The White House said last week that it “must work with allies to secure the minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries and process them domestically.” Cue Canada and its plethora of appropriate resources. But while the U.S. is ploughing ahead with its decarbonization plans, it seems President Biden’s big trillion-dollar clean infrastructure plan is struggling to make it past the U.S. Senate’s harsh bipartisan divisions.

The G7 summit

G7 finance ministers made a “historic” agreement to mandate climate reporting last week that, alongside other new measures, will make it compulsory for corporations to report climate impacts and investment decisions (something China is also aiming to do). And as the G7 countries’ heads of state gather in the English seaside town of Carbis Bay for the G7 summit this week, climate is one of several key topics slated for discussion.

The EV outlook

“The outlook for electric vehicles is brighter than ever,” reads the opening sentence of a Bloomberg New Energy Finance blog on its new Global EV Outlook. But, as the piece goes on to say, “governments aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 must do more to spur (EV) adoption.” For the abridged version of the outlook, head to BloombergNEF head of transport Colin McKerracher's summary of four of the most interesting findings. As he elaborates, some types of transportation are much further down the electric road than others.

All aboard with e-buses

One of those more precocious types of electric transportation is buses, with Colin McKerracher’s summary (see above) describing electric buses as “well on their way.” And in Ottawa at least, that is true. Officials said last week that the city is planning to become the first Canadian city with a fully electric bus fleet by 2036.

Seeing the future

Indeed, the future of electric transportation comes in all shapes and sizes, from container ships to spaceships. (Well, not actual spaceships—the picture below is, in fact, a car.) The world’s first net-zero, battery-powered autonomous container ship is set for launch later this year. Meanwhile, electric vehicle startup Aptera has just released a video of its new solar-powered, three-wheeled car with 1,600 km of range.

U.K. is ‘buying clean’

The U.K. is taking steps to green its supply chains by mandating that, after September, companies wishing to bid on state projects worth over £5 million must have a “clear and credible” carbon reduction plan. As the U.K. minister for efficiency and transformation put it, “It’s important we use this purchasing power to help transform our economy to net zero.”

The wrong kind of benchmark

Global carbon dioxide levels are smashing new records according to the latest data from the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii. The levels are now 50% higher than when the industrial age began, with the average rate of increase faster than ever. As one researcher put it, the 50% increase is “really setting a new benchmark and not in a good way.”

This week’s podcast

For a more inspiring note to end on, be sure to listen to episode one of Indigenous Clean Energy’s new podcast, Decolonizing Power. This week, the podcast takes us into the community of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek – Gull Bay First Nation, an Ojibwe nation located on the western shores of Lake Nipigon and the surrounding territory.

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Clean Energy Review is a weekly digest of climate and clean energy news and insight from across Canada and around the world.

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